Much has been debated about Artificial Intelligence (AI), and its role in the future of our society. Whilst I may not be able to predict with accuracy whether our lives in the future will be controlled by algorithm-enabled robots with super-human capabilities, I can with certainty predict that Artificial Intelligence will enable meaningful impact in customer service and experience initiatives in the short term.
Over the past three decades we have seen the concept of Customer Relationship Management (CRM), evolve from basic contact management in the early 1980’s that sales people would have run within a sales process, to an all-encompassing process automation and improvement platform that caters for an ever increasing number of customer interaction channels across the entire customer value chain in your business. Whilst customers may have moved from these solutions being on-premise to a more modern cloud-based Software-as-a-Service (SAAS) offering, one thing that is consistent is the investment in ensuring we have a customer platform that can improve our overall customer understanding and experience.
Next Evolution of CRM
The promise of AI should not be seen as replacement of these CRM platforms, but rather the next evolution of improvement on these platforms. That’s why the industry giants in CRM, such as Microsoft, Siebel, SAP and Oracle are all making massive investments in ensuring their platforms are able to enable AI capabilities to replace the process automation and thinking that us humans have had to run. The investment into a CRM platform, has essentially laid all the proverbial groundwork for you to deliver AI into your customers. In fact should you be on a platform like Microsoft Dynamics CRM (recently re-named Microsoft Dynamics 365) the promise of AI becomes that much more real as these features are natively within the Microsoft Cloud Services platforms. The Microsoft AI platform, provides an open platform that is available to developers and allows them to use the Microsoft building blocks to improve the customer experience and lifecycle.
Enable CRM with Artificial Intelligence
By enabling your CRM platform with Microsoft AI capabilities, you can with absolute certainty, create an AI-enabled customer service experience where customers get immediate responses and accurate information across all times zones, twenty four hours, seven days a week. These customer interactions ultimately drive a deep learning that creates more insight to enable innovation on how you can better serve, market and extend your customer lifecycle. This can extend to advancing lead scoring, improving predictability around sales and customer engagement, deploying intelligent content or simply using chatbots and virtual assistants to further automate your process and improve the overarching customer experience.
Artificial intelligence within your CRM platform is just a start of how AI can bring about positive impact to your business (in the short-term), and with the investments and programmes Microsoft is making around their Cloud Services, you can look forward to massive gains that will enable your people to focus on more meaningful tasks that really do need humans.