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Customer Engagement

Automation and AI: Game Changers for Your Customer Engagement Strategy

iStock-817338718   Robot Man and Woman Looking at Each Other_resized.pngLeading enterprises recognize that the effective adoption and implementation of automation and artificial intelligence (AI) solutions within their customer engagement operations can be game-changing for the enterprise, potentially yielding higher revenue, lower operating costs and greater customer satisfaction.

The combination of automation, AI and some creative planning can create new opportunities that can revolutionize customer engagement.

One of the most useful articles I’ve read recently on customer engagement automation is “A CEO Action Plan for Workplace Automation1 by McKinsey & Company. In the first part of the article, McKinsey mentions that “cost reduction…through the elimination of labor attracts most of the headlines, and generates the most angst,” but that automation also delivers significant value unrelated to reductions in headcount. 

Three of the five business opportunities that are outlined and most relevant to customer engagement strategies include “Get closer to customers,” “Optimize knowledge work,” and “Increase scale and speed.”

Customer-centricity, leveraging the power of knowledge management and increasing the speed and accuracy of work output are not new concepts in the customer engagement industry. However, the opportunity exists now more than ever for you to help amplify how automation and AI can drive broader business and workforce optimization at your organization.

Earlier in my career I managed the contact center workforce optimization group at one of the major North American wireless companies. New technology was available all the time, and you really couldn’t keep up with all the emerging innovations. One of the most valuable things we did over time was to create small, informal, cross-functional groups and set up one-hour brainstorming sessions on topics including customer experience, root cause analysis, quality management and cross-selling.

There were no formal presentations or agendas—the meetings were like today’s “un-conferences” where the agendas and discussions were shaped on-the-fly based on the meeting attendees. These meetings were light in structure, but high in idea creation and creativity. Several of the outcomes were implemented in the business.

The speed of innovation is exponentially higher today, but one thing remains constant—you, as a customer engagement professional, can still help shape the customer experience your organization delivers. If you are already involved in automation or AI discovery sessions or planning, then you are already in the mix to help determine how these new technologies can drive value.

If you’re not involved in those types of projects, or your company hasn’t kicked them off yet—then think about how you can organize an informal group of like-minded folks at your organization who want to help drive customer engagement excellence. Consider confirming an executive sponsor for your group so you avoid any internal conflicts or challenges. Think about starting a group in the next few days. 

Do you want to delve more into the technology side of automation and AI as well? Check out this list of AI Influencers 2017: Top 30 people in AI you should follow on Twitter from the IBM Watson marketing team. It's a pretty diverse group of individuals including Elon Musk, British scientists, tech luminaries and institutes for ethical considerations of AI and automation areas.

Whatever your path, find some way to support your organization’s strategic objectives around automation and AI as you modernize your customer engagement operations. Harnessing the power of customer engagement automation is here to stay.


1 A CEO Action Plan for Workplace Automation, Michael Chui, Katy George, and Mehdi Miremadi, McKinsey & Company, July 2017


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