From sci-fi to real life: Revolutionising customer experience with AI-driven ecosystems

Change is inevitable in our digital world as new technologies and situations are created.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is rapidly creeping into our everyday lives; it is no longer something we associate with solely appearing in sci-fi films. Not only is AI transforming online services, such as Apple Siri voice recognition or Facebook chatbot API for Messenger, but it is also transforming how organisations are using and understanding data to provide customers with personalised experiences.    

Some companies within the banking, automotive, insurance and telecom industries are already using AI to provide customers with real-life contextual experiences based on data. Swedish retail bank Swedbank has integrated the technology tool Nina, an intelligent virtual assistant, into its customer service strategy. Nina delivers automated customer service via the brand’s website in a conversational manner enabling self-service capabilities to Swedbank customers.   

AI is no longer just a tool or software for companies to add on to their services, it is an ally for companies who want to create a different business model and understand data in real-time to transform the customer experience. AI can help organisations understand what customers want and even predict what they will want before the customer has even realised themselves. Generating and understand data in real-time can help companies to unlock customers desires and help tie together a seamless experience with one that is relevant to customers.   

According to Forrester’s 2017 prediction report, there will be a clear correlation between the quality of customer experiences and revenue growth for companies. Emotion is a core drive of customer loyalty and spending and the shift to a customer-led market will have impact on companies who can keep up with this trend.    

Change attracts human attention and ignites emotion. As humans we are sensitive to the air if it gets cooler or if our phone rings, we notice straight away and adapt to the situation. Stories almost always begin with a starting event triggered by a moment of change. Change is inevitable in our digital world as new technologies and situations are created. However, with the help of data sourced from AI companies can understand in more detail customers reactions and desires. 

Keeping up with change

In a fast-paced market, companies need to understand what it really means to be relevant to customers, or to put it another way in Darwin’s words, “to be able to adjust your habits, the offering and the way of living to the current context”. Companies can improve customer experience by blending analytics, technology and design with the help of AI to evoke emotions and increase an understanding of the customer. When it comes to AI-driven technologies, change and relevancy go hand-in-hand.   

AI gives us the chance to deliver more personalised products and services to end users. People are no longer just generic users or consumers. Human-like interactions and a human-centric approach based on an AI-first model work from what innovation has to offer to us in a more dynamic context. AI gives us the power to start humanising the interactions, making the ecosystem more natural and easier to predict how it will react to random triggers.    

As it develops, an AI-driven ecosystem becomes more efficient, more value-driven and more easily adjusted to what the involved parties expect to get from it. As the ecosystem develops, the increasingly sophisticated context and personalisation will have a profound effect on the lifespan of many products and services as they dynamically adjust to changing user needs.

Keep, kill or evolve

In the last 15 years, 52 per cent of Fortune 500 companies have disappeared, either because they thought that they were too big for modern trends to have an impact on them, or because they were so focused on profits that they didn’t take a step back to evaluate their offering. Companies who have been around for a while longer than the disruptors in the market need to be able to look at their services and understand which ones will help improve the customer experience.    

As the market is disrupted by the arrival of new digital technologies, any player can create a new product or a service aiming to address peoples’ experience-driven needs and the current players have to quickly decide what kind of product or service to kill which to keep and which to evolve to into something equally human-centric. Given the right inputs, AI-driven ecosystems will always be relevant. As organisations evaluate these offerings, the conversation will completely shift from ‘keep or kill’ to ‘evolve’.

Connecting the dots

Companies need to look at their services and understand where AI can be implemented to connect different pieces of the puzzle when it comes to customer service to make the experience as relevant and as fast as possible. AI will be crucial in delivering these next-generation personalised experiences for customers. Big organisations will often only experiment with AI and will often shy away from implementing it into their businesses, but companies need to be aware that AI will be the next level of cloud strategy and to develop their customer experience and in turn transform their companies it is essential to ensure AI is implemented into the business.    

AI research organisation DeepMind, which was purchased by Google in 2014, is already working with the NHS to tackle data in real time using an app called Streams to detect early onset blinding eye diseases. According to the CEO, DeepMind’s impact will be measured in social not technical terms, showing just how AI can make a customer’s experience as relevant as possible.    

AI can drive companies into a completely different world, one where humans and technology is connected by emotional context and relevancy. AI is providing companies with the ability to understand data in the real time and understand what it means to people to enhance their daily lives. With the help of AI companies can drive relevancy in real time, enabling customers to enjoy a personalised, relevant experience in the right context. AI is no longer just seen in sci-fi films, it is what customers are demanding and expecting and companies in all sectors should be adapting and evolving to these needs.  

Georgios Achillias, Director of Strategy, Wipro Digital
Image Credit: Michael Dain / Flickr

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Georgios Achillias is the Director of Strategy at Wipro Digital.