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The Virtual Assistant for Customer Experience management

Posted: May 20, 2024
Read time: 10 minutes
#artificial intelligence #AI
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Human centered Artificial Intelligence

Ever wondered where Artificial Intelligence (AI) is taking us humans? You probably didn’t have too much time to think about it, because it is happening so fast. By the time we figure it out, the market will change and the decisions we took 6 months ago will need refinement. This agile business landscape is changing the way companies are managed from top to bottom, simply because there is little time to take decisions. The pace of change doesn’t leave doubt that the human capacity to adapt is limited by our natural characteristics. Even if evolution will eventually play its role in making us smarter, faster and more adapted to the new landscape, these permutations can last millenniums, and we would still be limited to a fraction of what an artificial intelligence engine can do.

In this situation we cannot rely anymore on the human capacity to analyze information and go through the whole decision-making cycle, we must leverage Artificial Intelligence to extend (rather than replace) our capabilities to process data and gain insights that are necessary to take decisions faster. But infusing agility in the operating model is not a guarantee we are making the right choices… in a market that is hyper-commoditized, where the abundance of similar offers leaves little room to differentiate your brand, you must provide a stellar experience to survive.

This means a human-centered organization is required with a backbone of an experience-led operating system.

Let´s first start with defining what an experience-focused company looks like and then we can move on to how Artificial Intelligence supports the model.

Experience-led organizations make a difference

An experience-led organization is one that prioritizes the creation and delivery of exceptional experiences for its customers, employees, and other stakeholders. This approach emphasizes understanding and catering to the needs, preferences, and emotions of individuals at every touchpoint of interaction with the organization. Rather than solely focusing on products or services, an experience-led organization places significant emphasis on the holistic journey and the emotions evoked throughout that journey. This can involve aspects such as customer service, user interface design, brand messaging, and overall customer engagement strategies, all geared towards fostering positive and memorable experiences.

In their book ‘Experience Rules!’, Diane Magers and Michael Hinshaw introduce the concept of the Experience Operating System (XOS), composed of 8 Keys that together enable any organization to unlock the value of being experience-led.

Xos model

At its core, the system is based on a continuous improvement cycle that encompasses gathering customer feedback, analyzing the data and turning it into insights, prioritizing the proposed solutions, making changes in the operating model, measuring the impact and refining the cycle over again. Very simple and intuitive…

Continuous improvement customer experience management

Organizations that implement these customer-centric fundamentals are more successful, you focus on what matters to the customer instead of spending time and money on initiatives that don’t serve the right stakeholders. This is backed by research that shows experience-led organizations are more profitable.

The virtual CX assistant – AI in Customer Experience management

While experience-led organizations are gaining in revenue and efficiency, the road to get there can be costly: requiring time, resources, and significant amounts of budget. Before considering large investments, brands should be looking at alternative solutions, which will leverage the power of artificial intelligence to support the CX department missioned to put the system in place. This is where I would like to introduce the concept of the virtual assistant, which works alongside your Customer Experience team acting as an assistant that guides you through the process and helps you collect feedback, analyze it and act upon it – faster, cheaper, always-on.

The virtual assistant in Customer Experience will be able to do all the basic time-consuming tasks that can be set up based on clear rules. With machine learning capabilities the virtual assistant will improve its ability to analyze, predict and propose solutions to solve issues or enhance existing product/service offers.

The virtual CX assistant will also have a digital identity, including appearance, personality traits, interests and behaviors. They will engage with other team members in digital spaces, interact with content and learn about your organization to better adapt their algorithms to reflect the brand values. Virtual Customer Experience assistants can serve different purposes, it’s the organization that will decide what missions and objectives are set for them, based on the level of maturity readiness of each of the XOS keys.

Artificial Intelligence and Customer Experience

The virtual CX assistant and the CX team are complementary to each other. Both will work together as part of the same flow:

  • The AI assistant will focus on the tasks that require high capabilities of data processing and automation of routine tasks with clear triggers
  • The humans can focus designing strategies, executing cross-functional projects and building relationships with customers

So what does an XOS model look like when human brain power and Artificial Intelligence efficiency join forces in Customer Experience management?

No time to lose for each Customer Experience manager: use Artificial Intelligence to help create and run your XOS

AI is not a trend anymore, it’s a reality that we need to adopt. Like other trends before, at some point in time Artificial Intelligence will become a commodity as well, a new standard that all organizations will need to comply with to meet current customer expectations. Those that fail to adapt will lose a competitive advantage quickly.

AI was created to serve a human purpose, for organizations that would mainly mean strengthening the engagement with their stakeholders. This requires establishing an experience-operating system to drive change and personalize the product/service offers. It’s easy to say but hard to do. When you start digging deeper into the components of the XOS you discover the amount of work required to make it happen. It’s a process that can take years to accomplish, which naturally discourages leaders, who are obliged to favorize (rightfully) quick return on investment in a fluctuating market. It’s a reality that every organization faces, and the solutions must be adapted accordingly.

The investments required to implement XOS could be a barrier for many organizations, but the solution isn’t holding off the initiative it is looking into leveraging the power of artificial intelligence to execute the tasks that have clear triggers and expected outcomes. The virtual CX assistant will work alongside the CX team to accomplish the business goals of the company through focusing on the experience provided to customers. With time the virtual Customer Experience assistant will be able to take over more and more clearly defined tasks, freeing the time of the CX team to focus their skills on taking business decisions, defining strategies and building relationships.

Don’t give up on XOS, look for Artificial Intelligence infused solutions instead, because experience-led organizations with an eye for innovation will dominate the market of tomorrow .

Your next steps to explore AI in CX

Read our practical articles on How to create Personas with AI and Enhancing CX with Generative AI.

Watch the recording of "The Power of AI in Customer Experience" live event hosted by Ian Golding CCXP.

In Cemantica, our AI Assistant Alex is ready and waiting to create and enrich personas for busy CX teams, why not ask us to show you Alex in action in a demonstration online?

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