AI is moving B2B tech from consumerization to humanization
You make a call to a telecom operator over a billing-related query. Or you log on to a shopping site to check the status of your shipment. You are likely to be instantly greeted by an automated voice that will guide you, while a friendly chat box pops up on the shopping site to provide instant solutions.
There’s nothing new about this; we’ve been hearing automated voice responses and seeing chatbots on websites and apps for quite some time now.
So, what’s the difference?
If the automated message on your screen was once “Error 856. Wrong Input,” it has now evolved to something relatable, conversational, and polite, like, “I’m sorry. Could you please repeat your issue?”
AI technology is getting groomed, suiting up, and presenting itself with the best, most human foot forward. Technology is becoming increasingly human — and here’s why.
Consumerization of technology: a revolution in customer experience
Gone are the days when B2B software was clunky, frustrating and hard to use. Competition in the B2B space and the demand for instant solutions and quick fixes paved the way for the consumerization of B2B technology — bringing it close on the heels of B2C innovations.
The impact of this has been so rapid and distinct that the lines have blurred between business and personal technology. Today, tech innovation in the B2B industry is driven by the determination to give every customer the best possible customer experience — delivering “wow” moments.
Customer expectations have changed: People now want to have their problems solved, but they’re not interested in being aware of the tech involved in the solution. They don’t want an overload of potentially irrelevant information tailored for the masses. They want personalized, intuitive, and accessible solutions for their needs.
This has naturally led to an increased emphasis on AI.
AI meets three critical needs in the customer service landscape today: personalization, contextual intelligence, and immediate responses.
Today, AI has become a mainstay in the B2B industry — much like in the B2C space — and is bringing disruption like never before. Business software is addressing changing customer expectations by becoming seamlessly integrated with human customer service — so much so that the technology appears human in behavior.
Humanization and AI: The merger
Humanization is the next logical step toward a better user experience, and AI is rightly riding this wave, with solutions becoming increasingly like human interactions.
What does the future look like?
The ideal customer experience will seamlessly combine the ingenuity of AI along with the empathy of human engagement. This is the Holy Grail that customer experience and product team engineers are working toward.
For our part at Freshworks, we recently launched a friendly canine partner, Freddy — our conversational AI omnibot. Freddy learns from the Freshworks records of customer interactions across marketing, sales, and support, and automatically replies to common queries in email, chat, voice-calls, and even social media with the appropriate content. This enables sales and support teams to focus on more complex, high-value inquiries.
Being a SaaS firm, we are increasingly looking to understand and serve not only the immediate and direct customers of our products, but also the end-user of each business that engages with our software. Today, our lens has expanded to include the needs of the direct customer as well as the impact it has on the customer’s customer.
And omnibots like Freddy, are possibly still only the beginning.
The future of AI: What’s to come?
AI is making life easier for us and our customers, with its gamut of features such as enhanced security, predictive analytics, automation, assistance in deploying code, and more.
However, the innovations to look for are the advances in chatbots, voice recognition, and natural language processing in AI, which are gaining momentum due to the increased need for technology to be more human.
AI is here to stay, but this does not mean that humans are replaceable. It merely means that an integration is underway. And when this integration becomes seamless, technology will become closer to becoming a part of our identity.
We’ll welcome that with open arms.