Artificial intelligence (AI) is a business buzzword right now, but it can mean different things to different people. As your company moves forward to implement an AI system, you should be prepared to address a wide range of expectations from customers, the C-suite, and employees.
Preparing customers and employees with the right messages and information is key.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is moving its way into the enterprise, but your company’s customers, decision-makers, and employees’ may all have wildly different expectations of what AI will actually mean to them.
Even if you were to ask ten different experts for a definition of AI, you’d likely receive 10 different answers. To make things even more complicated, the term “AI” is often used interchangeably with narrower disciplines like “machine learning” (ML), which allows systems to improve at procedures over time; “autonomics,” which refers to complex systems that are self-managing; and “cognitive,” which refers to digital systems that mimic the human brain.
When it comes to implementing AI systems for enterprise, there are a range of misconceptions and expectations that your company may need to be address as you move forward. Here are some things to consider:
When speaking to customers in the general public
Most disruptions powered by AI take place out of sight of the general public. For example, the autonomic system behind an ecommerce shoe company might have observed increased web traffic around noon on days a hot new sneaker goes on sale, so in anticipation of a big upcoming release it independently taps additional server resources to handle increased traffic volume. The average shoe-buyer won’t be aware of the activity happening behind the scenes – they just know that they will have no problem ordering a new pair during their lunch break.
Your customers will probably never think about AI on your company’s backend, you should provide some guidance when it comes to interacting with AI directly on the frontend. The majority of the public’s direct exposure to AI will be with front-facing digital colleagues such as Amelia, whose presence and potential may warrant a formal introduction.
When it comes to implementing AI systems for enterprise, there are a range of misconceptions and expectations that your company may need to be address as you move forward.
While Amelia’s advanced functionality is redefining how users interact with enterprise systems, many customers still prefer interacting with human agents. According a study by Google, 57% of respondents preferred to “to talk to a real person” as opposed to connecting to a business through a website or other means. This lingering bias likely stems from automated interfaces of the past that haven’t lived up to the promise of interactive technology. This is where an AI-based digital colleague such as Amelia who has advanced conversational capabilities and emotional intelligence can make a difference – once she is given a chance.
In order to overcome the public’s hesitance to engaging with virtual agents, a company may offer some friendly instructional videos or blog posts about the promise of these new technologies and how to use them.
Customers should be made aware of Amelia’s many benefits – notably how she doesn’t only answer FAQs, she resolves user problems (e.g. not just “Amelia, when is my credit card payment due?,” it can be “Amelia, please set-up automatic payments linked to my shared checking account.”) Also, Amelia can be accessed 24/7 and customers are never placed in a queue. In fact, she has demonstrated the ability to enhance the customer interactions at scale – for example, when tapped to handle customer service for a gaming company, she was able slash average call length from 10 minutes to three. When introducing your virtual agent, be sure to highlight her potential and new functionality.
When speaking to stakeholders
AI allows companies to lower overhead while increasing productivity, which opens the door to future growth. However, decision-makers and stakeholders should be made aware that this massive potential for growth will not necessarily materialize instantaneously.
While AI systems come pre-packaged with out-of-the-box functionality, these systems still take months to be trained on the specifics of your company’s business procedures. Furthermore, while these technologies will minimize labor costs overall, it should not be viewed as a one-and-done investment, but rather as an ongoing project handled by a dedicated internal team.
AI solutions open the door for growth and versatile business practices, but leaders should be prepared for a steady ramp-up until they can achieve a ROI followed by a potential to scale.
When speaking to employees
As companies implement AI systems to take over repetitive routine tasks, employees may be concerned about their roles within the business. It should be clearly communicated to employees that the goal of automation is not to replace human labor, it is to take on the burden of routine repetitive tasks, be they physical, transactional, or cognitive. By freeing employees from doing the same things over and over again, they are able concentrate on the work that truly matters to them. The message should be one of AI augmenting the workforce, not completely replacing it.
With an AI implementation, employees should be invited to become part of the conversation to help redefine their roles and how they can use their creativity, experience, and soft skills to aid the business. Remind them that just as fears of past forms of automation stoked fears of human obsolescence, the reality of technological evolution in the workplace has been a transformative one that has allowed employees to concentrate on tasks that really matter.