Since last summer, we’ve seen a boost in the availability of AI capabilities to the world, with the democratization of ChatGPT and generative AI models.
Today, powerful large language models (LLMs) are accessible to all, pushing the boundaries of natural language generation. This breakthrough in technology is a turning point, multiplying human efficiency and transforming customer experiences, while delivering substantial cost savings.
As businesses are urged to do more with less in challenging economic conditions, generative AI opens up new opportunities for growth. This continued growth is poised to be a game changer for businesses, transforming the way companies operate and serve their customers.
Conversational AI is ready to meet all-time-high buyer expectations
Conversations are changing: 73% of consumers believe AI can have a positive impact on their customer experience.
On their e-commerce journey, 53% of adults in the US are likely to abandon their online purchase if they can’t get a quick answer to their question. They expect instant responses at any time. Specifically, they expect resolution in (under two minutes for phone calls and less than one minute for messaging (source: BVA 2022).
As a striking 80% of customers admit they’ll switch brands after just one bad experience), brands have no choice but to deliver and meet those expectations to grow their business.
For the first time, it appears conversational AI is able to deliver on its promise to offer a high-quality user experience—and consumers are ready to adopt.
Generative AI will become a strategic competitive advantage for businesses
Facing the ongoing conversational AI revolution and ever-increasing CX expectations, brands have a great opportunity ahead.
By designing customer journeys that place conversation at the center of the experience, and leveraging AI technology to positively impact their consumer and employee experience, they can gain a competitive edge, while improving their cost-efficiency and profit margins.
When brands choose to undergo this digital transformation, the business outcomes can be huge.
By deploying differentiated conversational experiences to impact their customer journey at scale, from discovery to purchase and support, in a unified and consistent UX across all messaging channels, they create a positive and sustainable experience gap over their competitors.
There are limitations: Brands need trusted generative AI
Despite the huge potential of generative AI, it is crucial to acknowledge its limitations.
Brands need to overcome three major challenges to harness the potential of these technologies and make it truly operable and trusted for enterprise businesses:
1 – Customize It
Generative AI is generic and global in nature, being trained by huge amounts of common-knowledge data available across the internet. To be successful, brands would need to provide business-specific data, like processes & policies, products & services, legal constraints, etc.) to train the bot. Brands would also need to train the bot to communicate in a way that aligns with its core values, like tone of voice and ethical considerations.
Generative AI is also creative and tends to improvise when it doesn’t have the answer, which can lead to inaccurate communication or biased responses. Brands need to provide a safe, trustworthy experience to their customers which requires them to create and define AI policy controls and safeguards.
2 – Connect It
Generative AI is a powerful technology but is still relatively isolated, which is a mistake. Brands have the opportunity to connect it to their ecosystem in order to amplify the value by:
- Connecting it to their business and knowledge data
- Leveraging it consistently to positively impact both consumer and employee experiences
- Making it omnichannel, available on any messaging touchpoint their customers are using
- Empowering it to escalate to human-led interactions when necessary
3 – Control It
Finally, generative AI tends to be a black box for its end users, but brands need complete transparency and control.
A new generation of AI monitoring capabilities need to be developed to evaluate the impact of generative AI across various areas, like business outcomes, customer & employee experience, adherence to policy controls, and so forth.
These new analytics capabilities will enable brands to continuously optimize both the performance of their generative AI and the way they operate as an organization.
Conversational generative AI will revolutionize the buyer and agent experience
According to a study last summer by technology research and advisory firm Gartner Inc., only 1.6% of worldwide customer interactions were automated through the use of artificial intelligence. But by 2026, that figure will increase to 10% and continue growing sharply over the next several years, Gartner projects.
By making automated conversations smoother and more efficient, generative AI can revolutionize online commerce, allowing brands to serve customers in new, innovative ways.
This year, we’ll see an explosion of fully automated and high-quality conversational experiences in ecommerce.
Every online shopper will eventually get access to their personal AI CoPilot, providing instant and trustworthy answers to guide them from product discovery to purchase to post-sales support around the clock.
Alongside transforming online shopping experiences, we believe this exponential growth of conversational AI will profoundly reshape the role of human customer service agents.
AI will not compete with humans; it will complement them. Agents will gradually see their roles reshape into AI-augmented super experts, intervening in high-value conversations that require unique nuance and expertise or to establish strong emotional connection with the customer.
Humans will always play a critical role in helping control and continuously fine-tune AI models, interacting themselves with AI CoPilot assistants to gain efficiency and ensure a seamless, trustworthy consumer experience.
Join the generative AI and conversational revolution
The transformative impact of generative AI on the future of ecommerce and customer experience is indisputable.
We’re at an inflection point where generative AI will be a massive enabler to accelerate brands conversational digital transformation, combining the best of AI and Human intelligence.
By implementing generative AI, businesses will unlock the immense potential to address both consumer and brand pain points that consumers and brands have been facing for years while sustainably increasing revenue.
Mike de la Cruz and Florent Gosselin contributed to this report.
About the authors:
Sign up for a complimentary subscription to Digital Commerce 360 B2B News, published 4x/week, covering technology and business trends in the growing B2B ecommerce industry. Contact editor Paul Demery at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @pdemery.
Follow us on LinkedIn and be the first to know when new Digital Commerce 360 B2B News content is published.Favorite