Undoubtedly, artificial intelligence (AI) is no longer fictitious, it has rather transformed itself into a reality. It has now become a necessity for all aspects of our lives, be it personal or professional.
The increasing demand of engaging with customers seamlessly is pushing businesses to aggressively look at managing customer relationships in a more convenient way. And, thus, AI has slowly crawled into the field of customer relationship management (CRM). The purpose is to make the machines learn the way a human employee works, and provide useful insights for the business.
According to analysts, businesses in India are now moving away from old CRM structures to advanced AI-driven systems. Businesses have started considering CRM as not only a database of clients but also a tool which is capable of analyzing data from different channels and reflecting them into meaningful insights that can help business stakeholders in decision making.
Gartner projects that by 2020, more than 85 percent of customer interactions will be managed without a human. Reports also state that the worldwide customer relationship management software totaled USD 26.3 billion in 2016, which is up 12.3 percent from USD 23.4 billion in the previous year. This indicates that AI is moving from being a luxurious IT commodity to a must-have for every business.
The industry stalwarts Salesforce, Microsoft, SAP, Oracle, and Adobe, who have a combined market share of about 50 percent, are aggressively investing in AI-based technologies and talent.
It is also having a strong impact on the startup community. Ajay Chauhan, co-founder and CEO of SalezShark believes that the arrival of AI, which is underpinned by advanced algorithms, superior computing power, and cost-effective data storage capabilities, is making platforms and applications smarter by self-learning, adapting and evolving their capabilities based on the insights from interactions and data.
“The application of AI in CRM is just a tip of the iceberg. As AI technology strengthens, CRM, which is ripe for disruption is going to be the biggest beneficiary of being a system of records to an incredibly insightful and intelligent tool helping organizations become more efficient and productive,” says Chauhan.
AI has definitely come in as a blessing in the customer services relationship space, which will play a significant role in providing right services to the right customer at right time.
Happiest Minds’ mCaaS solution is another tool that has been designed to not only answer questions but predicts what the user might possibly want and prompts corrective solutions. This kind of a digital query assistant driven by AI can service six queries simultaneously, which is humanly impossible.
This tool has reduced the call resolution time with relevant and self-assembling knowledge by 40 percent, and increased volumes of calls per minute by 60 percent, thus leading to higher revenues for the company.
According to Gopalakrishna Bylahalli, senior VP and CTO, Digital Transformation and Enterprise Solutions at Happiest Minds, AI is acting like a catalyst and a game changer in the customer service relationship domain and is enabling data driven and cognitively-enabled strategy and decision making.
“Most of the Indian e-commerce players are transforming their customer brand engagement by leveraging personalized recommendation engine with machine learning capabilities,” Bylahalli says.
Explaining further he adds, “Leading hospitals are also adopting AI for specialized treatment of patients. Also, many banks in India have adopted various AI techniques to understand their customers better and provide personalized services.”
A Mumbai-based business process service provider, Intelenet Global Services has also recently launched an in-house developed workflow tool—iSafe, which is aimed specifically at the travel and hospitality industry. It enables users to interact across five different global distribution systems, thereby reducing operational costs and enhancing customer experience.
Prabhu Srinivasan, chief strategy officer at Intelenet Global Services said in a release that the company believes in investing and developing innovative tools that can help their clients to accrue benefits of seamless integration and real-time reporting.
He said, iSafe is one such tool, which is a strategic addition to their capabilities, making it a business game changer in the BPO market.
Furthermore, another business management software provider, Pegasystems, has also added AI and robotic automation capabilities in its CRM offerings to help customers optimize their sales and effectiveness with desktop analytics and machine learning.
Don Schuerman, CTO and vice president of product marketing at Pegasystems believes that the margin between business success and failure can be razor thin, sometimes turning on the smallest detail that makes the biggest difference.
“By analyzing workforce behavior on the desktop, businesses can uncover hidden inefficiencies that have quietly impacted team productivity, customer experience, and bottom line results,” says Schuerman in a company release.
Suman Reddy Eadunuri, managing director at Pegasystems, India also believes that pragmatic use of AI can be employed by their customers to deliver real benefits to how they interact with customers, rather than succumbing to the hype.
He says, “AI with its multiple facets will help businesses achieve real, tangible results and optimal customer engagement.”
To sum it up, AI will be a revolution in the innovation space driven by advances in computing power. And it will be more disruptive and powerful than any previous shift in technology, agreed leaders.