Customer-Facing AI Use Cases Abound across Sales, Service, and Marketing
BY JIM SINAI
There’s no question that a smarter era powered by artificial intelligence (AI) is here. It seems everywhere you look, AI is in the spotlight. But there’s a general misconception that AI is limited to back office and other technical applications. While well-established and extremely valuable, back office tech is no longer the only AI opportunity, and customer-facing business units are chomping at the bit to apply it to their key functions, too.
What’s the AI opportunity for every business? See the highlights in this infographic, then scroll down to read the full post.
AI Comes Full Circle in Business Processes
A recent Harvard Business Review article states that AI will make the biggest impact internally, specifically in IT and finance/accounting. But AI (particularly in the back office sphere) isn’t new. Back office applications — like detecting credit card fraud by analyzing spending patterns — have been prevalent for years now.
The AI applications that are upending today’s customer expectations — and redefining how businesses cater to them — are more front-and-center than any entrenched back-office example. AI is in the UI of every new app, it’s active every time we open Facebook or Google, and it’s increasingly central to how ecommerce sites cultivate cross-sell opportunities. As AI-fueled experiences become more prevalent in the consumer-facing world, its value to every facet of business will be indispensable.
AI Use Cases Span Sales, Service, and Marketing
Front-office business units throughout the enterprise are investing in AI, and they’re doing so in innovative ways. Based on a survey of sales, service, and marketing leaders, the top three use cases for AI are:
Sales and marketing lead scoring
Customer service case routing
Among these strong contenders for AI are additional customer-facing use cases like sales opportunity scoring, email marketing, and other department-specific applications:
Sales uses AI to give advanced warning to reps on specific actions to move a lead down the funnel.
Service teams are continually applying AI-powered tools to customer interactions for more predictive and helpful experiences. In fact, high performing service teams are working to integrate AI into everything they do, as they believe it will have a lasting impact on their practices by 2020.
Marketing seems ahead of the curve in AI adoption, perhaps due to the fact that use cases like product recommendations and lead scoring aren’t new. About half of marketers say they currently use AI and another quarter plan to pilot it in the next two years.
But businesses have only begun to uncover AI’s potential. Overall, 79% of companies say they don’t extensively use it across the organization, as seen in this infographic. There’s an enormous opportunity for other business units to take a larger piece of the AI pie — but can they keep up with its fast-paced trajectory?
Despite their ambition, only 30% of business stakeholders say they’re completely confident in their ability to execute on a business strategy for AI. While they’re continually evaluating their opportunities, most are still hesitant of their readiness. Only 16% of sales, service, and marketing execs say they’ve completely defined their processes for embedding the outcomes of AI analysis into their business practices.
We know AI is more than just hype, so it’s not enough to just explore and evaluate at this point. AI will define the next set of businesses who will succeed or fail. Businesses who truly want to realize the value of AI must develop a strategy for how the technology will fit into their business processes and implement it to realize its tremendous impact.
Find out how AI is impacting customer relationships across sales, service, and marketing in our special report, “The AI Revolution.”