How Might a Generative AI Solution Transform Your Customer Experience?

The public attitude to artificial intelligence (AI) has been transformed since November 2022 when the California-based OpenAI launched its ChatGPT bot. Easy to use and freely available this conversational AI service quickly caught the imagination of millions, taking just two months to reach 100 million active users. Google quickly rolled out a similar tool called Bard and Microsoft integrated ChatGPT into their Bing search engine.

This immediately led to a wave of journalists predicting the demise of many professional jobs—including in journalism. The Guardian in the UK published a podcast in February 2023 explicitly saying that customer service agents will soon be replaced by ChatGPT.

It’s understandable. The public adoption of ChatGPT is unprecedented. It took Instagram 30 months to reach 100 million users and even TikTok took 9 months. This is not even a social media platform, yet the growth in use has been astonishing.

Concentrix is on the frontline of designing some of the most sophisticated customer experience (CX) solutions in the world, so our teams have an informed opinion as they have been deploying AI solutions for several years. This series of articles aims to explore both the opportunities and limitations of implementing a generative AI solution, especially for customer experience.

It’s worth stepping back from the excitement for a moment and revisiting an event from 2011. The IBM Watson AI system managed to beat Ken Jennings on the TV game show Jeopardy! Jennings was a Jeopardy! champion and the game is unusual in that the host gives an answer to which the contestant must guess the question.

As this recent analysis in The Atlantic demonstrates, the past decade hasn’t seen Watson change the world as much as the 2011 headlines declared it would. Back then, Watson was going to replace oncologists because it was so good at diagnosing cancer, today it is a valuable tool that IBM uses to help their clients improve and automate their businesses.

Although ChatGPT is a quantum leap and the generative abilities are exciting, we often forget just how important human empathy and intuition are for many business processes—such as customer to brand interactions.

Why Generative AI for Customer Services Won’t Replace Advisors

Our first important prediction is that ChatGPT, or more specifically similar but enterprise-ready generative AI tools, will not change customer contact volumes. Customer service specialists have already spent many years improving the customer journey so that simple questions are automated or can be answered easily using the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page.

Most calls to customer service advisors today are already longer than the 3-4 minute mark, which means that they are already complex and require investigation; the simple, easy-to-automate calls have already gone.

Self-service and the use of FAQs will be improved by generative AI, because it can create new answers from an existing body of knowledge, rather than just pointing the customer to the answer. This will raise expectations of what customers expect to achieve using self-service, however, this is not going to move the dial considerably on customer contact volumes.

The calls now being handled in contact centers are complex and require detailed investigation so the scope for AI to replace these interactions is very limited. Where change will quickly happen is inside the contact center.

How a Generative AI Solution Can Help CX Advisors Be Better

Think about the various processes that can quickly be transformed or improved for the customer advisor:

  • Training: from the first onboarding session where time to proficiency is important to training for new products or clients, a generative AI solution can create a personalized learning experience that moves away from the classroom and into courses designed for the individual.
  • Coaching: ongoing support and coaching can be automated and based on real customer interactions—the system can advise on how to improve and any training that may be recommended.
  • Quality: all customer interactions can be assessed for quality control purposes and low scoring ones are flagged for review. This is in contrast to the typical practice of supervisors checking on random calls—now every single interaction can be quality-checked.
  • Real-time Support: the advisor can be automatically supported by the AI suggesting relevant products based on the customer profile and indicating how to approach or address the customer based on sentiment analysis.
  • NBA: the next-best action is what an ideal advisor would do, or the information they would provide to answer a question. If the AI can find this information as the conversation is taking place, then it can be presented to the advisor immediately at the point where they would usually say ‘I’m just putting you on hold while I find the right information for you.’

What Can Generative AI-Based Customer Service Offer?

This is where Generative AI tools are going to change the customer service journey in the short to mid-term. Customers will expect their self-service options to work much better, but when they do call and speak to a human, that advisor will be supported by AI.

This is not as apocalyptic as some media articles have suggested, but it is realistic. How do you react today when you are greeted by a bot? You probably press “0” or type “advisor”—we see it all the time. Many customers still want humans to handle all their problems.

Even where self-service can be improved, it is clear that most interactions that are now with advisors are with a human for a reason—it is complex and requires investigation. Even a really smart bot cannot do this yet. We may see a greater acceptance of customer service bots when they reach a sophistication that means they cannot be distinguished from a human advisor.

This may happen in the future, but it has not just happened with this most recent wave of AI developments. However, this is a transformation for the advisor role. They will now feel like a real-time personal assistant is constantly there, seeking out information as soon as it is needed, and guiding them on how to manage each customer.

An AI revolution is arriving in customer service strategy, but humans are not being replaced anytime soon.

Learn more about how we can help you to implement your generative AI solution.

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