For consumers tired of endless hold times, long-snaking lines, and difficulty getting customer service, help is on the way.
The often confusing, maddening connection to some of our favorite brands and services is about to improve substantially—driven by a pair of tech-powered developments poised to move into the consumer and B2B mainstream sooner than most people think.
The first is Artificial Intelligence (AI)—something that, for years, seemed to be the domain of Hollywood hype. Today, whether we know it or not, real learning software is in active use today in a wide variety of areas, ranging from cyber security to your Netflix app.
The second is the pending breakout of voice interfaces—true, interactive conversations that transcend today’s limited, one-command “look up” requests and actually produce customer-satisfying results.
For a lot of people who’ve had mixed results with early iterations of both of these technologies, it may be hard to believe that this future is actually burgeoning. For example, the last two movies Netflix recommended to you may have been duds, from your standpoint. Also, voice interfaces like Siri can sometime seem completely hopeless, as the software often struggles to answer even the most elementary questions.
On the other hand, we are already benefiting from early customer experience technology. You arrive at the airport, and your arrival triggers a text with your gate. You arrive at your destination, and a text indicates your bag is on Carousel B and your Uber is at Door 2. But these are just the beginnings of a revolution in the customer experience.
Let’s take a look at an example of “here” -- today’s experience; and “there” -- tomorrow’s experience.
Some examples of today’s pain points:
What is tomorrow’s experience going to look like?
What does this technology mean for all of us? First, the issue of consumer privacy and choice for customers is a big one that needs to be better understood. But once that is worked out, this will be a huge leap in insightful interaction—understanding what customers want, providing choice and assistance at a time and way the customer wants, and most importantly, not bothering them with the equivalent of spam, with messaging that is not useful and unwanted.
The customer journey will change to a more seamless, helpful experience. Companies that learn how to do this will build loyalty and increase their business. They will be the preferred choice of consumers. Companies that do not adapt, and do it the old way with all the friction points for their customers, will not.
Done correctly, in a way that respects customers’ wishes, AI and Voice will be a useful way to meet customer needs, take time and stress out of customer interaction, and serve customers better than ever. And it’s a lot closer than we all think.