Influence of artificial intelligence on the customer experience

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Published on: Dec 15, 2016
Updated: Aug 18, 2022

Customer experiences are changing: technology is at the center

There are many options to focus on when it comes to customer experience. According to Geeta Wilson, Director of Customer Experience at Humana, the company first tries to figure out where it can make the biggest impact. This is helped by technology that automates to create a better experience for the customer, leading to stronger sales.

Humana Health Insurance distinguishes between assisted and unassisted customer interactions. Assisted service occurs when a person needs help answering a question or performing a task. This is typically done during a phone or chat conversation. Unassisted service is when a customer can get the answers they need without interacting with a customer service representative.

To simplify the process and help customers create a good experience according to their own needs, Humana is taking advantage of artificial intelligence. The new Ask Humana tool helps customers get answers by using an online tool similar to a live chat. Instead of talking to a human, however, they communicate with a machine that uses trends and prior knowledge to provide the right answers.

How do you construct an emotional connection?

One area where artificial intelligence has been deficient so far is in developing emotional attachments. Humana is working to build out a better emotional experience by mimicking the bond people have when they talk to a real customer service representative. There are still a number of challenges regarding artificial intelligence in the process. For example, ensuring that information is up to date and accurate, that contact leads to customer satisfaction, and that the program meets established success criteria.

Humana sets itself apart with its approach to improving the human experience through cutting-edge technology. In finding solutions, the company focuses on testing their hypotheses through rapid experimentation. Once a hypothesis is proven true, they continue to build on it. The company starts broad and then narrows down the problem more and more. It makes sure the team has a broad understanding of the problem and then conducts an experiment to test a solution to the problem. Because artificial intelligence is such an unfamiliar field, the company is in uncharted territory and works to state assumptions and let results speak.

To prove the technology, Humana relies on a variety of metrics, including a unique emotional evaluation score. Because customers make 70% of their decisions with an emotional response, Humana uses a CPS approach to measure emotion in an AI (artificial intelligence) interaction. The company thus found that proportional to the improvement in its emotional metrics, other success metrics such as overall satisfaction or call length also improve.

As technology continues to evolve, so must the customer experience. Geeta predicts that advanced machines will be able to quickly analyze data to enable improved automated processes and personalized interactions with customers. Artificial intelligence is just one way to do this, but it's probably the most important.

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