CEOs Guide to Conversational AI

A CEOs Guide to Conversational AI

March 4, 2021

Technology can make or break an organization’s success. We’ve all heard of digital transformation success stories– companies that took the leap as early adopters of technology to improve their customer experience and profitability. Failure to embrace digital transformation and technology innovation is cited as one of the reasons why almost half of Fortune 500 companies have failed since 2000. A favorite example of a failure to evolve with the times is Blockbuster: a popular company that seemed to be on the brink of success, but was ousted by disruptive Netflix. 

The failures seem more pronounced, but there are just as many examples of companies that have embraced the digital age and reaped the benefits. Hasbro, the well known toy manufacturer famous for Monopoly, realized that they were focusing their marketing efforts on children rather than the parents who hold the purse strings. By investing in data transformation initiatives, they were able to use their data to change their business model and hit $5 billion in revenue for the first time in their 93 year history. Wegmans, among other grocery chains, quickly deployed an online grocery shopping portal for customers who weren’t comfortable shopping in-person during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of these examples seem like luck or good timing. But, what’s the common denominator for companies who make the right technology decisions? It’s CEOs that prioritize digital transformation in a customer centric way.

Since CEOs are in charge of every major corporate decision, they end up with a mile long checklist of projects that require business investment and budget. This can end up looking like a list of competing priorities, putting CEOs in an impossible place. How do CEOs balance profitability, deploying new innovation, increasing customer satisfaction, and improving their employee experience? Well, there’s a technology that supports all of these priorities and more. Conversational AI deployed to enhance the customer experience is the solution that CEOs are looking for. 

As brands are turning to digital investments to stay relevant, CEOs are placing Conversational AI at the center of their company’s transformation efforts.

A CEO’s role in using technology to improve CX

Conversational AI is paramount to the success of a CEO and their organization because it has the ability to revolutionize CX, provide a digital customer journey, and also improve the contact center agent’s experience. Embracing the positive change that’s possible with conversational takes orchestration and proper planning. Here are a few of the most important recommendations for CEOs when evaluating conversational AI solutions:

Bring IT and CX teams in as a strategic partners in your decision making

Traditionally, IT teams have spearheaded the evaluation of technologies on behalf of the entire organization. In the days of siloed, legacy technologies, IT teams being the sole decision-makers worked. However, the decision to deploy Conversational AI requires the buy-in and commitment from a number of cross functional stakeholders. They have to work in a collaborative nature across the business to ensure that the proper backend systems are used for integrations, preventing a clunky robotic experience for customers. Deploying Conversational AI should be a company-wide decision, with buy-in from the entire C-Suite. Most importantly, CX focused teams must work hand-in-hand with IT teams to ensure that the customer is at the center of decision making.

Understand the customer journey

Customer preferences have changed and COVID-19 has only amplified the need for digital engagement via self-service channels. The first step in understanding how to deploy Conversational AI is determining the digital journey a typical customer takes. CEOs should focus on how customers like to engage and what pain points exist in the process today. Having a cohesive strategy that allows customers to reach a brand when they want, through the channel that’s most convenient at any given time, with personalization and contextual information is the type of experience that customers crave. 

It’s a perfect harmony of optimizing your customer journey and embarking on digital transformation. It makes sense to redirect customers to existing digital assets that might be posted on websites, making use of prior digital investments. Having more channels does not automatically create a better customer experience. Understanding how customers want to interact with your brand, and what type of self-service options are most efficient, is far more essential than to a solid CX strategy that will ultimately drive increases in revenue. This is why a CEO should be thinking about Conversational AI. It has the ability to revolutionize CX, driving better customer retention and overall profitability while reducing operational expenses

Spend time learning about your agent’s pain points

Conversational AI has the potential to not just improve the customer experience, but also dramatically improve the agent experience. Contact center agents were once responsible for every interaction that a company had with their customers, but this is quickly changing as customers are more comfortable with self-service. Contact centers have a reputation for high turnover of agents because traditionally agents handle simple, repetitive tasks, such as resetting passwords or inputting customer information. This overhead has been a worry for leadership. Employee church isn’t just expense, it also gives a bad reputation to a brand. As companies are becoming more employee- centric, CEOs are working closely with HR organizations to create programs to increase employee tenure. Luckily, in the contact center space, Conversational AI can help.

Additionally, agents are often inundated with a long queue of upset customers after they had a failed attempt with automation. Having a technology that satisfies customers and removes any wait times is a win-win for both agents and customers. Contact center agents have a wealth of information because they are constantly hearing about customer pain points. Using their insight to streamline processes and automate is essential to the success and will eventually make agents feel more supported.

CEOs lead the Conversational AI charge

Starting any digital transformation initiative is no easy feat, and Conversational AI projects are no different. The strategic requirements and outcomes fall in the hands of CEOs because of how impactful Conversational AI is for an organization. CEOs are the perfect ambassador for modernizing a customer experience strategy for the benefit of an entire brand. 

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