Artificial Intelligence and Customer Expectations

By Ginnette Baker, senior global sales executive, Conduent

Ginnette Baker

Artificial Intelligence has long been considered an “up-and-coming” technology that would wow customers by adding new and exciting features to products and services. As I sit here at a conference with more than 4,500 business professionals from all industries, learning how AI will improve their customers’ experiences, I realize I don’t fully agree with that statement.

AI is already integrated into our lives so deeply that it’s now a “must-have” for businesses and agencies – a fundamental expectation for every interaction.  So in some ways, the perspective on AI has flipped – from something that could delight customers if present to something that can turn them off in a second if it’s missing. And if companies delay deploying AI, it becomes a “dissatisfier” that will lead to low net promoter scores and untimely customer churn.

Just last week while travelling on business, I arrived at my hotel pretty late. I had already checked-in on my mobile app so I was expecting to scan in and go to my room.  I walked up to the mobile check-in sign and start tapping to get my key. But after several attempts, I finally realized it wasn’t an interactive sign.  As I stood there completely exhausted and embarrassed for assaulting a sign, the late-shift front desk staff came around the corner.  I smiled and got checked into my room, still showing my identification and credit card the old way.

Honestly, inside, I was annoyed.  I knew I would be getting in very late and wanted a quick and automated experience, but that didn’t happen.  The company implemented mobile check-in to delight customers, but the opposite happened because it wasn’t fully operational end-to-end.

I see the same thing in the banking industry.  I won’t use credit cards unless they are fully integrated with mobile alerts and spend tracking.  I enjoy the benefits of belonging to a credit union. But I won’t make it my primary banking relationship, because the credit union doesn’t have a user-friendly mobile app or mobile check deposit.  These things are now the norm and represent expectations in everyday course of business.

My daughter is 16 and now driving. I obtained a credit card for her to get gas and to make sure she has money. But her response to me was, “Why do I need this? I have Apple Pay.”  I explained that Apple Pay is not fully integrated everywhere and her response was simple: “I just won’t go places where they don’t have it.”

So, as I look around this large room of business leaders making decisions to improve their organizations with AI, I hope they feel a sense of urgency. The data demands it – consider that some estimates suggest that only 4 percent of customers actually contact a company when they have a problem. The other 96 percent just move on without a word. Customers have choices. They expect you to know them and get it right. The first time.

Tell us about how AI plays a role in your business or agency, and how it shapes customer experiences. Leave a comment below.


3 thoughts on “Artificial Intelligence and Customer Expectations

  1. Very interesting article about “AI”! I have read a lot about AI and I find it to be thought provoking! AI in my opinion will change how we conduct and interface: business, social, new norms and different realms of virtual life.

    I have been working hard putting together Q1 data from all of the cable and satellite companies. All of them except one are in the red! All of them shared that they are in talks to sell or in talks to buy another company. How can this be considering terrible Q1 financial results?

    All of the satellite and cable companies are after Spectrum. They are creating the modern day “GOLD RUSH!” AI needs spectrum and has to have more to create this new emerging reality.

    Interesting that you can buy a cable/satellite company cheaper then you can buy government auctioned spectrum! Spectrum will drive AI! Welcome to the modern-day new Gold Rush!

  2. Having read the article a couple of times, unlike Lee, I really scratched my head trying to work out the headline and article thread about AI.

    It talks about mobile payments, app-based self service technology, consumer frustration, omni/multi-channel elements, but at no point is it talking about AI. The sorry truth about AI is that (as with many technologies), people are using it as a buzzword, they are looking to apply the technology to problems that don’t necessarily exist.

    Yes, AI certainly has a place in the enterprise, it definitely has a place in Customer Experience, but only when it offers a better, more accurate, more cost effective, more robust, more reliable option that other alternatives. The examples given in the article can all be deployed without the need for AI, in fact most examples currently on the market are doing exactly that.

    Lee, I don’t really follow your point on AI needing spectrum. To get an effective solution, your certainly need a huge volume of data, but I don’t really understand the spectrum connection.

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