Are you going to iterate or innovate? – TechCrunch
By Brian Solis (@BrianSolis), evangelist of global innovation, @Salesforce
If 2020 was the year that forced the acceleration of digital transformation, this year will be the year that tests which companies can reinvent new business rules and find opportunities to innovate. At the top of the list of technologies driving this change are artificial intelligence (AI) and automation, which together enable businesses to accelerate their productivity and improve the customer experience and employees. While most understand that AI and automation are the keys to future scale and optimization, many fail to realize the potential to reimagine the future of work and business through model innovation. operational and commercial.
While some companies are using technology to gradually make existing systems and processes more efficient, others are finding ways to introduce entirely new customer and employee experiences that unleash new business value. With this vision, companies can change their trajectory and explore the art of the possible.
This leaves three paths to follow: 1) Continue to evolve and optimize what exists, 2) Introduce new capabilities and customer experiences, or 3) Both. The winners will be those who embrace automation and AI as a way to level up.
Amid the disruption of the pandemic, businesses that once had the luxury of months or even years to digitally transform have suddenly rushed to provide real-time service and support online, at scale. Almost overnight, every business was forced to increase its reliance on technology that could improve efficiency and handle increased customer demand and expectations.
McKinsey research shows that 85% of companies have accelerated digitization, with 67% of them specifically accelerating the adoption of AI and automation. This means exponential investment in emerging technologies that weren’t even on the horizon before COVID-19. Today, AI and automation are among the most effective ways to accelerate change and accelerate return on investment, solving areas where employees and processes could not evolve to meet demands. increasing.
It’s time to ask yourself: are you going to continue to iterate over the same processes? Or will you push yourself to innovate and create entirely new customer experiences?
Here are three ways to embrace an innovative mindset and get the most out of automation and AI in the short and long term.
Innovative leaders cut through the hype and focus on results. They intend to deploy the technology to enable better results at scale, like improving the customer experience or adapting to a workforce that works from anywhere. An innovator not only improves what exists, but also seeks new opportunities. They realize that the customer experience is an imperative and an important place to accelerate the creation of value.
In fact, 84% of those surveyed in the Salesforce survey Connected Client Status Report said that a company’s experience is as important as its products and services.
Take AdventHealth; In the face of the onset of COVID-19 and growing demand for their services, the nonprofit healthcare provider needed a way to provide the same level of care and connection as their healthcare system in nobody. To do this, they set up a chatbot (named “Hope”) in just 24 hours to screen patients based on a series of questions recommended by the CDC before referring them to the appropriate nurse or practitioner for further screening. The bot expanded its call center footprint from 80 agents to more than 300 in a matter of days and guided users to additional disease information, the COVID hotline or the AdventHealth app for telehealth screening. Since its implementation, AdventHealth has hosted 250,000 chat sessions per month. The Hope chatbot dramatically improved the customer experience, reducing case close time by 67% and average processing time by 14%. The health care provider estimates an annual savings of about $ 1.2 million.
Repetitive tasks are the antithesis of creativity, reducing the time that employees can use their unique human superpowers of imagination and thinking. Automation, ironically enough, allows innovative companies to be more human. It allows people to be creative and curious, especially when combined with highly personalized information and recommendations from AI.
Automation helps a business predict in advance where to increase human engagement to solve customer problems. Take for example the example of a service chatbot. Automation knows when to transfer a conversation from the bot to a live agent who is then able to provide a more personalized and empathetic approach.. Not only are you optimizing business processes to deliver a new standard in customer experience, but you are also freeing up creative human resources to do more meaningful work.
The most progressive companies use AI and automation as competitive differentiators not only to retain customers, but also to attract new ones.
Innovators have an eye on the Customer Experience Gap: the gap between how a business works and how they view the evolution of their customers. In this divide there is both vulnerability and opportunity. And the pandemic has upped the ante on both, favoring those who acted quickly to bridge the gap.
However, this is not a one-time solution. The gap is constantly changing and innovators must continue to innovate, especially at a time when consumer loyalty is up for grabs. During the pandemic, 76% of consumers have experimented with new brands or how they buy, reports McKinsey.
Companies with a data culture are able to make decisions faster. The more data is at the heart of the business, the more AI must work with to help its human counterparts accelerate the insights that lead to personalization and creative engagement. It has the power to unite disparate business functions and optimize customer journeys. the Salesforce 2020 State of Marketing Report found, for example, that 63% of elite marketers share the same CRM with their sales and service departments.
Once you start applying automation and AI to customer data shared across multiple divisions, you not only get a 360-degree view of your customer, but you can also anticipate changing customer needs. This simple pivot gives you the opportunity to seek out new ways to generate value.
It’s not just about using technology to reinvent workflows and business models, it’s about propelling you to a future state of customer service (beyond support) and efficiency that doesn’t exist. today. Ninety percent of respondents in the Connected Client Status Report say that the way a business acts during a crisis demonstrates its reliability. And a little more than a third trust a company less due to its response in 2020.
True innovators are not only embracing technology to better serve their customers and support their employees in the short term, but they are taking a long-term view by embracing AI and automation as their core business strategy. They are ready to say: We were disturbed. These are the ways we have to think differently to move forward. Here’s how we invest in technology to deliver better results for our customers, employees, shareholders and the market at large.
This leaves us with the questions: What else can we do? Where else can we focus to emerge even stronger from this pandemic? Are we ready to handle a series of future scenarios? Answering these questions makes the business more innovative, unified, agile, and focused on improving the employee and customer experience.