Cross-Functional Cooperation is the Key to AI Success

When you ask customers what they want from their experiences with your organisation, simplicity and ease top their list. Furthermore, they want to know that they can trust whomever is providing them with service. For those reasons, customers may respond negatively when they realise that a machine, not a human, is providing them with service.

Many companies create further problems for customers by complicating the process of moving from artificial intelligence to agent-assisted service. For organisations to implement artificial intelligence well, it means integrating their AI and automation into their existing customer journey in such a way that the tech-assisted experiences happen alongside the human-assisted ones. Designing such systems requires a balance between the needs of the business (cost efficient service that maximises revenue), customers (service that is without worry once it is received), and employees (tools and resources that enable them to effectively understand and meet customer needs) when designing their robotics or intelligence systems. Additionally, not every step of the customer journey is best suited for AI, so organisations must thoughtfully consider where automation versus assisted service makes the most sense.

Making the choices on where to best place AI and live agents may sound like a simple concept, many contact centres lack the insights necessary to determine their blend of offerings and, as a result, make their decisions by guesswork. This is a highly undesired approach that will contribute to additional costs and unnecessary complexities. In order to prevent such things from happening, contact centre leaders should conduct activities that uncover the specifics of customer expectations across their many touch points.

One such activity is cross-functional customer journey mapping, which helps contact centre leaders who struggle to find the right mix of channels for their unique client base. Customer journey mapping also enables companies to ensure that they’re delivering on employee and organisational expectations, as well. Another benefit of customer journey mapping is that it’s done best when it brings together cross-functional leaders in an organisation. By involving customer facing or affecting departments beyond the contact centre – like marketing, product development, or IT – companies will see increased success in the AI deployments and better informed plans for improving the customer experience.

A well-represented cross-segment of leaders can identify the relative value of interactions throughout the customer journey. With perspectives that range from the frontline to the board room, and the departments in between, organisations can make well-informed decisions on where to leverage self or agent assisted-service, and control the cost of service and demands placed on live agents. One such example is that an organisation can decide to immediately route the highest value customers to a live agent – circumventing AI systems entirely.

Alternatively, entire industries whose business is based on predominately low-value interactions may choose to heavily leverage automated systems at their frontline. (For example, consider the increasing number of self-service kiosks in shops or grocers.) The ultimate decisions will vary from one company to the next, but when the right grouping of diverse perspectives are making the decisions, organisations can rest assured that they’re asking the right questions and applying the best filters for designing their service experience. There is no specific guidelines on when to apply AI and robotics, or not. Every business should consider the balance of cost efficiency and opportunities to maximise revenue, while also recognising the importance and need for the human touch throughout the customer journey.