With 2019 now in full swing, we took the opportunity to revisit some of the people we have recently interviewed and ask them about their CX and technology predictions for the year. Here is what they had to say:
Catriona Wallace, FlamingoAI
The big question at the moment is what impact will the Hayne Royal Commission report have on the banking and related sectors? Given it was human error, greed and judgement that resulted in such a disastrous effect on customers, the question arises - what role will AI and Machine Learning play in resolving or overcoming these problems. We think that AI has a big role, however it is likely that organisations affected will reduce spend and activity for about 6 months before committing to heavier investment in technologies such as AI, machine learning, block chain, and cyber security. The burning platform that the Commission has lit will also mean that these organisations will have to develop better digital transformation and agile processes or they will be left behind.
As Forrester noted, “AI driven companies will take $1.2 trillion from competitors by 2020” and Gartner predicts, “AI will generate $2.9 trillion in business value and recover 6.2 billion hours in workers productivity by 2021.” And more bluntly, Elon Musk simply states, “Companies have to race to build AI or they will be made uncompetitive. Essentially, if your competitor is racing to build AI, they will crush you!”
Stephanie Bauer, Fifth Quadrant
It is important we separate the varying journeys of organisations according to their CX maturity. I think AI is definitely one to watch. I don’t think it is going to explode in Australia in 2019 but more organisations are starting to take tentative steps. The organisations that are doing so tend to be at the top of the CX maturity scale. For other organisations, the focus will be on developing seamless experiences that are personalised across the channel environment to drive improved customer engagement and increase revenue and growth. We are seeing even those at the low end of CX maturity are taking further steps to build the foundations to improve CX.
There is also a growing trend for organisations to track customer feedback in real time, whereas previously it was more done on a historical reporting basis. By looking at actionable customer feedback in real time, organisations can make interventions at the time a customer isn’t happy to resolve issues and retain the customer.
Ryan Lester, LogMeIn
AI is definitely becoming mainstream when it comes to customer experience. Companies that haven’t started looking at it definitely need to begin exploring and those that have already jumped in will double or even triple down on their investment.
Looking into the future, employee-facing AI will be the next big frontier for the technology. There are pockets of innovation happening today, and this year we are going to see more of how AI can help employees do their jobs better, faster, and smarter. If we look at Gmail’s auto response feature, for example, they are using AI to help people get emails out the door faster or even stop writing them all together. I know the idea of robots talking to each other can be a little scary, but it’s also a great example of how AI can make our everyday lives simpler.
It’s incredibly exciting what’s happening and how fast innovation is developing. That being said, AI won’t be taking over the world. Contact centres won’t disappear and humans won’t be replaced by robots. AI can’t solve every problem or meet every need, instead businesses need to view it as a way to enhance operations to make them more successful.
Fiona Keough, Auscontact
From the data that we have collected from contact centres, it is about self-service and, in particular, chat. I think organisations feel safer about chat now because so many have gone before them. Some have failed and some have been incredibly successful. Now most customers are used to visiting the websites’ of their bank, health insurance or anything else they may need and using webchat. It has become more accepted so those that were lagging will be looking to catch up in 2019.
At the same time, telephone is expected to reduce by about 10 per cent year on year, but it will still be the largest channel. Chat still has a ways to go before it catches telephone, and it is on the journey towards doing so. However, the human touch with complex and personal issues will still be required and remain incredibly important.