November 9, 2017
What do two-thirds of executives believe is the business advantage of the future? Artificial intelligence.
The call for widespread AI adoption has been a long time coming. However, brands’ path to implementing the technology has been anything but straightforward. Even when brands are ready to make use of AI, consumers’ lack of receptivity to the technology thus far limits how quickly they can pursue it.
Consumers are coming around though, and Gartner predicts brands will manage 85 percent of their customer interactions without a human by 2020.
That date may feel far off, but now is the time for brands to explore AI and decide if it’s a smart investment for their users and organizational needs. To help out, we’ve taken a look back at some of our favorite examples of brands successfully using AI in 2017. Here are a few strategies that are serving brands well to date.
Meet users where they are
When encouraging users to try a new solution, it behooves brands to create experiences on the platforms and devices consumers are already using.
Comtrade is a good example of how companies can promote adoption by playing to existing customer preferences. According to research from the Federal Reserve System, mobile banking continues to grow in popularity, especially among younger bankers. In reaction to this trend, Comtrade recently rolled out a chatbot-enabled banking platform for Viber, a messaging app.
Via Viber, bankers can access information like their account balances, or they can complete routine tasks like sending and transferring money. AI-powered chatbots facilitate these experiences, helping users complete common banking needs with minimal friction and in less time.
Other companies are also setting the bar high with AI-powered insurance offerings that allow users to complete tasks from any device. All companies should aspire to be this serious about meeting every user where they are.
In most cases, brands that jump on the new-solution bandwagon without first determining how it works for them will end up dissatisfied with their investments. Fortunately, companies like IKEA and the Home Depot are demonstrating how brands can engineer AI solutions that provide value while still feeling authentic.
IKEA has made available its VR kitchen experience, which helps shoppers to visualize purchases at home. The Home Depot created a similar app with its Project Color, which allows users to virtually try out paint from the comfort of their homes. Rather than developing AI chatbots or situating the technology around big data analysis, both companies are using AI to solve smaller, but just as real needs for shoppers. Both solutions help consumers do something that was very difficult to do before and have looked past the flashier options to incorporate AI with real value for their particular audiences.
Identifying an inefficiency or problem that needs to be solved can be the perfect entry point. Once a business has identified what they want to solve, they should examine if intelligent systems can help by enabling users to enhance the way they consume and understand information surrounding the problem statement. The next step is to optimize that experience through intelligent systems and then expand their footprint.
Don’t forget humans
We’ve heard this before, but it’s worth repeating – AI’s introduction is not synonymous with the elimination of humans.
Consider virtual assistants like Geico’s Kate as proof that tech and humans are stronger when combined. Kate’s AI capabilities do what humans cannot – manage routine insurance needs at scale, around the clock. While human agents are not available 24/7, AI solutions can be. That said, humans remain an invaluable part of the equation, too. In moments where more complex queries need a human touch, Kate can escalate the issue to an informed service representative.
The insurance world is a prime example of making this partnership work, and InsurTech companies born in the age of digital are spearheading this effort. Newer insurance companies like Lemonade and Metromile are reimagining how AI can help insurance interactions be more enjoyable and productive.
Finally, businesses must remember that they are driving towards a better experience for all users, both internal and external. Users that create internal material & processes are still users of these systems. Intelligent systems should make them more efficient and solve problems that make everyday life on the job better. A holistic view of the humans that are involved in any process will produce better results and, ultimately, more return on investment from any intelligence project.
As consumers become more and more open to AI, strategies like these will lay the foundation for more diverse and sophisticated capabilities. Rest assured, we’ll be ready when they do. We’re so committed to being an expert on AI that we’re in the process of launching an AI mini-report (stay tuned!).