Blog by Eric Lemage, Protime telemarketer
A while ago I compared CX and EX (Customer and Employee Experience). Time to check whether artificial intelligence (AI) makes an effective breakthrough in this context.
What does 'AI' actually mean?
These days, we come across a number of terms in the media that all refer to Artificial Intelligence, but what does 'AI' actually mean? Brett Grossfeld gives a straightforward explanation in: “A simple way to understand machine learning vs deep learning”. In it, he also points out two basic requirements for putting AI into practice: a powerful computer and data, lots of data!
Is the rise of AI easy to trace?
In contrast to other trends, the rise of AI is not easy to trace because its application is often invisible in contrast to the advance of PCs or smartphones in their time. Steven Van Belleghem does an excellent job of explaining this in his book “Customers, the day after tomorrow”. In his book he also points up that the adoption of AI is not dependent on consumers or employees as it was the case for pc's and smartphones. The latter will certainly influence the speed at which AI will be embedded in departments like Marketing, Customer Care, HR, and a number of other departments.
What is the driving force behind the adoption of AI?
Indirectly, it concerns the competitive position of the firm and its attractiveness as an employer. Ultimately, it's all about the changing demands of our customers and employees. Just look at yourself. We have never had so much free time, and yet we all complain that we don't have enough time. Some even pretend our social live is suffering as a result it. But that assessment seems quite wrong to me. We have never been so occupied with our social lives. That is precisely the reason we are constantly looking, always and everywhere, for ways to get fast, easy answers for the most common questions and needs. It's why we want personalised information, the most intuitive apps, and 24-hour, 7-day service. From the article by Joeri Van den Bergh “Is NextGen marketing more chemistry than science?” you can only infer that this trend will not only continue but will even increase. Given the enormous competition in our service economy, this has become a major challenge for all companies when it comes to CX or EX. This is where AI can make the difference.
AI, a lot of hot air about nothing?
When I first began to investigate the rise of AI, I started to look for known application areas. Surprisingly AI was already a part of my everyday experience as a consumer. I'm thinking about Booking.com for example. You will find lots of other examples in “27 Incredible examples of AI and Machine Learning in practice” by Bernard Marr and get a good idea of where AI can be deployed. But probably you'll also get - just as I did - the impression that the gulf between the adoption of this new technology and current reality is still very large. But can we just conclude: "A lot of hot air about nothing"? Time to quit my internet research and to start looking for some tangible examples of the adoption level of AI at Protime, the company I work for.
- "A Bot for EX purposes" by SD Worx : This short clip shows how this tangible AI application can be used by HR to improve the EX.
- “Data Source Integration and CX” by Quirijn van der Haven from Protime : In order to apply AI you need a great deal of data from different sources. Marketing departments, including Protime's, have access to different databases. Our first aim is to link all those databases (including external data sources) in order to improve the communication with our clients using AI. Therefore we're looking at different customer data platforms, such as the american Lytics or NGData from Ghent. We're also investigating the integration of AI in CRM systems to assist our customers even better.
- “A Bot & AI for CX-purposes” by Nick Geys from Onlinewerkrooster : For an optimal CX, we already use a support chatbot for answering clients’ most frequently asked questions. Only when no answer can be found, do staff members take over from the chatbot. Additionally, we are also working on making work planning with the support of AI. The aim is to use the available information to generate scheduling optimizations and to compare them with the ones currently used by the customer.
The competitive struggle for the best CX and EX as an accelerator
In the past year I've spoken with many managers of small businesses. It is remarkable how quickly young entrepreneurs today are investing in the digitization of their business processes. At one hand the new generation of business people have indeed grown up in this digital world, but at the other hand the IT tools also have become financially more accessible. In combination with the competitive struggle for the best CX and EX this leads me to expect an accelerated adoption of AI and its impact on business.
This concludes my research and opinion on CX, EX and the rise of AI. In my next article you will get the chance to get to know Protime inside out in my interview with a team leader from our Software Development department, the heart of a software company. See you soon.