Richard Billington, Chief Technical Officer at Netcall, explores the changes that AI has brought to the business world,.
From the recommendations we receive on Amazon or Netflix to the AI-driven camera software used to improve the photos we take on our smartphones, AI forms parts of the popular services that are used multiple times a day. Even the map and Satnav applications we use rely on AI. Company chatbots are a more well-known use of AI, and can now be found on nearly every company website you visit. In fact, it’s been predicted that 80% of companies will be using chatbots this year.
However, consumers today are getting ever harder to please. The growing ramifications of the ‘Amazon Effect’ means that today’s customers expect instant gratification when liaising with companies – placing more pressure on business leaders to provide more, faster and better. Digital banks such as Monzo and Starling are continuing to build upon these expectations by enabling customers to open accounts in a matter of minutes. And that’s not all: companies are now under pressure to offer 24/7 customer service through a multitude of communications channels, including Twitter, Facebook messenger and other social media.
Furthermore, as millions of individuals are quarantined and isolated amid the current COVID-19 outbreak, never has there been more pressure on customer service teams to facilitate rapid and seamless responses to enquiries on a broad range of issues. In a time of crisis, a customer’s interaction with an organisation can leave a lasting impression, and potentially impact future trust and loyalty – another headache for CEOs, CIOs and CTOs.
Digital banks such as Monzo and Starling are continuing to build upon these expectations by enabling customers to open accounts in a matter of minutes.
AI-enabled systems are increasingly being viewed as the perfect solution for optimising customer service – as it’s extremely beneficial in allowing companies to provide agents that are ‘always on’, as well as hyper-tailored experiences for customers. However, some businesses are yet to harness these technologies – along with their benefits.
The barrier businesses must overcome
For many business leaders, a lack of the right skills in the right place has hampered their ability to implement AI across their company’s customer service function. According to an IBM institute of Business Value study, 120 million workers in the world’s twelve largest economies will need to retrain as a result of AI and intelligent automation.
Other business leaders may face budgetary constraints and can find themselves put off by the significant investment often required when integrating AI systems in their existing IT infrastructure. Misunderstanding surrounding AI can also mean that some CEOs are understandably concerned that the solution they are putting into place may end up being not quite right for their needs. Therefore, concerns over wasted time, money, and other resources often result in a rejection of adopting new technology. However, these concerns will be outweighed by the repercussion stemming from an inability to unlock the true value of this technology – and potentially fall behind in today’s fast-paced market.
Unlocking the benefits of AI
Smaller businesses tend to fall short of the IT foundation and personnel needed to remain up to date with the latest technological advancements in enhancing customer service. But it will ultimately be these investments that enable business leaders to contend with customer demands and flourish in an ever-evolving landscape. Adopting these low-code solutions will enable resource-poor teams to quickly test specific features or workflows without the need for specialised technical skill – enabling employees to innovate and implement significant change, without relying heavily on the IT department.
Low-code is helping companies surpass shortages within multiple digital skills, including AI, by removing the need for highly-trained developers who have traditionally been relied upon to bring new applications to the forefront. In fact, in a recent analyst report, Forrester predicts that savvy application design & development (AD&D) leaders will no longer try and reinvent the wheel and instead will now source algorithms and insight from their platform vendor or its ecosystem. Implementation consultants will now be able to differentiate themselves using AI-driven templates, add-ons and accelerators – particularly industry-specific ones.
With low-code software solutions, everyday business users are able to ensure automated and AI-driven solutions are up and running quickly and easily. Due to the lack of complex coding, the process of integrating AI is instantly simplified, and easily accessible by a range of workers across a variety of business sectors, regardless of size. The ability to test applications before implementation ensures business leaders are able to explore the capabilities of AI without investing valuable time and effort. As a result, they will be empowered to unlock a wave of new possibilities for AI development across a range of functions.
By breaking down walls between IT and other departments within organisations, low-code technology can be utilised to help bring teams together to work collaboratively on applications that rapidly improve processes, by harnessing the knowledge of customer facing wider-business teams. And as COVID-19 continues to cause ramifications for businesses across the globe, business leaders must respond with agility to keep up with increasingly complex customer demands. Speed of implementation and the technology that can help organisations get there is therefore essential when it comes to staying afloat and competitive. And, where many workforces are currently struggling from unprecedented circumstances, the adoption of AI processes through low-code applications can help minimise workloads and free up workers– enabling them to focus on more strategic tasks within the organisation, by automating some of the more mundane processes.