top of page

How Artificial Intelligence Is Transforming Customer Experiences

Moving goal posts.


It keeps CEOs awake at night as they attempt to navigate the tide of this entirely disruptive, ever-changing digital economy. Consider Kodak. The company filed for bankruptcy in 2012 failing to realize opportunities in digital photography, a technology that they invented. How did things go so wrong for Kodak? They had the data. They had the market intelligence to make the right decision. Yet they didn’t. Many businesses are on the verge of their own ‘Kodak moment’. This time at the behest of artificial intelligence (AI), the cognitive technology that has the potential to disrupt business as we know it. 


Companies are in various stages of adoption of artificial intelligence. A Forbes report states that 38% of enterprises are already using AI, estimated to grow to 62% by 2018[i]. McKinsey estimates that firms have invested between $20 billion and $30 billion on AI, in 2016[ii]. Forrester identified AI as one of the top 15 emerging technologies with the potential to change the world in the next five years[iii].


Customer Experience and AI. A perfectly matched pair.

The area where AI has, perhaps, had the greatest impact is customer experience. From helping sales teams predict which deals are likely to close, to highly effective chatbots and personalization, AI is helping businesses improve the experience and outcome for every customer interaction. 


Customer experience, in today’s crowded marketplace, is a key differentiator. Brands with deeper insights offer better customer experiences. According to Forrester, “Businesses that use artificial intelligence (AI), big data and the Internet of Things (IoT) technologies to uncover new business insights “will steal $1.2 trillion per annum from their less informed peers by 2020.”[i]AI-powered personalization on websites resulted in 63% of respondents experiencing an increase in conversion rates and 61% noting an improvement in customer experiences.[ii]Cognitive/artificial intelligence can drill down through large quantities of data and sort, group, analyze, and mine customer insights that provide businesses with the opportunity to make faster and more accurate business decisions and achieve better business results. 


Consider the following statistics: 

  • 73% of US consumers say that ‘valuing their time’ is the most important thing a brand can do

  • 45% of shopping carts are abandoned due to lack of immediate support 

  • 91% of unsatisfied customers will not return for a repeat purchase or service 

  • 61% of failed customer support calls could have been solved with better access to data 


Given those parameters, it is imperative for businesses to adapt and strategically elevate the customer’s experience of their brand to gain a competitive advantage. 


How AI is helping businesses transform customer experiences  


Pre-emptive customer service

AI-powered customer care can deliver a level of service that goes beyond what is humanly possible. AI will add conversational interfaces to static self-service content. It will anticipate needs by context, preferences, and historical data and will deliver proactive alerts, relevant offers, or content. Combing through vast amounts of data on the internet, AI can identify customer service issues and proactively offer support without the customer contacting the company.


The rise of self-service 

Customers of all ages are moving away from telephones to using self-service or peer reviews as their first form of interaction with a company. Dimension Data reports growth in every digital channel and a 12% decrease in phone volume. Over 70% of consumers will choose messaging over calling if given the choice. By 2020, experts project that more than 85% of all customer interactions will be handled without the need for a human agent. AI enables businesses to be present in these human-less environments. 


The cost of running a contact center

Hiring and training customer contact center personnel takes time and money. According to industry standards, it costs $4000 to hire a call center service agent and $4800 to train them. Add to that, the cost of attrition, working on a 24-hour cycle and through holidays… the costs increase rather rapidly. AI can result in significant cost and time savings. Training costs are almost negligible. Machines work 24-hours a day. They don’t have biases or experience fatigue. They don’t have bad days at work. They don’t turn up late to work with a hangover. A recent Zendesk study showed that 42% of B2C customers purchased more after a good customer service experience, whilst 52% stopped buying after one bad customer service interaction.[vi]The stakes are higher than ever before. 



With business moving at high speeds, scalability is a necessity. Launching a new product or a new feature typically generates an increase in customer support requirements. With AI, that can easily be achieved.  



Big data is wonderful but only if analyzed properly. Deep customer insights can lead to better customer experiences, from simple product recommendations based on past purchases to websites redesigned in real-time to tailor to an individual customer’s reading level and browsing habits.


The future doesn’t belong to businesses that are able to respond to customer issues in the shortest possible time. Nor does it belong to businesses that merely implement chat bots because everyone else is doing it. That goalpost has moved. The future belongs to businesses that harness the opportunities afforded by this new technology. The future belongs to businesses that are truly powered by artificial intelligence.  




[ii]From the McKinsey Global Institute Report, “Artificial Intelligence: The Next Digital Frontier” 


[iv]Forrester report “Predictions 2017: Artificial Intelligence Will Drive The Insights Revolution”






This article first appeared here.







bottom of page