Paul Greenberg, known as the “Godfather” … and the “Bob Dylan” of CRM, is one of the most recognized and respected CRM analysts in the world. He is also author of the best-selling “CRM at the Speed of Light: Social CRM Strategies, Tools, and Techniques for Engaging Your Customers.” He is a tremendous speaker, influential thought leader, and an even better friend.
The following is an excerpt from an interview with Paul.
JT: How do you see AI or AR impacting your customer experiences and engagements?
PG: Augmented reality and artificial intelligence have the words “augmented” and “artificial” as adjectives for a reason. They AREN’T reality nor is the intelligence organic. They are valuable and supplemental to the kinds of processes and efforts that go into human interactions. Of course, in business, we define these human interactions via engagement and experience. Both augmented reality and artificial intelligence can improve the immersiveness of a customer’s experience and/or the depth and interest in the engagement of the customer with the company. The reason isn’t the tech behind it, though. It’s because the content provided by augmented reality (see Minecraft and the HoloLens for “immersive coolness”) appeals to the visceral in the individual customer — which means it is a or adds to a tailored, created consumable experience. In the case of AI as Ray so aptly points out, it is in the insight that is suggested by the use of the AI and then actions that the AI use engenders that increases the depth of interest in the interactions between the customer and the company involved. So it’s the use of augmented reality and AI to create or support highly personalized interactions which then evoke an emotional state that show its real current and future benefit.
JT: You’ve subliminally and explicitly stated that you don’t want to be treated like a number when it comes to service. How can AI or AR help companies avoid this, when inherently it’s just ones and zeroes that power AI
PG: I don’t remember doing that but then you did say subliminally too. J It may be 1s and 0s that power AI but its letters that power words that power sentences that power paragraphs that power MEANING eventually — and meaning in context. AI is no different. It is a technological means to an end. The key difference with AI is that it learns and then from the learning changes its own behavior to adjust to what it learns. It doesn’t create exactly. It operates within the limits of something that isn’t organically creative. But it is able to translate behaviors and then create responses that meet those behaviors in ways suitable to those “behaving” and the creators of the AI program. Thus, the results of AI can feel personal because the behavioral adjustments are individualized (if its set up that way). And that’s a good thing.
JT: What was so broken in business processes that we need AI now?
PG: I wouldn’t really put it that AI is a result of broken business processes. Business processes have value still and the systems out there that automate them are not bad at all. According to many studies out there between 90%-98% of the service interactions that customers initiate are queries — and they come via many and multiple channels and on many and multiple devices. Most of them are automatable and don’t need anything like AI to be right. AI certainly can improve the delivery of the responses to the queries by effectively learning the habits of the customer over time to improve the quality of the response but it isn’t totally necessary in that case. Where AI’s value comes in is as a result of a much deeper need and demand by customers for personalized responses to their queries and their demands to have results that are immediately meaningful. That’s the true value of AI
JT: How disruptive or transformative do you think AI/AR will be when used in the best possible way?
PG: Transformative and innovative. Disruptive is too loaded a term and used too loosely. Let’s just say AI will play a crucial role in the way that customers interact with companies. Gartner forecasts that by 2020, fully 85% of customers will interact with companies without involving human beings. AI becomes an imperative initiative if that is to be believed. Just because they aren’t talking to a company employee, doesn’t mean that the customer isn’t looking for a personalized interactive, optimal response. AI has a shot at providing that.
JT: Will people become smarter or more productive when their companies or their technologies implement a well-run AI initiative?
PG: That’s speculative. They can become smarter or more productive but ultimately all that AI does is either take away things that allow them more time to be better at what they do or provide them with information that allows the humans to gain insights. But its up to the human being as to whether or not the AI initiative is valuable to him/her or not.
(Cross-posted @ Medium | John Taschek)