Generative AI is on the mind of every business leader today, and with good reason. While the rewards for getting ahead of the pack are self-evident, the risks require further investigation. In this CEO.digital guest article, Agam Kohli, Odigo’s Director of CX Solutions Engineering discusses how these balanced risks and rewards intersect in customer service.
With predictions that AI could inject an astonishing £400 billion into the UK economy, every business leader should be both energised by and concerned with how AI will shape future commerce. And when it comes to customer experience, the advent of generative AI tools such as ChatGPT are causing a stir.
Customer contact centres are already harnessing the predictive capabilities of AI to anticipate customer needs and provide rich insights for customer agents. Generative AI takes this even further. As it evolves, even more innovative use cases are rising to the surface – its rapid adoption is startling.
However, while leaders should encourage innovation, they must carefully weigh the benefits of generative AI versus the possible risks. Here, we look at the implications of this new technology and the considerations leaders must make when exploring its potential.
Early adopters are reaping rewards, but be aware
Customer experience leaders were some of the early adopters of AI, harnessing new technologies to elevate customer interactions. For instance, AI-driven chatbots are already addressing routine inquiries, allowing human agents to focus on more intricate tasks. Impressive innovations in AI sentiment analysis have enabled companies to discern customer emotions and tailor responses accordingly, leading to more personalised and effective interactions.
However, next-level generative AI is overtaking traditional chatbot capabilities, generating human-like text responses with far greater accuracy and detail. Easily integrated with existing CRM systems, such tools streamline access to customer history and preferences, instantly delivering highly personalised customer communications. And, as the technology evolves, it is becoming even more sophisticated. ChatGPT 4.0 will take AI-powered customer interactions to new heights, further enhancing personalisation, accuracy and prediction.
It’s clear this technology holds enormous promise. However, deployment requires careful consideration. This is especially vital for industries with highly sensitive data flowing through their contact centres. As such, fully unlocking AI’s potential for customer service means investing the time, resources, and expertise to get it right.
Innovation versus regulation
Later this year, the UK will host the first AI regulation summit. This will kick-start an international effort to coordinate regulation. As AI technologies proliferate across borders and sectors, governments now recognise the urgent need to foster innovation while creating parameters that safeguard personal rights.
As the UK positions itself at the forefront of AI regulation, businesses should immediately engage in regulatory discussions. They should not wait for policies to be mandated or forge ahead without frameworks. For businesses dealing with personal data and sensitive information, the safe, secure use of generative AI must be a priority. Companies implementing new AI tools must ensure they work within a robust and encompassing AI framework.
For example, there have been numerous examples of bias in AI-developed tools, which exacerbate existing societal inequalities. Organisations must adopt rigorous testing and quality control mechanisms to ensure AI-generated content aligns with their brand values and ethics. Other risks include generative ‘hallucinations’ (false statements), not to mention cybersecurity, compliance, legal and intellectual property issues. Since some employees will already be experimenting with the latest generative AI technologies, creating such a framework should be a priority for leaders.
Generative AI in the workplace; don’t wait to educate
Organisations must also invest in education. For example, many contact agents will use tools based on AI and natural language processing and may see generative AI as a natural next step. However, there are massive differences between yesterday’s AI programs and today’s generative AI tools.
Employers should consider working with employees to design frameworks that answer the need for knowledge on the front line. When anyone can easily access online generative AI tools like ChatGPT, employees must understand the limitations of these tools. With a robust framework, employees can experiment within safe parameters. This is especially important when dealing with customer data. Being clear about generative AI’s potential and limitations allows employees to make informed decisions about its use (or not), promoting responsibility and compliance. It is also important to acknowledge the risk of over-reliance – generative AI should be promoted as a tool that augments the role of agents, not one that replaces them.
Proactive education ensures a culture of transparency and accountability, where employees are empowered to use appropriate safeguards and judgements. In fact, the need for human oversight should help quell fears employees have that generative AI will replace them. Remember, generative AI is not autonomous. It is not creative. It cannot innovate. It works alongside humans to enhance aspects of their work, not replace their very human talents.
Customer experience in a new regulatory landscape
The surge in interest around generative AI provides an unprecedented opportunity to reshape customer experience, not least within the contact centre. However, before organisations dive headlong, they must grapple with the inherent risks of this relatively unregulated technology. The evolving AI regulatory landscape remains a pivot point. The convergence of AI, customer service, and data security calls for calculated navigation.
The good news is that there are roadmaps to support safe, secure and compliant AI innovation. While we don’t know what future legislation will encompass, we know the issues it seeks to address. That provides the basis for organisations to harness the power of generative AI while maintaining a steadfast commitment to data security and ethical considerations.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Agam is an enthusiastic, dedicated and self-motivated senior leader with vast experience in pre-sales, solution architecture, solution design, consulting, service & delivery management, sales, and strategy. His key strengths include an analytical mind, excellent problem-solving skills, a strong work ethic and a logical approach while maintaining organisation and flexibility. This combined with his extensive client interaction and leadership experiences gives him the ability to lead projects from conception through to their successful completion.
Director of CX Solutions Engineering, UK & Ireland, Odigo