Just type in "artificial intelligence" into your search bar and you'll be instantly overwhelmed. Blogs, articles, think pieces, self-promotion, video explainers, courses and how-to guides burst at the seams. Recently, the trend seems to be articles instructing how to select, set up and run an AI project, aping the excellent piece by Andrew Ng earlier this year.
The emerging expertise of applying AI to solving business problems is as interesting as it is useful, but for those new to the technology it doesn't necessarily clarify the why of the endeavour. You can get into the weeds here, but today, most businesses focus on creating happy customers. Happy customers leads to loyal customers, more customers overall and greater revenue.
Especially in the context of customer service, if AI does nothing to enrich the experience, or worse, harms it, the project is a clear failure. Setting up algorithms, and teams behind them, to deliver satisfaction improvements by enhancing workflows and the experience must be the goal.
The good news is that businesses using AI in their customer service see 2.5 times greater annual customer satisfaction rates than businesses that do not. Indeed, customers surveyed are 63% more satisfied with business that deploy a consistently effective AI program.
This is a fundamental, important difference. Customers today buy on experience and on convenience. AI can play an important role to influence or define how the experience unfolds, matching simple queries to effective outcomes, and ensuring that complex queries are handled faster.
With higher satisfaction scores it should not come as a surprise that businesses with effective AI programs perform better. These companies experience a 9.2% revenue increase, compared to 3.8% increase seen by companies who do not, a clear reflection of satisfaction rates.
It shows in customer behavior. Encountering effective AI programs, 69% of customers would recommend the company to family or a friend and 49% would compliment the company on social media! This positive perception clearly matters: of customers experiencing an effective AI system in customer service interactions, 60% affirm they would increase purchases with that company.
Companies that provide customers with the right experience, dealing with their problems appropriately, deliver convenience. Among the positives, convenience shows customers that you are invested in the relationship. Where AI can be effective is precisely in raising convenience. Quickly recognizing and resolving simplicity creates convenience, and in so doing, fuels satisfaction, loyalty, higher rates of purchase and promotion that underpin revenue growth.
However you go about your AI project - and there's plenty of compelling voices out there to help - remember that you should anchor your goals in satisfaction and revenue. These are the only two meaningful measures of success, which have incidentally been well documented in the real world. Otherwise, why bother?