How will AI and Machine Learning Impact the Customer Experience: A Checklist to Get Your Organisation Thinking

Hal 9000
By Tech Research Asia

Machine Learning and AI will impact your customers experience. How it does this will be informed by a matrix of factors. One of the most important will be how your organisation decides how it pursues these technologies. In our experience in advising enterprise and government CxOs across Asia Pacific, we've found the best first step - and sometimes the hardest - is to start a conversation. This means getting a diverse group of stakeholders into a conversation and asking questions that test your assumptions and allow for off-the-wall "what if?" scenarios. The below is offered as a means to start this conversation or re-start one you've already been having.

Engagement, Discovery and Strategy

  • Have you directly listened to what your customers’ goals and challenges are with your organisation?

  • Have you observed how they interact and transact with your organisation?

  • Do you have reliable data for understanding their experience and how it might be improved?

  • Have you forecasted how your customers will engage digitally with you in the next 6, 12 and 24 months?

  • Have you comprehensively explored the conversational interface and cognitive developments happening across the world today?

  • Have you spoken with peers about using these technologies and their outcomes?

  • Have you got ideas from outside your own role and immediate industry?

  • Have you spoken with your current and potential technology providers about how conversational interfaces and cognitive services might apply to your needs?

  • Have you considered holding your own ideation or innovation workshops with a diverse set of stakeholders to identify your core, adjacent and blue ocean opportunities with these technologies?

  • Have you established a digital experience strategy and tactics that incorporate these technologies or explain why they aren’t included?

  • Do you have an agreed on set of terminology that the organisation will use for when it collaborates on this strategy and pursues projects?

  • Have you established a list of priority projects to pursue?

  • Is this really customer focussed? How can you tell? What work went into understanding the customer?

  • Have you established trust and levels of engagement among all key stakeholders that will be involved in these projects?

  • Have you allocated appropriate funding?

  • Have you ensured responsibility and accountability mechanisms are in place and the right incentives are applied?

  • Have you conducted a privacy and security impact assessment?

  • Have you set up how you will measure success in 100 days, 6 months, and one year?

  • Will you allow and learn from failures?

The Technology + Data Underpinnings

  • What steps have you taken to discover and evaluate the service offerings for developing your ideas? Does this follow best practice but also allow for newer approaches to doing things?

  • What platforms will you deploy any chatbots or conversational interface agents on and why?

  • Have you considered using digital displays or robots in addition to online or app-based delivery of your conversational agents?

  • Have you considered what personality the service will have and how it reflects the brand?

  • Have you looked at language and how your conversational user interface uses it?

  • Do you have the right data, conversation and content to use in the project?

  • What legal or ethical issues do you need to consider?

  • Have you allocated enough time for training and testing your chatbot and cognitive service?

  • Is data management best practice maintained?

  • Do you have content and information available for your own services to reference and provide to customers?

  • Does your cognitive services provider have a robust set of APIs, a strong breadth of offerings, great technical documentation, and experience with helping businesses succeed in this area?

  • Do you have human support at the ready for when it is needed?

  • Is your customer marketing and experience platform optimised already and giving you the outcomes you seek?

  • How will you integrate your chatbots and cognitive services into your existing systems to ensure you have full visibility of operations, collect and use data appropriately, and ensure performance?

  • What BCDR plans do you have for the service?

  • Have you undertaken a “what if…” planning session in case things go wrong?

  • Have you planned for integration with the customer experience or marketing platform as well as the CRM?

  • Is security and privacy built in by design in the projects?

  • What skills do you need? Do you have them internally or will you need to access them via partners?

  • What are the technology principles? Is it adaptable and scalable? Can they get to market quickly?

  • Is the data environment optimised with a view to ongoing improvements as you capture more data and gain experience with conversational interfaces and cognitive services?

  • Have you factored in the fact all algorithms have a bias of one form or another and that these are what make up your cognitive service?

  • Do the cognitive services or AI you are using conform to the Asilomar AI Principles?

  • Do you have a strategy for dealing with the lifecycle of the services, such as for when you might decommission them?

  • What risk is posed by using start up providers for building your chatbots or cognitive services?

  • Do you have appropriate management mechanisms in place for the technology supplier performance?

Process and Practice

  • What processes or practices will be affected by the implementation of conversational agents and cognitive services?

  • Have you ensured any affected processes and practices have plans in place for dealing with both the negative and positive effects?

  • If you need to change processes or practices are you following the guide that you should always: a) observe and analyse first, b) improve and optimise, c) digitise and mobilise d) automate e) and then review and enhance?

  • If you are developing any software for the projects, how will you approach it - Agile, waterfall, combination? In-house develop? Outsource?

Culture and Ongoing Success

  • What culture needs to change in order to make the projects a success?

  • What change management is necessary?

  • What are the ways you are measuring success? Does this include soft and hard metrics?

  • Are you telling your story effectively to enhance digital brand awareness on the back of the projects?

  • How will you enhance performance in 12 or 24 months?