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How AI and digital transformation will drive the customer experience

How AI and digital transformation will drive the customer experience

Artificial Intelligence and digital transformation are two core pillars of the customer experience. Effective digital transformation will provide the business infrastructure and AI will drive the personalisation.

If we think of the games industry we can see how powerful AI is becoming in creating personalised experiences. The game industry, using platforms such as Unity 3D, is just now deploying powerful machine learning to create unique personalised experiences for every player. This will dramatically reshape the game experience and the industry and applications of games to as yet unknown problem-solving.

Today’s digital customer experience is frustrating

Until now, games had predetermined logic in the way they interacted with players, just like today’s customer experiences. This leads to frustrations. If we read the game reviews in the app store we see that some reviews have given low ratings because they reached the expert player level too quickly, and others because they were never able to get beyond the beginner levels.

Customer experience today is in that same state. We have small fragments of “good” – usually at the edge. This based on a fragment of data from a fragment of our interaction with the brand. For example, you’ve received an email, been to the site, and bought a product. You are then programmatically attacked in the same way as everyone else who has done the same thing.

While brands like Kogan and The Iconic have fantastic well-oiled machines in terms of their email marketing automation, in other respects their continuing “customer experience” is just wasteful and even annoying. If I have just bought a 65” TV I am unlikely to buy another one this week or next week or next month. Their email automation knows this but their remarketing does not.

Just like game players, today’s customer experience frustrates us, customers.

The data is coming – how to make sense of it requires AI

Today we are in our infancy of customer touch-points. Yet even today there are few organisations able to collect and harness data from these touch points. The average US customer, for instance, uses more than 14 devices, channels, and platforms, and they expect brands to meet them where they are. Few firms are developing experiences on new devices, channels, third-party platforms, chatbots, progressive web apps, instant apps, smartwatches, voice assistant speakers, or VR headsets. And that’s not to mention the internet of things and the collection of masses of time series data.

It is only through artificial intelligence that the mountains of future data will be able to be interpreted in order to deliver an enriched personalised customer experience. We’re talking here about massive scaling, and massive feedback loops leading to constant refining of predictions about how to create a natural organic feel to each individuals customer experience.

In fact, as games deliver this type of experience people’s expectations will flow over into their commercial digital interactions.

But most of today’s organisations are not game companies and are not aligned to deliver great customer experience.

Digital transformation will become the operating model

While “digital first” has been a manta, the reality is that most of today’s organisations are still based on an old functional model designed for “industrial efficiency”. And although these organisations have lots of data, the data tends to be transaction-centric.

The digital-first organisation aligns its capabilities around the delivery of great experiences, not only for customers but also for staff and for suppliers. This is complex. It requires rejigging the internal process, reporting lines, technology and the culture. This kind of transformation also embeds digital transformation the norm in the organisation – an ongoing process, not a project with an end date.

The rise of the Chief Product Officer

To do this well, organisations have been appointing Chief Product Officers (CPO). The CPO has the business, process and technology skills to identify and deliver coherent digital products which enhance the customer experience and deliver value to all stakeholders.

The CPO has many of the capabilities of the COO, the CIO, the CDO and the CMO and is more holistically digitally savvy than them all. While the CMO may have been capable of driving the edge “digital transformations” it would be a rare one who would have the deep process, product and digital capabilities to drive holistic digital transformation.

As digital transformation becomes part of the “way we do things around here” the CPO will proceed to decentralise it into a portfolio of efforts. This will require a business, process, technology, and cultural architecture through which the parts will coordinate and cooperate. Innovation will be part of that diffusion.

The organisational platform of digital transformation as a way of business, combined with artificial intelligence as the core technology for prediction and feedback, are two key foundations of the customer experience.

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