Tech-savvy, empowered consumers call the shots

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Merijn te Booij, chief marketing officer at Genesys.
Merijn te Booij, chief marketing officer at Genesys.

The success of artificial intelligence-based interaction in commerce will depend on the ability of human beings to step in and take control as soon as emotions become involved.

Customer experience and call centre solutions firm Genesys describes this as ‘blended AI’, or the combination of human interaction with fully automated processes. It believes that a business that uses AI successfully will enhance its processes, which is pivotal to customer experience.

Some of the outcomes that can be realised include predictive customer engagement, voicebots, predictive routing and chatbots.

But businesses have to understand that ownership of the experience is moving from the enterprise to the tech-savvy, empowered consumer, said Merijn te Booij, chief marketing officer at Genesys.

Speaking at the Genesys Blended AI Summit 2019 in Sandton, Johannesburg, today, Te Booij said according to Infoholic Research, global AI-enabled CRM market revenue will reach $72.9 billion by 2023.

In today’s market, he said, customer experience – powered by the ‘new consumer’ – is considered the most significant differentiator in business, more important than products released or services rendered.

The new consumer

Te Booij outlined the characteristics of these new consumers: they are global citizens who own the experience in their world, who are tech-savvy and influencers, for whom mixed realties are not weird, and to whom peer reviews matter.

According to Genesys, customer experience equals brand experience, which is backed up by statistics. For example, 97% of customers globally are multi-channel users – a customer uses 5.6 channels on average; 81% of consumers are willing to pay for a better experience; and 51% of consumers have switched brands in the past year due to poor customer service.

Te Booij added that he does not believe AI will lead to job losses, but would rather create jobs, and that in years to come, the technology could adapt and learn human emotions.

“But it can never understand suffering, so it can never truly be human,” he said.

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