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Charleston Business

Artificial intelligence is ready to improve the customer and employee experience

Mar 18, 2019 10:58AM
By Callie McCarty

Artificial intelligence (AI)— once considered a technology of tomorrow—has quickly become a technology of today. The rapid adoption of voice assistants such as Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa have changed the way we engage with technology in our daily lives.

For companies and businesses, the adoption of AI is critical to stay relevant, competitive, and create meaningful customer interactions. But companies are challenged to determine where to start with AI, how to scale it across their organizations, and how use it to spur innovation for competitive advantage and better customer experiences. A recent publication from the Capgemini Research Institute highlighted that a mix of anxiety and ill-informed opinion is obscuring the risks and opportunities of implementing AI.

Tom Ivory, head of Intelligent Automation for Capgemini, says, “AI has quickly evolved from simply a tool to reduce cost to a strategic solution that enables our clients to reimagine their business for accelerated growth.” 

At Capgemini’s Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) in Columbia, we are collaboratively working with companies to build AI solutions that create new industry-leading business models and enhance the customer experience. Machine learning, robotic process automation, cloud integration, and digital transformation all act as building blocks to unlocking AI’s true potential and new ways to interact with customers. From helping a hotel chain find more efficiencies in its human resources and financial services departments to improving the online checkout experience for customers at a large restaurant chain, there are many ways that we are helping businesses implement AI to improve their operations and/or customer experiences.

Consumer Adoption of AI Technology is on the Rise
There is a perception that AI prevents companies from building and strengthening relationships with customers because of its reputation of being cold and impersonal; however, an example from the Google Assistant challenges this viewpoint.   

During its I/O 2018 conference, Google introduced the AI technology it’s developing for its Google Assistant that makes calls on one’s behalf. It played an example of an actual call where the virtual assistant booked an appointment at a hair salon, and the person on the other end was seemingly unaware she was not speaking with a human. 

Our research on AI found that nearly 45 percent of consumers would be comfortable in delegating tasks to an AI-enabled assistant. In a separate study we conducted on voice assistants, 24 percent of survey respondents said they would use a voice assistant rather than a website. However, three years from now, that will rise to 40 percent. 

Utilizing AI to Enhance Employee Engagement 
In addition to enhancing the customer experience, AI can also empower workforces and get the best interactions between people and technology. From responsibilities as simple as asking customers what they need assistance with to liberating employees from the monotony of inferior and simplistic roles, AI is opening doors for companies all over the world. 

Humans are problem solvers and critical thinkers, so it is rather counterproductive to put them on simple and monotonous tasks that leave them in rudimentary positions. AI holds the key to opening doors where employees have the freedom to tackle roles that challenge and grow them, increasing drive and overall performance. Ultimately, the customer benefits with more time dedicated to improving their experiences.  

The belief is that AI can not only connect companies to their clients, but build and expand upon the capabilities of their employees. AI is here and knocking at the door—you just have to answer. 

Callie McCarty is a Columbia-based business analyst in the intelligence automation division of Capgemini, a global leader in consulting, technology services, and digital transformation.