Customers and firms want AI for different reasons
City: 

While Artificial Intelligence is increasingly being deployed by companies to ease their interactions with customers, a clear di-sconnect between the two entities in terms of AI preferences has come to fore. Customers in India are lo-oking for human-like qualities to be incorporated into Artificial Intelligence, while companies are more concerned about cost and return on investment.

As per a global survey done by Capgemini, 84 per cent of Indian respondents wanted human-like qualities for the AI applications. This includes AI having human-like voice, human-like intellect, human-like behaviour and personality, ability to understand human emotions and respond as well as ability to provide greater empathy.

They found that human-like qualities can generate significant goodwill and upside about the company and the brand. Alm-ost 85 per cent of the co-nsumers thought that they will have greater trust in and loyalty for the company if AI applications have human-like features.  They will be keener to use the applications. They will ha-ve a higher propensity to spend with the company, higher emotional engagement and affiliation.

However, they do not want the robots to look like human beings. At least 20 per cent of them felt that if robots having physical features of human beings were spooky. Indians were also the top among the respondents who wanted higher transparency while having AI-enabled interactions. They also want the reassurance of a human presence in such interactions.  Consumers found presence of a virtual assistant handy while searching for a product in a supermarket, but they do not want to talk to a robot while making a big investment.

However, while deploying AI applications, these consumer preferences are of very low importance for companies. The survey which also had top officials of companies as respondents, found that the nuances around customer preferences were lost on most organisations.

While 77 per cent of the customers wanted to know whether they were having interactions enabled by AI or by a human, only 32 per cent of the executives found that it was necessary. The disparity was highest in financial services, followed by consumer products and retail, automotive and utilities.

For companies, the top priority while deploying AI was data availability. Expected Return on Investment and cost on implementation were the other two factors that taken into consideration while AI designing.   Only 21 per cent of the executives found ‘impact on customer experience’ as a driving factor. Further, only 13 per cent saw solving consumer pain points and consumer preferences as important factors that made them go for AI applications.

Columnist: 
Sangeetha G.