The Future of CX: Harnessing AI Without Losing the Human Touch Feat. Mike Kaput

Naveen Mahadevan

May 20, 20248 min read

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Generative AI has transformed how brands do business and interact with their customers virtually overnight, ushering in a new era of customer experience (CX).   

On our latest episode of CX-WISE, Mike Kaput, chief content officer at Marketing AI Institute, gives a complete rundown on how AI is redefining CX today and what lies ahead. The rapid rise and widespread adoption of GenAI is poised to reshape customer journeys, improve personalization and drive operational efficiency. But with these radical changes, the challenge for marketers is maintaining relevance while preserving a human touch that builds lasting relationships. 

In this blog, we’re going to discuss how AI is reshaping CX and what that means for brands. We'll be sharing Mike’s incisive insights on how innovative brands are already leveraging AI to empower their teams and what marketers can do to stay relevant as the use of AI becomes more mainstream and widespread.  

Table of Contents

How AI is redefining customer experience today and its implications 

We’re well aware that AI is already making a significant impact on marketing, particularly in enhancing customer experience (CX). With "intelligence on demand," AI unlocks new strategies and tools that were previously impossible or required extensive manual effort. It empowers brands to save time and energy, allowing them to focus more on creating meaningful customer interactions. Advanced chatbots exemplify this transformation, as recent AI models have vastly improved their ability to converse naturally, engaging customers until human agents are needed. 

AI's personalization capabilities are also profound. It enables brands to tailor their content, campaigns and messaging to resonate with individual customers. By leveraging extensive customer data in combination with generative AI, businesses gain deeper insights into customer needs, creating more efficient and effective experiences at scale. 

Yet, a balance must be struck between fully autonomous AI agents and those that require human intervention.

Balancing automation and human touch 

While autonomous systems can significantly impact customer service, the transition to AI-driven interactions requires a careful approach. As Mike mentions, striking the right balance between automation and human involvement is crucial.  

An example of where this balance faltered is when one of North America’s leading airline used a GPT-4-based chatbot to assist a customer who inquired about the company’s bereavement policies. The chatbot confidently provided incorrect information, leading to a frustrated customer. When the airline shunned responsibility, citing the chatbot's autonomy, it showed a lack of understanding that AI should enhance, not replace, the human touch. This incident illustrates that autonomous AI systems, while capable of enhancing efficiency, require vigilant oversight. Blindly relying on AI can erode trust if customers receive misleading or inappropriate responses. 

Brands should focus on using intelligent chatbots and other AI tools to augment human agents rather than fully automate customer interactions. For instance, Sprinklr Digital Twin – a new AI technology that goes far beyond traditional conversational AI chatbots – is designed to enable companies to build and deploy autonomous and intelligent AI applications that can mirror and enhance the capabilities of customer-facing teams. This approach ensures seamless, accurate assistance while maintaining the empathy and accountability that are vital to an exceptional customer experience.

Staying relevant as marketers in the age of AI 

Earlier this year, Sam Altman predicted that AI will handle 95% of agency and creative work instantly and at no cost. The prediction understandably made marketers nervous about their future job prospects. What if AI could usurp their jobs? Despite the potential downsides, Mike assures us that there are significant opportunities for marketers who can adapt.

The key is to reimagine the future of one's marketing role by leveraging the "superpowers" that AI brings. While AI may take over many repetitive and data-driven tasks, it also allows marketers to focus on strategy, creativity and relationship-building, areas where the human touch is still vital. Thus, by embracing AI as an empowering tool, marketers can reinvent their roles while maintaining relevance in an evolving industry.  

In case you didn’t know, Mike and the Founder and CEO of Marketing Artificial Intelligence Institute Paul Roetzer have written a book called “Marketing Artificial Intelligence: AI, Marketing, and the Future of Business.” The 256-pager is a definitive, evergreen guide, offering timeless knowledge on how AI could reshape marketing careers, client relationships and the business landscape. It gives readers a solid foundation in AI's transformative power, guiding them through the nuances and helping them grasp how these emerging technologies would affect their future.  

If you’ve read the book, we encourage you to share your key takeaways using the hashtag If you’ve read the book, we encourage you to share your key takeaways using the hashtag #CXWISE (be sure to tag Sprinklr) on LinkedIn. You have a chance to win a free copy of the book, which you can lend to your marketing friends to help them understand AI’s crucial role in marketing.

