November is a time for giving thanks, and one thing that organizations should be grateful for is the impact of technology and artificial intelligence in helping them intelligently automate their business. The last few decades have seen AI progress significantly – yet this is just the beginning.
Here are three ways AI is currently making life much easier for companies across the globe.
Helps organizations be more customer obsessed
“Great customer service” is a phrase that’s been a priority for business owners since the onset of mass trading. But in a new digital age, it takes on a whole new meaning – and is way more complicated than how long you wait in line at the cash register or how helpful your server is. As transacting business online becomes the norm for customers, technology expectations continually rise. Indeed, recent research shows 81% of consumers expect more self-service options in the future. They don’t want to go to the bank to deposit a check, stand in line at the DMV for vehicle registration, or meet with an insurance broker to extend their coverage. Instead, they expect a seamless digital experience.
This is where AI has made a difference. Take the scenario of making an insurance claim. Gone are the days of the adjuster coming out to check the damage on your car and filling out endless forms about what happened, then waiting months for it to be dealt with. Most claims are now settled online. With specialist data capture technology comes the ability to upload photos and video to scan supporting information and allow intelligent automation to take care of it in a speedy manner, often without any human intervention. And the ability to connect with advanced vehicle inspection software to assess repair costs means the whole claim can be approved in days. In fact, simple claims – like replacing a broken windshield – can be resolved in a matter of hours.
There are also after-hours expectations. Recent research showed three out of four consumers prefer communicating with chatbots due to their 24/7 connectivity, with two-thirds saying they would rather solve issues on their own. These chatbots are getting smarter thanks to AI, which allows them to use sophisticated technology to retrieve data and cognitive skills to recognize documents and answer more complex questions, thus resolving customer inquiries within minutes.
From a customer profile perspective, AI is also helping organizations hit their target market in a more strategic and accurate manner. Algorithms that pick up key search words, assess browsing history or monitor shopping habits are enabling businesses to pinpoint potential buyers and reach their target market faster.
And perhaps one of the biggest impacts of AI improving business processes is with orders and payments. Many accounts payables departments, often first to be automated, are now seeing up to 97% straight through processing. It means invoices and bills are executed without any human intervention – eliminating many errors and saving time and money on tedious paperwork.
Helps prove people’s identity (despite the AI that fraudsters are using)
Cybercrime is never out of the news, with fraudsters getting smarter with their methods and scams – meaning the need for better AI to fight back. A recent survey showed 62% of banks are seeing higher fraud losses. The government itself is not immune, with billions lost through various pandemic relief programs — including Paycheck Protection Program loans, unemployment insurance and others. However, thanks to the secret service using artificial intelligence models, they were recently able to return $286 million of that stolen cash.
Identity theft is a common way for these scams to be orchestrated. Worryingly, someone becomes a victim of identity theft in the U.S. every 14 seconds and fraudulent images play a big part in pushing up cybercrime. More than 3.2 billion images are shared daily and hundreds of thousands of those are generated by AI — no wonder companies are struggling to tell if someone is who they say they are. It’s a huge problem, as organizations battle between strict security and offering a seamless service to tech-savvy customers who will abandon their application at the first sign of a multi-step and difficult process. This is the reason for many companies turning to artificial intelligence – with capabilities like real time biometrics being introduced.
Let me give you an example. If someone is applying for a loan, they may be asked for photo ID at onboarding, such as a driving license or passport. This can be scanned via an online desktop camera or the user’s phone camera. Fraudsters simply use a stolen ID to bypass this stage. However, with artificial intelligence providing real-time facial matching, this con can be halted. The ‘live’ photo of the person’s headshot will be biometrically matched with the one on the passport or driver license. The same high level of scrutiny can be undertaken to expertly examine documents, spot doctoring and check for authenticity– such as bank statements, proof of address, utility bills, and other forms of identity verification. Using AI, all of this can be done with one simple app – and no toggling between platforms to complete an application or enrollment.
This high level of service is a major priority for businesses when you consider not only the amount of fraud, but the soaring levels of drop out at onboarding. Abandonment rates have actually increased from 40% to 68% in 2022 compared to 2016, according to a study that blames stubbornly outdated identity verification processes for forcing customers away. It’s estimated that financial institutions in Europe lose more than 5 billion euros each year due to onboarding abandonment. The main reason? Most people say they drop offline because it’s too time consuming. We can thus be grateful that AI will allow proof of identity to combine ID reading, ID verification, facial matching, and liveness detection for a faster, better customer experience, while also reducing security risk and meeting compliance.
It helps get better business results faster
There’s no doubt that investment in AI improves business outcomes. In a recent Sapio survey, a huge 89% of IT decision makers said their digital transformation projects had been successful. More than half (51%) said introducing AI had resulted in growing revenue, 45% said it improved efficiency, and 33% said AI tech had increased their market share.
However, when it came to why a small amount of AI projects failed, the top reason was surprising – 42% blamed “vague goals,” while a further 7% admitted to automating the wrong technology. Companies may choose to automate a task that occurs the most frequently and ignore opportunities to transform tasks that occur with less frequency but offer better ROI.
The most successful intelligent automation projects are those that assessed current workflows before making any investments in change, resulting in better business results.
With deep discovery AI tools like process mining and task mining, organizations can take a data-driven approach to automation. It allows Center of Excellence leaders to know every aspect of their business workflow to see exactly how they operate – flagging problems like bottlenecks or time-consuming practices and highlighting where there is room to improve or where they’re making progress or shining. Every click of a keyboard can be examined, showing how individual employees may do things differently and revealing which route is the most effective. This again takes us back to improving customer experience – the better and more efficient the workflow, the better the customer experience.
For example, RSM, the fifth largest accounting firm in the U.S., used intelligent process automation to discover and enhance employee productivity, and to improve customer engagement. They were able to identify how work moves through their systems and uncover underlying challenges and barriers – thus setting goals to make upgrades and speed up the process. It saved millions of dollars.
It’s always important to remember that every part of the automation project will likely impact the customer. It could mean their queries are answered more accurately, replies made sooner, they are paid on time or receive delivery faster.
According to a recent study conducted by Oracle and Customer Bliss, 41% of consumers are willing to pay a 20% premium for a more “impressive customer experience.”
Most business leaders are finding it tricky to balance the competing interests of cutting costs and continuing to delight customers. However, customers are getting more tech savvy, especially post pandemic, and are expecting an Amazon-level experience with a “want it now” attitude.
It seems the only way businesses can satisfy this need for speed is to turn to AI.