I've spent the best part of my life designing systems to eliminate humans. We designed systems to automate a process, be it online or offline. We've spent the price of a modest London apartment, testing the experience ensuring our measure of speed and revenue are aligned.
New AI technologies are changing customer experiences. Companies want to get on the bandwagon and do something that uses AI, but few question the relevance or ask the right questions. Low hanging fruit seems to be to install a chatbot, with the view to answering a few simple questions and dealing with basic task. "whats the weather today, Alexa", type of operations have little business value, although somewhat novel.
Companies however do need to consider a much larger context before trying to make incremental improvements with AI.
"The Lightbulb was not an incremental improvement of the candle"
The elephant in the room is telling me we should scrap the whole experience and start again, with AI being at the centre.
This is not a simple task of Exploiting an exiting experience and bolting on to it.
Exploration is what is needed, where we should try and eliminate the traditional approaches of using complex UI, User flows, and personas in favour of a new kind of experience based on Cognitive interfaces , Machine learning and Neural networks.
Today I had a great call from my heath insurance company, asking me if I wanted a continuation of my healthcare policy. In fact they had already triggered an automated process which sent me a letter, reminding me that my policy was about to lapse. I foolishly tried the web site, which referred me to the 0845 number and quoted me a fast track code, my expectation was 5 mins which I had before I jump on my next call, a quick closure, "Heath Insurance Done".
Fast track, however lost me 30 mins of life, talking to administrator who asked me a dozen mundane questions about my health. These dozen questions her organisation already had more details on from previous claims and the initial policy. Didn't you just pay my 'Physio Bills", you know my ailments, whats with all the questions I asked !
"Sorry sir this won't take long" ... She then went on to supply me with then most complex decision tree off choices, hospital coverage and medical conditions to be covered, excess policy, exclusions etc. Multiple this by each member of my family and I simply lost the will to live.
As you can imagine, they didn't get my business, I suspect along with the other 98% of callers.
The business models for this kind of 'Low Touch ' experience needs to fundamentally change.
AI is now starting to drive new experiences, which scarily enough, can predict how long i'm going to live, what I can afford to spend on healthcare, and the probability of me staying loyal to my current insurance provider.
Burying a chat bot somewhere onto the site, when we are in an era of solving complex challenges like the autonomous cars, or cancer detection, tells me we need to solve these CX issues, with a fresh new approach, with a sense of urgency, before the likes of Uber takes over.
Customer experience is important, but if we keep bolting onto it old processes, traditional UI's, we're simply failing to delight, and we should expect to fail.