Will 2109 be the year that organizations invest in humans because they face a potential AI customer backlash?

27 July 2019

AI will augment humans rather than replace them.

Will 2109 be the year that organizations invest in humans because they face a potential AI customer backlash?

While the expansion of robotic process automation has reduced headcount in the back office, it's a different story for customer service and sales.

In a Forrester report, 46 percent of organizations said sales and marketing are leading the investment in and adoption of AI, followed by customer support (40 percent).

AI investments are increasing and there will be a domino effect throughout sales, marketing, and customer support. This will have a direct impact on both employees and customers.

Here are a few key learnings from Forrester's 2019 services and sales predictions:

  • Customers will lead a community-based revolt against corporate chatbots. Human resistance against ineffective chatbots is on the way, and frustrated customers will crowdsource tips to work around and circument ineffective gatekeeper chatbots. A movement similar to the GetHuman movement from 2005 will begin.
  • The majority of chatbot deployments will provide poor escalation paths to agents. Chatbots aren't contact centre miracles that deliver lifelike responses that help customers avoid the dreaded IVR call tree -- many chatbots are just as bad.
  • With all hype about chatbots handling customer service, they're little more than the interactive voice-response systems that customers dread being trapped in.
  • 60 percent of chatbot deployments in 2019 will not have effective live-agent safety nets attached to the automated chat sessions.
  • AI-embedded sales technology will cause salespeople to falsify data regularly.
  • In 2020 sales managers will begin using AI to micromanage salespeople. In turn, salespeople will be incentivized to regularly falsify data to cover their tracks or game the system.

The Anticipated Customer Backlash

Artificial intelligence (AI) will face a public backlash, despite all the benefits it offers in everything from personalization to productivity. And that backlash could boost the already high levels of inequality.

Customers will make their voices heard with the rise of machines in workforce and customer touch-points.

Market Leaders will Augment Humans with AI Rather than Replace Them

While many organizations cling to the belief that AI, employees, and customers will work harmoniously together-- leading companies know that AI investments must also include parallel spending on education and consultants that understand the impacts of AI on their businesses and employees.

PwC estimated that AI will boost economic growth by about 10% and account for 5% of overall GDP by 2030. The PwC report estimates that about 80% of that growth will be because of improved personalization and a 20% increase in worker productivity.

The most successful companies that navigate the rise of customer service automation will provide a smart and seamless handoff to a real human being when the AI fails and delivers a frustrating customer experience.

The inevitable impact is that companies will have to continue to invest in humans that will work alongside automated AI-driven systems.

I believe that the most successful organizations will invest in both humans and AI in parallel to achieve the best customer experience. Forrester and PwC research supports this conclusion.




Kevin William Grant
Innovation Coach

Survival Tools, Techniques, and Strategies for Innovators and Entrepreneurs.

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