When It’s Smart to Play Dumb: Managing AI Recommendations

Craig Higdon | Originally published on www.pluscitizen.com

As machine learning and artificial intelligence evolve and begin to show interesting results, our clients are exploring how to apply the technology to their products and services. Their goal is simple: improve the customer experience while decreasing customer service costs.

But what does this even look like? With enough information about you, the customer, AI can lead to accurate recommendations. Or it can go a step further and take action on that information and clue you in later. So when should an AI-powered digital product check in before it does something, and when should it take matters into its own hands?

With Big Data Comes Big Opportunities

Our clients know more about their customers than ever before. With the rise of AI, it’s natural that they want to take advantage of this information to create more effective services for their customers. Digital experiences are ideal for delivering personalized services through dynamically adjusting content and personal information based on customer needs.

If a company knows what you want, should they provide you only with the options you care about and nothing else? Going a step further — if the company is so certain, why not simply act on your behalf, rather than provide options?

An AI-powered digital experience could have the data necessary — with an incredible level of confidence — to know what you’ll actually prefer. So why not be where your customer wants you to be and provide an experience that seems magical?

While working on an appointment scheduling feature for a client, we took a step back to think about this question, considering:

  • What fundamentals must this experience have to be successful, and what would its users want?
  • When does AI-powered personalization cross into “creepy, thinking machine” territory?

Based on this thinking, we developed two approaches: “Ask, Then Act” and “Act, Then Explain.”

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