Ipsos is a customer of Business Reporter.
Personalization is the crux of the customer-centric promise, but with the explosion of GenAI, a paradox has been created.
Developing a brand’s image gives an organization a physical, relatable, and attractive presence – it makes it more human. With the increasing significance of technology, particularly machine learning and AI, in the world of marketing, top brands have effectively demonstrated their identity through customization. In fact, personalization is seen as a key aspect of providing a customer-centric experience, and brands that have embraced trying new things have excelled in terms of being relevant, timely, precise, and relatable in every interaction.
Currently, chief marketing officers are in a race to implement GenerativeAI (GenAI) into their customer-focused objectives. This technology shows great potential in addressing unmet needs in the customer experience. According to Ipsos research, although 68% of individuals have utilized a chatbot for customer service, 88% still prefer speaking to a human for assistance. This is because chatbots lack human-like qualities. GenAI has the potential to offer better automated experiences that mimic human interactions.
The ability to understand and connect with others is crucial for how a brand is perceived, particularly in delicate or emotionally charged scenarios. Some argue that artificial intelligence could potentially offer more consistent empathy than humans, but it remains to be seen when this will become a reality and if consumers will accept it as a genuine representation of a company’s values.
The challenge for marketers is to create a genuine artificial experience. In a new and uncertain realm, it is crucial to approach experimentation carefully and thoughtfully. Ipsos’ FAST framework provides guidance for experimentation, focusing on fairness, accountability, security, and transparency. However, in addition to responsible experimentation, leaders must also anchor their AI strategy in the company’s core values and reignite the customer-centric mission. As we enter the era of GenAI, every organization faces the risk of a brand identity crisis, with potential winners and devastating losers.
The focus is not only on determining effectiveness and whether customers or employees are using it, but also on the impact it has on cost savings. Achieving success and ROI with GenAI involves considering what is appropriate in the short and long term. Brands that have embraced ESG commitments have a moral responsibility in how they utilize GenAI. This elevates the importance of being an empathetic leader to a new level of significance, with greater implications and potential risks involved.
The foundation of experience design is comprehending individuals.
GenAI is creating opportunities for brands to rethink how they interact with customers. But fundamentally, designing and delivering experiences successfully requires a deep understanding of people. This means understanding and shaping expectations by acting with empathy and accounting for the context in which customers operate.
Experience is more than a delivery process. It is an opportunity to express and demonstrate the purpose of a brand and connect with customers authentically. Every customer experience moment or interaction, physical, digital or in-between, is an opportunity to deliver on the brand promise to forge stronger relationships.
There are fundamental guidelines for achieving success in experience design and delivery that are applicable to both human and digital interactions, including those influenced by AI.
• Fulfilling expectations through shaping experiences: The brand’s promise is closely linked to the level of experience it offers. It is essential to communicate the brand’s values and prove that its commitments are based on tangible outcomes.
• Incorporating context for optimal experiences: Each moment holds a different value and must be crafted to align with a customer’s goal during their interaction with a brand.
• Placing empathy as the focal point of designing and delivering experiences: This involves recognizing the desires of customers and empathizing with their actions in order to act in their best interests. Utilizing the Forces of Customer Experience to gain a deeper understanding of individuals (both customers and employees) results in experiences that fulfill functional, relational, and emotional needs, ultimately fostering strong and mutually beneficial relationships.
Towards the future of experience
We can find hope in the lessons we have learned from the past. It is important to remember that machine learning and AI are not perfect from the start – we still encounter irrelevant suggestions in various industries, and many customer service representatives do not have the necessary information to provide exceptional experiences every time. While it is unrealistic to expect GenAI to immediately bridge these gaps, there will be progress. However, this advancement is more complex than any previous business development. In addition to prioritizing customer satisfaction and adhering to brand values, it is essential to also protect the brand’s identity, lead with empathy, and carefully experiment. A significant shift in organizational culture is needed for this to be successful. Many companies have yet to fully embrace a mindset of trial and error and the ability to quickly move on from failures. To effectively steer towards a customer-centric future, GenAI needs to fail fast in order to succeed.
In order to thrive in today’s evolving landscape, companies must utilize data effectively to keep up with shifting customer demands. Advanced planning tools can forecast and impact customer results, guiding organizations towards achieving greater success in customer interactions.
The core of human experience, encompassing the past, present, and future, involves a crucial necessity for brands to comprehend individuals and their impact on their existence. Through connecting with customers and employees on an emotional level, brands can establish powerful, significant, and mutually beneficial connections that result in positive business results.
Stephanie Bannos-Ryback has a wealth of knowledge in CX consulting and as a program owner in large-scale organizations, giving her a strong grasp on the significance of attributing value and results to CX initiatives. Her strategy for enhancing customer experiences is grounded in data, guided by insights, and practical. She takes great pleasure in assisting clients in meeting stakeholder expectations and is dedicated to the evolving role of data in informing CX insights and actions.
Jean-Francois Damais is a knowledgeable professional in the field of customer experience and research. He assists brands in various industries and regions in building strong relationships and achieving positive business results. Jean-Francois has played a key role in creating and implementing several cutting-edge solutions for CX, written multiple papers, and frequently presents at conferences. He oversees a team of experts who specialize in analyzing both organized and unorganized data.
To learn more about the obstacles and prospects brought by AI, and Ipsos’ overall perspective on the current status of Customer Experience and Employee Experience, tune in to our Global Voices of Experience Webinar in 2023.