How One Digital Agency’s Practical Approach Leverages AI for Customer Engagement – Part 3

How One Digital Agency’s Practical Approach Leverages AI for Customer Engagement – Part 3

Sep 4, 2018
How One Digital Agency’s Practical Approach Leverages AI for Customer Engagement – Part 3

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been infiltrating our lives for much longer than most of us realize. But where is it all going? And how should we be preparing ourselves?

Jamie Griffiths, managing director of UK-based digital agency Reading Room, has been sharing his thoughts about the role AI has in business and how it can be leveraged to greatly improve customer engagement.

In the previous article, we discussed the cynicism around AI due to a lack of understanding and how adoption in the mainstream has been somewhat slow. We also looked at the importance of adding AI to a company’s omnichannel strategy and how early adopters give themselves the unrivaled opportunity to win big.

Today, we go a little deeper into where AI might be going, and how it is likely to impact our lives over the coming years.

Ok, Jamie, here’s the Sci-Fi question: what do you think we can expect to see in the world of AI over the next decade? 

I expect to see a lot more of it.

It’s absolutely fascinating to me how people interact with and even depend on technology nowadays. It’s everywhere. And the acceptance of technology amongst the younger generations has been extraordinary. I think there’s still an element of novelty around AI though—partly due to the maturity of platforms out there and their capabilities.

I started our interviews off by saying that AI has been around much longer than we think. But at this stage, we’re not really that aware of how much it's already playing a part in many aspects of our lives. I wonder how many people actually understand how much AI is built into their new car—that their car has intelligence and is making decisions on their behalf—like gearboxes that anticipate what gear you might be shifting into next and start to mechanically align themselves for that to make it smoother. It's incredible.

I read an article the other day about African countries using AI to fill the gap in the numbers of doctors there and finding the artificial intelligence to be more accurate than doctors when it came to the diagnosis of symptoms. This amazing technology can save lives in the remotest parts of Africa. But, while AI is reshaping the boundaries and precision of healthcare through data-driven solutions, it can’t do so without having an impact on doctors.

My son, for instance, is looking at universities and has been thinking about going into medicine. But he’s having doubts as to whether there is future in it. And whether becoming a doctor might not be a safe long-term career choice is not something we’ve ever questioned before. It’s usually at the top of the rock-solid-professions leaderboard.

So the younger generations that are eagerly embracing technology and embedding it into every corner of their lives have a very different future ahead of them than we’re really able to prepare them for. AI is already impacting the decisions they make about their future in society. Safe careers like accountancy, finance, and law, which are all very logical rules-based services, could well be better served by AI making the fundamental decisions, and with a layer of human adjustment on top. Professions that are able to incorporate the use of technology are going to give young people a greater career advantage and put them at the cutting edge.

So, over a period of time, AI will be impacting more parts of our lives than we can possibly imagine and I think it’s going to be quite interesting to see how it changes society and the way we work. Will we all be nine-to-fivers? Will there be a need for humans to be that involved? If not, how will this affect our ability to make money? Do we trust machines over humans?

The expansion of AI into our lives could bring a seismic shift in the way society operates and poses some interesting philosophical questions.

Thanks so much for the interviews, Jamie. 

It’s clear that artificial intelligence is ushering in an age of accuracy and adaptability never before imagined. It’s here to stay and we’re in for some radical changes to the way we work, the way we interact, and the way society functions as a whole.

But it’s not an overnight robot revolution. AI is already much more part of our daily lives than we realize. In fact, it’s become the expectation. Customers want uniquely personalized experiences at every point they come into contact with brands and for those experiences to respond to their every thought. And AI is helping companies to deliver on this. It’s the next big thing in customer engagement.

Despite the advancement-paralyzing fear of cost, time, and complexity, companies of all sizes are able to implement AI into their omnichannel strategies. According to Jamie, it should really be seen as just another channel through which they can enhance customer relationships, increase engagement micro-moments, and boost sales. And with the right technology in place, implementation is so much simpler and cheaper to do than most companies think. 

A great rule of thumb from Jamie is to start is small and move fast. Rapid prototyping not only helps win over sceptics but also puts something into the hands of test audiences for quick and measurable feedback. Getting something up fast and safely testing it out is a great way to weigh up the need, practicality, and ROI of adding AI to your omnichannel effort. How fast can it be? Well, if you keep things simple, a matter of weeks! Fail fast, pivot, and progress. If it turns out to be a roaring success, you can always start building in the complexity from there. For now, though, baby steps serve you better.

But it’s important to make sure you know why you’re doing it and what the practical uses of it are. How will it benefit your organization? How will it benefit your customer? And equally important, what does success look like? Have clear KPIs and measure your results against them.

It’s true that adoption for AI on a grand scale has been slow, most likely due to misconceptions around cost and difficulty. But technological history has shown us that early adopters have the opportunity to completely steal the march from their competitors by being a little bold and embracing the kind of developments that make customers’ lives better. And AI is doing just that. 

Whatever we think of where all this is headed, the fact is: AI is bringing us into a new era, and we can’t sit back and ignore it.

Jamie is the Managing Director at Reading Room, having previously carried out a number of different roles in his seven years at the Agency. Jamie has been involved in digital since 1996. As a result, his knowledge and experience have both breadth and depth. He is passionate about all things digital, and says he loves it because there is always something new to learn, or an interesting challenge to provide a solution for. Day to day, Jamie enjoys getting involved in the details of what we are delivering to our clients. He is also a leading member of the Kentico Advisory Board in the UK.

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