Embracing AI as an ally 

As the use of generative AI becomes more prevalent, Mike suggests that marketers must spend at least an hour daily exploring AI tools to avoid falling behind. This hands-on approach helps individuals understand the nuances of AI and optimize its usage according to their specific role or company needs. He emphasizes that the first step is consistently using AI tools throughout the day. “You really do have to train yourself to start treating them as a colleague.”

Investing in the paid version of these AI tools is equally important. For instance, the premium version of ChatGPT running GPT-4 offers vastly improved reasoning capabilities over the free model. Claude 3 Opus by Anthropic and Google Gemini 1.5 also have their unique strengths. Mike recommends spending $40-$60 over a couple of months to cycle through these tools, understanding what specific use cases each tool excels at. Doing so ensures you become adept at leveraging these AI solutions to optimize your strategies and business outcomes.  

For more information on the abovementioned tools, please watch this excerpt from the podcast: 

Pro Tip: For social media marketing, Mike swears by Opus Clip, a video tool that automatically creates snackable video clips from long-form videos. In addition to auto-captions, its AI automatically generates a score to show the virality potential of each short clip, ensuring your posts never fail to rack up those views!

Building AI-ready teams through education and use cases 

While many brands and organizations are keen on adopting AI and making AI tools accessible across the organization, they often underestimate the extent of education required to familiarize their teams with its potential. Mike notes that many employees need foundational education to understand what AI is and how it can benefit them. This knowledge should not be overly technical or academic but must provide a solid base to build on.

Mike recommends emphasizing use cases to make AI tangible. Organizations that succeed in implementing AI lead with practical applications that demonstrate how these tools improve day-to-day tasks. By identifying and prioritizing relevant use cases, teams can determine which pilot projects to test, acknowledging that not every initiative will succeed. This approach allows organizations to identify strategies that enhance efficiency while minimizing risk. Workshops or collaborative sessions can guide teams through this process, helping them brainstorm and select appropriate use cases.  

Here are some tips to becoming an AI-first organization from the man himself: 

Companies may also benefit from appointing a Chief AI Officer or VP of AI to oversee this implementation. Such roles ensure that AI adoption is strategic and aligns with broader organizational goals, fostering a culture where experimentation and learning with AI tools are encouraged.  

Guiding AI transformation with the help of a chief AI officer 

With the rise of chief AI officers and similar executive roles, organizations need leaders who can guide their AI strategy thoughtfully. While these roles may be a little unorthodox now, their responsibility is clear: to navigate both short-term gains and long-term transformation. Mike foresees them becoming integrated into existing leadership positions in the coming years.  

He adds that an AI leader should not just focus on immediate use cases that provide quick wins but also establish a multi-year roadmap for AI adoption. This approach ensures that teams are engaged in pilot projects while leadership envisions how AI will fundamentally reshape the organization. AI leaders must also drive change management – formulating strategies that include establishing AI councils, creating ethical guidelines and drafting responsible AI policies. This comprehensive approach ensures that organizations are equipped to embrace AI's transformative potential while maintaining ethical standards.  

Cautious optimism is the name of the game 

Mike’s insights encourage us to cautiously embrace AI while keeping our focus on how it can enhance our lives and careers. He urges business leaders not to undermine the importance of people even as AI promises unprecedented productivity gains.  

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The allure of doing more with fewer employees is strong for most businesses in this volatile business climate. However, he warns that such short-sighted strategies could stifle innovation and demoralize teams. Instead, a greater opportunity lies in reinvesting productivity gains into unlocking new capabilities and empowering people to tackle higher-value work. 

Mike remains hopeful about AI's ability to free up our time and mental capacity for tasks that genuinely matter. He personally attests to the fact that AI tools have enabled him to focus on more meaningful and rewarding activities, leaving AI to take care of mundane and repetitive tasks.  

Ultimately, this optimism reflects the larger promise of AI: empowering people to pursue their passions, contribute at higher levels and transform businesses into innovative, AI-native enterprises that leverage the latest tools and technologies to create memorable customer experiences without losing the human touch.  

Watch the podcast (or give it a listen) to learn how your brand can harness AI while keeping humanity at the core of customer engagement.

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