December 13, 2016

This was 2016: from Mobile to Artificial Intelligence first

A couple of years ago, most of the companies lived by the slogan ‘digital first’. By now, that slogan is replaced – or it should be – by a new one: ‘mobile first’. Why so? Because consumers are constantly on their mobile. They don't walk around in stores with computer, they use phones. Everywhere we go, our mobile is our first, and for some their only, screen in life. Half of the revenues of Zalando are coming from a mobile device. Almost half of the streaming of Netflix happens on a mobile device. If you're not thinking mobile first today, you are 5 years behind of the real world.

But when we look at the future, we see another evolution that’s just a few years ahead of us. Because in just a few years’ time, it won’t be the slogan ‘mobile first’ that will appear in every pitch, but it will be ‘artificial intelligence first’. In 2016, the biggest technology companies in the world: Google, Microsoft, Facebook and some others already made the switch towards AI first. For them it's not the future, it's today's reality. 

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AI First video

If you want to hear my thoughts on this topic, feel free to check out this video as well.

But what will this ‘artifical intelligence’ do with your business?

There are many fields where AI will play a big role, both in the back office and the front office. In this blog, I'd like to focus on the possibilities of AI in customer experience. Chances are high that the first real interesting applications of AI will be about creating a higher customer experience.

Just think about these three:

AI will automate customer service (both the front end AND the back end)
It will make sure you’re available 24/7;
It will constantly analyse data to personalize every individual experience.

 

If you don’t go along with this new way of work, you won’t jump over the bar anymore. Consumers will always pick the brand or company that is available whenever they want, wherever they want. And, not to forget: they will really start loving your brand once you start optimizing your offers on their personal preferences. Just think about Amazon or Netflix: once you purchase a product or watch a movie, you’ll get similar products or shows recommended. This way, your buyer experience will completely meet the expectations of every potential customer. This is calledl ‘algorithm based decision making’ – and it’s a game changer.

Not only in entertainment

And this goes so much further than purely shopping or entertainment. Amazon actually trained us in algorithm based decision making' in the last 20 years. So it's not a new thing, but it's getting mature. The impact on other fields of society will even be higher. When we look at healthcare, we see the same inclination: the more data we have considering our health, the more algorithms we receive that deliver predictions which could influence our decisions on our personal health.

An example: think about what happened a couple of years ago with Angelina Jolie. She discovered that she had an 87% chance of getting breast cancer, which made her take the decision to undergo pre-emptive surgery: an extreme example of algorithm based decision making about a very sensitive topic.

An extra layer

So, when your company isn’t jumping on this wagon, you’ll miss out on a lot of opportunities. Without AI it will becomes harder and harder to meet up with the expectations of customers. Artificial intelligence won’t take over the human aspect of costumer services, but it definitely will add a layer to it that will increase customer experience quite a bit. So, basically, it’s about time to start thinking about how your company will create strong customer relations in an AI first world.