Who do you consult on household issues? Relatives, friends, colleagues? These people are perhaps the first that come to mind, though if you think about it more seriously perhaps Google might be an option also. This is in fact where we ask most of our questions. The development of voice search systems and the introduction of artificial intelligence will affect the current situation even further.
It can be argued that Google can find cafés, buy tickets, and find out what’s on at the movies, though when it comes to more serious queries, we tend to look elsewhere. Despite this, recent studies show that many entrust their health to intelligent algorithms and chat bots, even as experts warn that the systems are not yet perfect and should not be trusted 100%. Doctors are of course more reliable. The very tendency that people are looking to programs for answers to their important questions however is telling.
Moreover, there has been a joke going around professional circles of western communications experts for a couple of years now that Siri, Google, and Alexa will soon become key opinion leaders. Of course, things are not so simple, but the changes that such systems bring are serious enough not to ignore. And it’s not for nothing I cite the example of communication specialists: marketing, advertising, and public relations are precisely the sectors that quickly react to changes, trying to find new channels for working with clients.
The process is already underway and is something that can be observed at the international level as well as here in Ukraine. Banks, mobile operators, air carriers, law firms, and many others continue to launch chat bots designed to optimise customer experience. Of course, creating a program is more profitable than supporting a huge call centre, but are chat bots really capable of fully replacing human specialists? The situation is not as critical as what it might be in the medical world for example, and as such, many companies are in a hurry to launch this type of product in order to further develop it. This is one path, but it is fraught with negative customer experiences. Ineffective chat bots, disruptive voice command recognition systems, intrusive contextual advertising – all this works exactly against what it should to help contribute.
New technologies promise companies advantages in two key areas: optimising resources and improving customer experience. But here it is important to keep both of these parameters in mind, because in the pursuit of the first one can lose the second (and vice versa). It is important to introduce new technologies, but to do it better, based on the results of research and system quality audits. It is this approach that will really turn voice assistants into brand ambassadors and give clients the right experience.
Technology is developing rapidly, and I often say that you need to hurry to stay in the game. But there is also a reverse process. It is important not to hurry – a false start can be even less productive, especially in competitive businesses where customer frustration is quickly converted into loss. However, it would be important to conduct more systematic work in the implementation of such systems. Including in the public services sector, thereby setting industry standards.