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AI reality check for customer experience


CX practitioners and executives must bridge the perception gap around AI preparedness, AI impact, and current and future AI/CX initiatives.

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Companies are moving aggressively to enhance their customer experience (CX) with artificial intelligence (AI). Executives expect AI to bring about extensive change within their organizations, especially in customer engagement, which will have a significant impact on CX practitioners.

While most practitioners see AI as an opportunity, fewer say AI will force the wholesale change executives have predicted. Do CX practitioners have their heads in the sand? Or does their tactical focus afford them a more realistic view of what’s possible? Companies must strive to bridge this perception gap, or risk disconnects that can slow down—or derail—progress.

Within organizations looking to improve their CX with AI, it is the CX practitioners who sit at ground zero. These are the specialists who can rapidly adjust CX strategies based on AI-driven insights. They design how AI-powered experiences, such as chatbots, robots, and image recognition, will work with customers.

As the coveted “creatives” responsible for reinventing customer touchpoints with AI, how do they think AI will impact customer engagement and brand perception? Will AI require them to change how they do their jobs? Can they meet the high expectations that executive CX leaders have for AI-enhanced CX (AI/CX)?

A recent IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV) analysis revealed that serious perception gaps about AI/CX exist between CX practitioners and executives. Each group has valid reasons for seeing things as they do. But those organizations that lack a shared understanding of their CX capabilities can struggle to communicate their CX vision internally and risk adopting starry-eyed strategies that can lead to poor outcomes.

This report, part two of a two-part AI/CX series, identifies areas where there is agreement and divergence.¹ And it offers recommendations to help organizations align to an AI-enhanced creative strategy that is both realistic and revolutionary.

¹ Schwartz, Robert, Kelly Mooney, and Carolyn Heller Baird. “The AI-enhanced customer experience: A sea change for CX strategy, design and development.” IBM Institute for Business Value. March 2018. https://www.ibm.com/services/us/gbs/thoughtleadership/custexperience/ai-cx/


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Meet the Authors:

Billy Seabrook

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, Partner, Global Chief Creative Officer,
Carolyn Heller Baird

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, Global Research Leader for Customer Experience and Design, IBM Institute for Business Value

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