When electricity was discovered, it changed the way the world worked. When cars were invented, it changed the way the world worked. When the internet became a reality, it changed the way the world worked. As Artificial Intelligence (AI) further develops into a powerful tool, it is, once again, changing the way the world works.
AI is not a new topic for any of us. Ideas of AI have been around for longer than we can even remember. In 2016, it started to rise in the ranks as a hot topic in almost every industry imaginable. Today, 38% of enterprises are already using AI, with this number expected to grow to 62% by 2018. Additionally, Forrester is predicting a 300% increase in AI investments this year compared to last. Do a quick search today and you'll see topics like "With Alexa Integration, iRobot aims to make Roomba center of smart home"; "Google bets big on AI to make a cloud push for enterprises"; "AI is about the change the face of digital advertising"; "Why Toyota is talking it's own road to self-driving cars." AI is literally everywhere.
In the customer service industry, it's no different. According to a study by Oracle, almost 8 out of 10 businesses are already using or are planning on implementing AI as a customer service solution by 2020. Gartner believes that by 2020, customers will be able to maintain about 85% of their interactions with a company without any human interaction. In tandem with this idea, Gartner also states that AI will disrupt the jobs of 1,000,000 phone-based agents by 2020.
Moving forward, AI will increasingly be used to manage more routine transactions while more complex interactions will remain with customer service agents. The key to success is figuring out which interactions can fall into each category.
One cannot function in silo without the other. Let's say there is no proper escalation process for a typical request handled by AI processes. In this scenario, chatbots can provide more frustration and negativity than resolution of the issue in the first place. This will only lead to more issues or worse, the loss of customers. On the flip side, customer service teams are able to gain an enormous amount of efficiency and provide better service with the help of AI.
Customers and companies are not the only two parties that benefit from the use of AI. Tools that help automate areas of customer support can have a positive impact on the employee experience. By removing the need for agents to perform basic and repetitive tasks, the workplace becomes far more engaging, challenging and interesting. Companies will have the ability to focus more on employee engagement, giving yet another area to differentiate from the competition.
There are a number of AI tools out there from virtual agents and personal assistants to natural language processing and machine learning tools to messaging apps. If we started to name them, we wouldn't even begin to scratch the surface.
AI represents our present and our future. It's the trend of the 21st century that will continue to change the way the world works moving forward.