Retailers and organizations striving to implement enhanced automation processes to meet customer demands might find competitive business advantages in using artificial intelligence (AI) to create conversational customer experiences (CX).
A Gartner survey released last year revealed that 80% of executives believe they can apply automation to any business decision. It showed how organizations are evolving their use of AI as part of their automation strategies that are becoming embedded in digital business operations.
“The survey has shown that enterprises are shifting away from a purely tactical approach to AI and beginning to apply AI more strategically,” said Erick Brethenoux, a vice president analyst at Gartner. “For example, a third of organizations are applying AI across several business units, creating a stronger competitive differentiator by supporting decisions across business processes.”
This research suggests that customer expectations have evolved significantly, placing a premium on fast, personalized, and convenient experiences across all communication channels, including messaging, chat, and voice. AI delivers on those expectations and can make experiences more conversational for customers.
That is also the approach Rebecca Jones, general manager of Mosaicx, is taking in providing AI services to her company’s CX services. She is a strong advocate of implementing conversational AI to empower businesses to enhance and tailor CX and thereby increase competitive advantage.
“I think it’s essential for leaders to understand all the latest advancements in AI and ensure that they’re staying ahead of the curve and understanding the implications for their industry or their business operations,” Jones told CRM Buyer.
Maximizing the Potential of AI-Powered CX
In fact, a recent Forbes advisor survey talks about businesses adopting AI across wide ranges of their business, both internal and external, added Jones. Over half of the respondents indicated they are leveraging AI for those purposes right now.
“Nearly two-thirds of business owners represented in that survey indicated that AI will continue to enhance customer relationships over the life of their business. So, I think it is imperative for business owners to stay abreast of the latest advancement,” she urged.cA key motivation for businesses to stay updated is AI’s significant enhancements in customer satisfaction compared to the previous generation of CRM bots. Understanding how to recommend the next product or appointment reminders and anticipating the customer’s needs is the new playing field. So is understanding how to provide real-time insights into the next things they need.
“Obviously, conversational AI allows for omnichannel engagement and understanding, consistently providing the same level of high customer service for all your customers. That is available no matter when customers call, so that is around-the-clock customer support,” Jones noted.
How Mosaicx Optimizes Company Performance
Mosaicx leverages AI and machine learning (ML) to continuously improve that experience to provide the best predictive, personalized service possible.
The company provides high-end conversational AI products and solutions that enable businesses to take advantage of the AI and ML deep learning technology on the front end of their business.
“We essentially provide an intersection between their brand experience and customer experience, creating a brand-centric front door for their business. We do that by automating a lot of those interactions with our customers,” she explained.
One of the benefits this technology provides is cost savings on the back end. It prevents some of those rare customer requests from getting into a company’s contact center. This reduction alleviates a lot of the pressure from the contact center and allows agents to focus on higher-level engagements with their clients.
“We deflect much of the cost of low and quick turnaround questions for their customers,” Jones added.
Fighting the Fear Factor
Businesses transitioning to this type of upper-level AI/ML-powered CX solution often come up against the fear of unknowns, according to Jones. They lack an awareness of how to leverage the technology.
However, she believes the main concern for businesses is the hesitation or challenges in building or adopting conversational AI technology themselves instead of buying a pre-existing solution.
If a business is considering adopting the technology itself, the cost factors are cloud service infrastructure licensing, the development and integration cost, data storage, data collection, and rotation security. Compliance and things of that nature are hefty technology costs on the back end.
She suggested that businesses adopting conversational CX should purchase a solution that already embeds AI for the specific front function they seek. Then, they pay for the solution without having to fund the underlying technology, cloud infrastructure on ongoing maintenance, data solutions, and related costs.
Mosaicx Platform Unwrapped
Unlike other CRM platforms, Mosaicx — which uses cloud-based SaaS technology — can be a standalone application for companies that prefer something less customized. But more is better. More access to the whole platform allows more personalized services that a business would like to see integrated with its own CRM tool, Jones offered.
“The customers that we have today, where we get the highest degree of cost savings and the highest degree of personalization, are those where we have integration with their CRM, potentially with their back-end customer ticketing systems and other data points that are relevant to their business line or their customers,” she explained.
For example, many of Mosaicx’s customers use the platform’s payment services functionality that allows their user customers to fulfill their payment processing completely automated without having to speak with a human — that kind of flexibility matters. “So it really depends on the needs of our customers, but we can do it either way,” Jones said.
The Mosaicx platform runs in Google Cloud to leverage some of those back-end processes. Moreover, it employs proprietary software that integrates diverse natural language processing AI and ML datasets, enabling seamless conversations between humans and computers.
“The technology has evolved so quickly that in many cases, we can leverage voices of the computer side of that conversation, which are even deepfake of agent voices and things like that. In many cases, it is difficult to tell that you are communicating with a computer rather than a real person,” said Jones.
The Evolving Role of AI in CX
The Gartner AI study cited earlier might be a bit outdated, although Jones noted that it is still relevant to today’s AI advances with conversational CX. Gartner released its findings last August.
Among its high points, researchers found that:
- One-third of organizations applied AI across various facets of their operations. Decision makers were exploring generative AI to automate experiences and started considering conversational AI in their toolkit.
- On average, 54% of AI projects made it from pilot to production.
- Even then, organizations faced challenges to move AI from pilot to production.
- Talent was not a significant barrier to AI adoption, with 72% of executives reporting that they had or could source the AI talent they needed.
That Gartner survey was conducted online from October through December 2021 among 699 respondents in the U.S., Germany, and the U.K. at organizations that deployed AI or intended to do so within three years.
Addressing AI Guardrails for Safety
Jones observed that beyond the momentum for conversational AI, there has been significant buzz around generative AI in the past six to nine months. Today, she sees an interesting pulse in the ecosystem among fast adopters going all the way in regardless of fear of data security or privacy.
Mosaicx is integrating both species of AI with a pronounced responsible, ethical approach to their adoption. She sees concern among existing customers not yet fully adopting generative AI.
“We have proposed with our clients that as we are adopting and integrating generative AI into our solution, they leverage that internally first as a way to automate engagement with their employees and lift some of the burden from their employees as they’re engaging with their end users and then leverage that externally,” she confided.
Her company has also taken a very conservative approach to how it banned or bound the generative AI large language models to ensure its use does not expose risk to clients. In the works is implementing a service called Mosaic Expert that adapts generative AI to allow businesses to automate question-and-answer FAQ types of engagements.
It’s a significant cost-saving measure because it lets them provide what they typically offer their contact center agents, she explained.
This method permits the introduction of generative AI in a controlled and responsible manner, reassuring its users and clients about the technology’s safety and security.