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2020 Predictions - Lazy bots & failed voice AI

21st Nov 2019
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2019 is wrapping up and now is the time when we look ahead to 2020 to see what’s instore for the world of customer experience. At a first glance, it looks like lazy chatbots, data hacks and failed voice AI but there is much more to this than first meets the eye.

Prediction 1: The Year of the (Employee) Golden Rule

2020 is the year companies need to start applying the golden rule of business to both the customer and employee experience. When customer-facing employees are armed with the right tools they need to succeed and do their jobs effectively, it translates into a better experience for customers on the other side. This should be the year that companies invest in the employee experience with the same fervor as the customer experience to bring employee support out of the dark ages and leverage their best assets – their people – to deliver superior customer service.

Prediction 2: Security finally becomes a CX Priority

It’s time for CX leaders to stop looking at security as just an IT issue and make it a critical part of the overall customer experience purview in 2020. The consequences of data breaches directly impact customer loyalty, and given what’s at stake, CX leaders will need to be invested in finding a solution to curtail the fallout and salvage customer confidence and trust. Taking a customer-centric approach to security will require a delicate balance between providing access to information and systems that enable agents to provide a great customer experience while still safeguarding customer data.

Prediction 3: Tech Becomes Scapegoat for Bad Data Decisions

In 2020, we’ll see organisations continue to focus on their tech decisions while the real issue – the data feeding those decisions – skates by. According to Gartner research, organizations believe that that poor-quality data translates into an average of $15 million per year in losses, but the typical reaction is not to fix or better understand the data but to blame technology. These mistakes won’t be rectified until analytics gap is closed and we present data in an easily digestible “For Dummies” format. Until then, the refrain remains, “stop blaming the tech and look at the data, dummy!”

Prediction 4: Voice AI: Not Quite from Hype to Reality

The truth is that voice is far from where it needs to be before it’s a reliable AI-based engagement tool, and 2020 will not be the year we reach that destination. Even some of the most advanced AI-based voice solutions are only right for certain applications, struggle outside of controlled environments and must overcome a higher level, or perhaps deeper depth, uncanny valley factor that comes with speech-based human-machine interaction. Voice will get better, we will find the right applications to deploy it and we will get used to using it, but for 2020, it’s unready and narrow so don’t put all your eggs in that basket just yet.

Prediction 5: Saying “thank u, next” to single-purpose bots

2020 will be the year that single-purpose bots may find themselves on the chopping block. Bots will be increasingly reviewed based on their performance and common metrics – in the same way human agents are – and those that offer limited capabilities and can’t scale across different tasks and responsibilities will find their days numbered. Instead, intelligent, scalable and multifaceted bots will be ready to take their place as organisations look to further augment and compliment the agent experience.

Prediction 6: Knowledge bases emerge from the dark age

In 2020, knowledge bases will finally get their moment in the sun. For too long businesses have neglected these critical vectors of information relegating them to second-rate status. But with the help of AI they can build robust knowledge bases that are thoughtfully organised and offer a concise solution to each potential question. Content streams will become more optimised as intelligent search bars help to create better responses, bots flag recurring issues and provide faster answers and feedback systems identify where content gaps exist. 

Prediction 7: Personalized bots fail to go mainstream

Companies will continue to over index on creating the idealized “avatar assistant” when in reality this level of personalised and contextual AI assistant is just not scalable yet – even for Google. In their quest to create the next Duplex, businesses will overlook the opportunity to use more “mainstream” assistants like notification or FAQ assistants to remove a lot of friction that exists today in the customer experience. Given that most businesses have yet to even tap into, let alone master, a more basic level of AI assistant intelligence they may want to reconsider where they hedge their bets in 2020.

Prediction 8: Say Hello to the Post-App World

As mobile technology is evolving apps are losing their luster and becoming less of a channel for engagement. In 2020, a new standard for mobile native integration will emerge as brands opt instead to use platforms that already exist to create new digital experiences. In the post-app world, it’s all about understanding new interfaces, channels and user behaviors to reach customers where they are and make it easier for them to access the information and content that they need.

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