July 23rd, 2019
What’s the Big Deal About Artificial Intelligence?
There has been a lot of talk surrounding artificial intelligence (AI) recently. As this technology evolves, our industry will need to take a hard look at the pros and cons. In the meantime, one thing is certain: AI is only going to get more sophisticated and more intertwined with our lives. Many large companies are already investing in AI technology. For example, Microsoft just invested a billion dollars into the technology and Tesla built a business around it. AI is likely where the future of our industry lies, so we will need to thoroughly investigate these advancements to determine what opportunities they can offer, as well as what precautions it may be necessary to take as we navigate this new territory.
I remember when websites became the great equalizer for many small companies. Looking ahead, I foresee smaller companies again benefiting from AI. This technology is going to be the ‘new’ great equalizer.
Forbes recently offered various examples of how AI and customer experiences are coming together. One of the many examples they used was Ticketmaster and automated ticket bots purchasing large blocks of tickets for their ‘Verified Fans.’ By using this technology, Ticketmaster is able to increase its customer base and make it more active. They will be more likely to have the tickets you want. Why? Because things become more personalized with the data you key in, and Ticketmaster will leverage this data with AI to get you the tickets you want.
However, this technology does not come without risk. In my opinion, one of the biggest potential risks is the reality that the personal connection between yourself and your customer is going to be lost with advances in AI. We have to consider this, and other potential issues, and determine where it makes sense to use this new technology and where it does not. This is going to be the biggest challenge moving forward with these new technologies.
Finally, technology is a great lever for us to pull. We can serve customers better by leveraging artificial intelligence, but, in my opinion, it is important to understand that it doesn’t mean you can put the entire business in the hands of technology. Face-to-face communication, customer interaction – both good and bad – and on-site problem solving are things that AI simply isn’t able to do. All of those things are still vitally important to customers and will continue to be the great separators in our businesses.