Seize the AI in 2024: 10 actions to upshift customer experience now

The midpoint of the year can feel like reaching a summit in the middle of your year-long journey. But rather than seeing the rest of the year as downhill from here, I view this milestone as a launch pad for your business to soar to new heights. This is the moment to take stock of your progress, recalibrate your trajectory and accelerate into the second half with strategies to exceed your CX goals.

The last 18 months have been some of the most transformative in customer service innovation. From technological advancements to shifting consumer behaviors, the first half of 2024 has been marked by even more significant changes and emerging patterns to give us valuable insights. Understanding how to stay ahead of the curve is crucial for navigating the rest of the year with confidence and strategic foresight.

One of my favorite sayings is “seize the day.” It’s a phrase that encourages people to make the most of the present moment and take action without delay, emphasizing the importance of making the best of the opportunities available now rather than waiting for the future. AI for CX is rapidly transforming our industry and delivering value now. Midyear is the time to take stock of progress and step up to “Seize the AI.”

Image of Barak Eilam, NICE CEO

CX needs a change of perspective

We just wrapped up Interactions 2024 where our NICE CEO Barak Eilam challenged our industry to change its perspective. What does that mean exactly?

It’s not a call to take a step back. Rather, it’s an opportunity to lean in and sharpen our focus on what really matters in light of current trends. He categorized three forces that are driving every initiative across your entire organization:

Grand refactoring

Grand refactoring showcases the real organization-wide impact of cloudification. A grand refactoring has prompted the re-writing of billions of lines of code natively in the cloud and prompted software players to rebuild their tech stack.

How do you know if your organization is in a position to benefit from both cloudification and the grand refactoring?

“When your innovation is on hyperdrive growing 10-fold every year, when new functional capabilities are added with a simple flick of button, and when your entire organization has completely eradicated the term ‘software version’ from its lexicon – you are there,” Eilam explained.

Grand convergence

Enter digital. Not only does digital transformation top every CIO’s agenda, it’s also forcing a complete blurring of clear-cut lines between software categories to eliminate fragmentation.

“The true sign of riding the grand convergence wave is when you master the art of leveraging the most complete and most connected platform, bringing together all your data, knowledge, channels and applications, treating it as one single converged entity,” Eilam said.

Grand fusion

People, processes and technology used to operate as three distinct entities before generative AI burst onto the scene. However, we’re in a new phase where they can be cohesive.

“In the spirit of changing our perspective, I believe AI has the potential for becoming that ultimate alchemist, stepping up to its role as a force of grand fusion—finally bringing people, processes and technology together in the most natural and effortless way,” Eilam said.

Let’s take our own lead on this. This is not the first moment in our collective CX industry history where we’ve adopted a change in perspective.

For example, the adoption of state-of-the-art smart omnichannel contact centers replaced limiting call routing, and we’ve circumvented inefficient on-premises infrastructures by moving to the cloud. Launching automation tools like conversational AI chatbots and making CRM and knowledge management systems more accessible are other top examples of how our industry has embraced change in monumental ways.

Two complementary forces: Automated intelligence and augmented intelligence

According to McKinsey & Company, “If 2023 was the year the world discovered generative AI (gen AI), 2024 is the year organizations truly began using—and deriving business value from—this new technology.”

Absolutely—the key is in the “business value” organizations can derive from generative AI with adoption trending in the right direction for true innovation.

The latest McKinsey Global Survey on AI found 65 percent of respondents report that their organizations are regularly using gen AI, nearly double the percentage from 10 months ago. Expectations for gen AI’s impact remain high, with three-quarters predicting the technology will lead to significant or disruptive change in their industries in the years ahead.

Image of Barry Cooper, president, NICE CX division

Barry Cooper, president, NICE CX division, addressed CX experts at Interactions 2024 about how the future of AI in CX features two complementary forces: automated intelligence and augmented intelligence.

Let’s break that down further to truly understand the dynamics at play.

Automated intelligence creates self-service experiences that exceed those of the very best human agents. “Imagine one of your consumers engaging with a virtual agent that understands their intent, remembers their preferences, and resolves their issue with a higher level of empathy and efficiency than your top performing employee,” Cooper said. “That’s the power of automated intelligence, a branch of AI focused on automating interactions.”

Augmented intelligence uses AI to supercharge your workforce. “It’s equipping your employees with AI-powered tools that provide real-time insight, suggest the next best actions and automate laborious tasks—allowing them to focus on high-value work,” Cooper said. “That's the essence of augmented intelligence—working smarter, faster, but not harder.”

Bridging the experience perception divide

When we meld the two forces together—automated intelligence and augmented intelligence—organizations experience an AI multiplier that powers an “experience continuum” where interactions flow seamlessly between virtual and human agents.

“Automated intelligence powers self-service while augmented intelligence enhances human support, working together in harmony,” Cooper said. “The result is effortless, personalized experiences that delight consumers and empower employees, blurring the lines between automated and human-assisted interactions.”

Enter CXone Mpower—which bridges the perception divide to make sure each customer experience is personalized and driven by the consumer’s entire history with your brand.

Organizations can deliver complete convergence with personalized, fluid experiences, bridging an experience divide between customers’ brand perception and internal reality.

It’s basically like giving every interaction a memory to build a 360-degree view of consumers by combining interaction data, metadata and analytics from the CX ecosystem.

Now that’s CX innovation to meet the moment, and exceed business goals in the second half of 2024.

Midyear 2024 trend: AI for CX is rapidly driving new business value

Our industry can no longer consider AI for CX a visionary concept. In 2024, organizations that grasp the reality that AI for CX is advancing quickly to adapt to the realities of customer expectations are in a better position to finish the year strong—and well ahead of their competitors.

It’s not too late to revise your 2024 action plan for enhanced customer service. Think of midyear as the half-way point to your ultimate CX goals and AI as the accelerator you need to get there.

Follow this midyear checklist to assess what you have accomplished and your next priorities. The following top 10 actions can be performed in tandem for a well-oiled customer service machine, powered by purpose-built AI for CX—with NICE helping to achieve new heights in your CX operations.

  1. Consolidate disparate systems and silos onto a complete cloud-native CX platform to enable scalability and orchestrate 100% of interactions.
  2. Prioritize implementing intelligent, AI-powered self-service capabilities to maximize customer convenience and containment.
  3. Innovate 10x faster by converging data, channels, applications, and knowledge all on the same platform.
  4. Augment your workforce by providing agents with an all-in-one desktop that incorporates AI guidance, knowledge, routing, and automation, boosting productivity by 4x
  5. Say goodbye to manual agent note-taking with auto-summarization that includes capturing intent, key actions, outcomes, and real-time sentiment on every interaction.
  6. Turn Knowledge Management into AI Management, so your virtual agent's answers are knowledge-backed and brand-aligned.
  7. Unify all CX data by breaking down silos into a single data layer to fuel AI/analytics capabilities.
  8. Automate interactions with conversational AI solutions trained on the optimal conversations of top performing agents.
  9. Adopt pre-built AI models from solutions like NICE Enlighten AI that are ready to drive CX improvements out-of-the-box, and increase ROI by as much as 350%
  10. Cultivate an AI-ready workforce to prepare employees and operations for infusing new AI capabilities.