Loathe them or love them, chatbots in customer service are here to stay, but they’re only one of many ways in which Artificial Intelligence is increasingly being deployed to serve customers.
Question is: what do customers actually think of AI in all its customer service manifestations, and how should organisations respond to customer attitudes to AI applications?
AI applications: much more than your standard chatbot
In a bid to answer these questions, Capgemini surveyed 10,000 consumers across 10 countries in Europe, Asia and Australia. It also interviewed more than 500 executives from leading organisations, conducted focus group discussions with consumers, and interviewed industry experts ansd academics.
You can read full details of its findings in the report: The Secret to Winning Customers’ Hearts With Artificial Intelligence: Add Human Intelligence.
What the report makes clear is that there are many applications of AI that go well beyond the chatbot that we know and loathe/love, and whose primary purpose is to handle routine enquiries more economically and efficiently than a human agent.
The study posits, and reports reaction to, a number of scenarios where true Artificial Intelligence is deployed with the goal of providing real value to customers. For example:
“You are planning to buy a new car but not sure how to finance your purchase. You have been provided with an online option to look through a host of cars and the corresponding financing options that could be right for you, based on your unique credit history, income and other variables.”
Survey respondents were asked how they would feel about sharing their personal information with such an online virtual agent. Overall, 44 percent said they would be happy to do so.
Here’s another scenario.
“You are travelling internationally but forgot to inform your bank. When you make a purchase on your credit card at the airport, the bank already knows about your travel because it has access to your location through the app. It uses facial recognition to authenticate your identity and lets the transaction go through without embarrassment.”
Although such monitoring might seem more intrusive, 66 percent of respondents said they would be happy to have such a service.
AI for AI’s sake
Perhaps more importantly, the report suggests that AI deployments focused simply on increasing efficiency are not the way to go. Companies need to prioritise consumer preference and experiences over cost and RoI, and that organisations should now be taking an AI-first approach.
The report identifies what it calls ‘high-benefit’ customers as those most enthusiastic towards AI applications, and sees this group as a bellwether for where AI is going.
- “Two out of five high-benefit consumers have AI-based interactions on a daily basis, whereas one out of ten low-benefit consumers do so
- More than four out of five high-benefit consumers prefer interactions enabled by a mix of AI and humans, while less than two out of five low-benefit consumers think so
- 81 percent of high-benefit consumers expect AI to provide better privacy and security of personal data, as compared to only 27 percent of low-benefit consumers.”
It identifies organisations that are attuned to these customers as ‘front-runners’. “These organisations, by virtue of how they approach AI-enabled interactions, are setting the example for others across the world,” Capgemini says.
“Organisations everywhere are now presented with a huge opportunity to learn from these front-runners and tap into evolving consumer expectations and make for more customised and personalised customer interactions, without losing the human empathy and connection in the process.”