Where Does AI Belong in the Retail Customer Experience?


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Filed under - Industry Insights,

Susannah Richardson of IFS discusses the how organisations in the retail sector can improve their customer experience with artificial intelligence (AI).

One of the best first steps for successfully implementing AI 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 for where AI is the best solution.

Without proper planning, reporting and customer satisfaction measures in place, contact centre leaders may never know if their AI 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 18, 12, or even 6 months.

In the words of one executive: “What we could once evaluate every 3–5 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 AI strategy:

  • Why do we offer AI?
  • How did we select our current AI channels?
  • Are we delivering an omnichannel experience when customers use our AI offerings?
  • 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?
  • What evidence do we have? What information is eluding us?
  • What do we know about the organisation’s business and customer experience strategy?
  • How could we use what we know to inform our forward approach to AI?
  • What unanswered questions do we have about the role of AI in achieving the organisation’s business and customer experience strategy?
  • 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?
  • How can the contact centre take ownership of, or work with, that department to ensure that AI meets the needs of both the customer and the contact centre?

No matter what the maturity level of AI 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 AI everywhere they can, just because they can.

Susannah Richardson

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 AI system with total consideration for the end user.

Author: Robyn Coppell

Published On: 30th Nov 2018 - Last modified: 4th Dec 2018
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