The robots are here.
Let me repeat: they are here NOW. The disruptions they will bring are still coming to light. It’s just too early to know how this will change humanity.
It sounds daunting – some say creepy. In science fiction, robots are usually malevolent. But understanding the technology behind the reality offers a different point of view—a hopeful one.
Research by the University of Zurich and the University of Munich challenged a group of journalists with this thinking. Automated “robo-journalism” is already being used by the Associated Press and other large news organizations. In this study, journalists were trained and asked to use news writing software. Most found it was more efficient and offered the opportunity to reduce costs and increase speed. The journalists were able to deliver on a wider range of news stories, as it extended their limited resources.
The software didn’t replace journalism; it disrupted it. How new technologies impact industries depends on how organizations use them: to improve their service offering or to cut costs and services with it. Data, artificial intelligence, and machine learning offer companies the ability to fill in gaps by providing information and automation. But they don’t provide context. Instead, they offer the opportunity to provide context.
ASICS is using SAP Hybris to do just this, through the delivery of a strong customer service offering. When a customer service representative receives a call from a customer, they can see the order status of the caller, and if, for example, they are competing in a marathon shortly.
Using the AI, the representative can connect the dots to more intuitively help the customer. This doesn’t upset the customer; it saves them time and the frustration of explaining something repeatedly, rehashing details, and trying to communicate their dilemma.
A kitchen manufacturer in Germany is giving customers a device upon entering the store anonymously. As they browsed the shop, a virtual shopping basket was filled, identifying their preferences and likes. A profile of the customer (still anonymous) was created. Then, when the customer engaged with sales staff, they were able to build a model kitchen based on the customer’s preferences. They could even suggest alternatives based on the taste profile collected while browsing. Customers only shared their personal information if and when they were ready to, providing a level of privacy.
Providing context is how you, as a business, can help your customers. The AI and data can help you better manage customer engagement, delivering seamless and consistent interactions. This adds value and provides sales, marketing, customer service, and accounts (and whoever is interacting with them) intuitive tools to better facilitate. It’s a win-win for all.
For more on how AI and machine learning can enhance customer service, see The Big Bot Wave.