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Thursday, January 18, 2018


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In a blog post before the holidays, I discussed eight areas to consider as part of your automation and AI strategy. I also suggested a four-part automation innovation strategy framework to consider as part of your 2018 automation strategy planning.

How fast are organizations adopting AI in your industry—and how does your organization compare?

For a quick benchmark on the adoption and investment in AI technology by industry segment, check out Exhibit 1 in the recent McKinsey and Company article What AI Can and Can’t Do (Yet) for Your Business. The chart shows that financial services, high tech and communications companies lead in the use of AI application as well as on the likelihood to spend on AI technology. Laggards include construction, education and consumer/packaged goods companies.

There is a lot of hype about AI these days—and thus an understandable amount of trepidation and concern. But there is also a lot of opportunity for those who leverage AI in the right way for their organization and its business needs.

Ongoing innovation in artificial intelligence technologies—such as machine learning, robotics and natural language processing—positions companies for accelerated growth by helping them modernize their customer engagement operations through greater automation.

Conversational AI-powered intelligent virtual assistants (IVAs) are generating a large amount of interest. Verint announced the acquisition of Next IT before the holidays as part of ongoing plans to expand its customer engagement automation capabilities. Next IT is a provider of conversational artificial intelligence-powered intelligent virtual assistants. Check out The New York Times Business Day Markets page for more information on the acquisition.

Here are a couple of automation innovation examples powered by Next IT:

At Alaska Airlines, the “Ask Jenn” intelligent virtual assistant (IVA) provides customers and Alaska Airlines employees an efficient and modern self-service experience. The implementation of Jenn not only helped increase customer engagement—it also reduced contact center call volume.

The airline also eliminated the need for the online “live chat” support channel, because Jenn was able to handle those customer engagement areas. Jenn has become the most popular spot on the “Contact Us” area of the company’s Web site and continues to help drive customer engagement excellence.

Charter Communications determined that 38% of incoming chat requests were for user name retrieval and password resets. Charter has been able to better serve customers by helping them use self-service for password reset and other routine tasks.

The adoption of an IVA decreased the amount of time it takes customers to reset their passwords by nearly 50%, and the organization experienced nearly 5x ROI within the first six months of implementation.

Your customer engagement automation strategy can help you drive a sustainable competitive advantage in 2018 and beyond. How will you take advantage of all the opportunities that automation and AI offer?  Your competitors are probably asking themselves the same question.

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