Generative AI technology, thrust into the spotlight by platforms like ChatGPT and Bard, is transforming the way businesses interact with their customers. It’s a pivotal moment, what could become a once-in-a-generation opportunity to tackle long-standing problems that were previously unsolvable due to technological limitations. From the little things to the seismic, brands will need to shift the customer experience (CX) forward, and in the process, design, build, and run entirely new ways of working and engaging customers. By focusing on applying a human-centric design approach to generative AI technology, you can unlock a human multiplier-effect for your CX, delivering transformation across the customer lifecycle.
Designing AI Systems for People
Forward-thinking designers will be on the front lines of envisioning innovative possibilities for generative AI technology. Like any tool, AI’s power lies in how it’s used. And, in many ways, more important than the technology itself is the philosophy and approach that defines its purpose. In the age of AI, you’ll actually need to focus on people’s needs more than you ever have before to make sure that AI gets used in meaningful and purposeful ways.
Adopting a human-centered approach to generative AI involves designing systems that prioritize the people they serve. Rooting solutions in the human experience and being human-centered means elevating human connection. By incorporating diverse perspectives, including input from employees and customers, organizations can develop generative AI solutions that solve real-world problems.
With the potential to completely redesign the customer journey, from personalized product recommendations to immersive virtual experiences, generative AI will put your touchpoints on steroids. You’ll need to be thoughtful and intentional about those touchpoints, otherwise, you risk inserting AI into situations where it’s not needed or applying it in ways that turn off customers.
Through AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants, companies can engage with customers in real-time, delivering instant support and personalized recommendations. Whether it’s facilitating seamless integrations across multiple platforms, including social media, messaging apps, and voice assistants, or ingesting customer data for analysis and insights, generative AI can help ensure consistent brand experiences when done right.
Building the Perfect Balance
While generative AI offers immense potential, it’s essential to strike the perfect balance between human interaction and intelligent automation. The human touch remains invaluable, especially in complex and emotionally sensitive situations. Sometimes bots just won’t cut it, and it’s important to know when.
Even in those moments where human connection trumps automation, generative AI will still play an important role because of its ability to augment human intelligence, and by simply taking over the more repetitive tasks that previously sapped staff of their time. The key lies in finding the ideal mix of AI-powered automation and human expertise to deliver exceptional customer experiences.
Generative AI finds its sweet spot by skillfully overlapping help and task automation. By combining natural language processing, machine learning, and deep learning, AI systems gain the ability to understand what your customers want and when they want it, while providing the assistance customers need, even if that means finding a human to help. This approach not only automates repetitive tasks, but also personalizes support.
Running the Future of CX
Embracing generative AI requires businesses to rethink how they run and, in the process, guiding their employees towards new ways of working. You’ll need to adapt to this transformative technology and redefine your operational strategies, with effective change management a crucial element of being human-centered. While we’re in the early stages of adoption, it’s evident that generative AI holds tremendous potential in reshaping the way we work and thrive, and your teams will need help acclimating.
As generative AI continues to advance, it will shape the future of work and AI-driven interactions. Companies and employees must be ready to meet the evolving expectations of customers who are increasingly comfortable with AI-powered solutions. By investing in AI capabilities now and training your people to work alongside AI systems, you can foster a culture of continuous learning and innovation to remain competitive.
The landscape of customer care is going to be transformed for the better. It will elevate customer service from an operational requirement to brand-defining experiences. Customer interactions, from initial touchpoint to post-purchase stages, has the potential to be reframed as help moments assisted by generative AI, a shift that will require staff to get used to a new mindset and platforms.
The Promise of Generative AI Technology
It’s crucial for brands to adopt a human-centered approach, ensuring that generative AI serves its ultimate purpose: improving people’s lives. When used to solve actual problems, generative AI can become more than just a technology, multiplying outcomes for people and businesses.
Principal, Design Strategist