Where does AI belong in the retail customer experience?

One of the best first steps for successfully implementing artificial intelligence into your customer experience strategy is an evaluation of your self-service offerings. A common mistake among AI implementations is a lack of review in existing self-service systems and a thoughtful plan to where artificial intelligence is the best solution.

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Without proper planning, reporting and customer satisfaction measures in place, contact centre leaders may never know if their artificial intelligence is user-friendly or functioning as intended.

And, once AI is deployed, it’s important to establish an ongoing pattern for reviewing its capabilities and the strategy related to how AI is being utilised.

In today’s rapidly changing retail environment, it is not uncommon to see organisations revisiting their strategies as frequently as every eighteen, twelve, or even six months. In the words of one executive, “What we could once evaluate every three to five years is now necessary at least once per year! We had to throw our historical approach to strategic planning out the window.”

Here are some questions that will aid you and your team in an evaluation of your artificial intelligence strategy:

  • Why do we offer artificial intelligence?
  • How did we select our current artificial intelligence channels?
  • Are we delivering an omnichannel experience when customers use our AI offerings?

o What is the transition from AI to agent assistance?

  • Do we know if our current AI strategy is meeting customer and contact centre needs and demands?

o What evidence do we have? What information is eluding us?

  • What do we know about the organisation’s business and customer experience strategy?

o How could we use what we know to inform our forward approach to artificial intelligence?

  • What unanswered questions do we have about the role of AI in achieving the organisation’s business and customer experience strategy?

o How can we find the answers to what we don’t know?

  • Who owns the customer-facing AI options in our organisation? If it’s not the contact centre, who owns it?

o How can the contact centre take ownership of, or work with, that department to ensure that artificial intelligence meets the needs of both the customer and the contact center?

No matter what the maturity level of artificial intelligence is in your organisation, asking these simple questions will be helpful in the successful execution of an AI strategy. This exercise is, in many ways, the foundation for building your channel access strategy and customer journey maps.

Bottom line, organisations shouldn’t implement artificial intelligence everywhere they can, just because they can. Companies with the best AI systems intentionally place them in spots across the customer’s journey that are most conducive to the customer already wanting to help themselves. Furthermore, they design them in such a way that the customer can easily connect with a live agent, should the need arise. Contact centres should build an effective artificial intelligence system with total consideration for the end user.

Guest Post by IFS | mplsystems