There has never been a better time to be a CIO. In today’s challenging macro-economic environment – with high inflation, constrained supply chains, talent shortages and hybrid work among other challenges – the technology strategy drives the business strategy. Hence, the role of the CIO is essential to every organisation’s success.
With companies facing multiple challenges in today’s economy, it’s crucial they uphold customer loyalty at a time when so many other uncertainties threaten business growth. CIOs will need to make the most of emerging technologies in the enterprise, such as artificial intelligence (AI), to maintain loyalty and enhance the customer journey – especially when consumer expectations remain high.
One focus area is utilising AI to enable account teams to make more informed decisions. Customer-facing staff have traditionally relied on past experiences and instincts to help manage expectations. However, connected AI models can make predictions to power decision-making capabilities internally, and these powerful insights deliver value for clients and employees alike. For instance, a ‘decision-assist’ approach uses AI to give staff recommendations on how to optimise each customer’s user experience.
Let’s say a business hires a new account executive in the sales team and they manage some of the key accounts. At any point in time, there are hundreds of actions they could perform on the customer to change the trajectory of the relationship. For example, they could fix an implementation issue, suggest tactics to increase product usage, encourage the client to take a training course, or fix a support issue.
An AI system will be the repository of things that happened in the past, things happening right now, and what could happen
in the future
By creating an AI system, a company can subsequently amass the customer’s marketing, sales, success, product, and support interactions with their business. These interactions are organised, connected and enriched in the sales system. Companies can then run various action scenarios for every customer to figure out the best actions to yield a better relationship. It learns from the past successful actions based on the results and prioritises it for the future. In this way, the system learns from the best and scales everyone to be the best.
An AI system will learn from real-time feedback on the recommendations and the actions taken towards each customer. It will be the repository of things that happened in the past, things happening right now, and what could happen in the future.
A growing number of companies are realising that AI can also help reduce customer churn, a significant risk for any business. Preventable churn is when a company can intervene when the risk is known in advance and issues can be avoided. By analysing why certain client relationships have broken down and contrasting that with successful customer journeys, businesses can better understand the reasons for churn.
These reasons include product usage, customer experience, feedback, engagement and training data. When a new customer exhibits these risk factors, an AI model can assign the churn a risk score, which is computed for all the clients. Those with the highest risk scores are then used for intervention actions based on the specific risk factors to mitigate the churn.
This complements ERP as every action a company takes to improve its customer experience is an investment. Many of these actions consume resources and must be planned accordingly. AI-driven actions are not only creating positive value for clients but also increasing loyalty and driving business revenue. This shows how important technology is to a company’s business strategy and proves there’s never been a better time to be a CIO.
Chris Bedi is chief digital information officer, ServiceNow