AI is Disrupting CX, What Does That Mean for Me?
By Simon Kriss, Author of The AI Empowered Customer Experience
In 1979, a relatively unknown band, The Buggles, released their hit song “Video Killed The Radio Star”. Of late, I see many CX practitioners worrying that this song will become the anthem of an industry lost to artificial intelligence (AI).
WILL AI KILL THE CX STAR? I THINK NOT.
The advent of AI, especially generative AI, has placed the CX world on the very brink of a revolution unlike anything else we have ever seen before… Well, except for process automation… Oh, and the internet… And the PABX… Oh wait, we have been here before!
Now, let's dive into this fascinating fusion of tech and customer care.
I do not discount that a world where AI-driven chatbots handle routine inquiries and human agents tackle complex customer issues will result in some downsizing of that frontline workforce.
History though teaches us that technological advancements often pave the way for new job horizons. Remember when IBM word processors killed the typing pool? Remember when e-commerce sounded the death knell for retail shops? Remember when the steam engine meant farm owners no longer needed as many farmhands?
In all of these cases, the technology removed some roles and then created new roles: mechanics for the steam engines, digital marketers, web designers and analysts for the web stores, and programmers for the word processors.
AI in CX will follow the same pattern. AI won't just shuffle the deck; it'll deal entirely new hands.
NOW, FOR THE EXCITING PART: NEW JOB PROSPECTS.
Think about the potential for AI trainers and curators. Someone needs to teach the bots, right? These trainers will craft the perfect mix of guardrails, humanity, and efficiency. Then there's AI ethics leads – guardians who'll ensure AI-driven decisions are ethical and fair. And let’s not forget the conversational designers, the prompt engineers and the host of new integration teams needed to ‘feed the beast’ that is AI.
As AI generates a massive amount of new information (a phenomenon now being labelled ‘Databesity’) we will need humans to understand what is critical to the business and what is noise. This role will be complemented by teams constantly looking at new use cases for AI to help the business thrive in this new era.
My best advice? Lean in and lean in now! Start to read, learn, and understand where the opportunities lie in this disruptive force. To use a sporting analogy, the best defence is a good offence.
The same is true for your people, especially the front line. There are many workers who are truly fearful that AI will simply do away with their jobs. Remember, that fear thrives in a vacuum. While you are silent the rumours and fear will abound. Take the opportunity to help educate those you lead on the opportunities and impacts of AI in a balanced discussion that calms nerves and refocuses people.
Are you prepared enough to help yourself and others?
Simon Kriss is the Chief Innovation Officer for the CX Innovation Institute. He is the author of “The AI Empowered Customer Experience” and hosts a trio of podcasts on CX and innovation.