Last week, Forrester’s annual CXSF forum welcomed business and technology leaders to discuss innovative customer-based strategies that will power the future. FRSH’s takeaways from the event prompted us to think about the vast potential for AI and voice:

  • Alexa is the new customer service representative.

Alexa Chief Evangelist, Dave Ibitski, broke down the conversation between voice and user. When thinking harder about the definition of the term “skill” we emphasize our objective to teach Alexa something new. Alexa is intelligent; however, this means developers are the teachers. We are teaching Alexa how to talk to customers. As a form of machine learning, Alexa has not entirely reached AI. We will however, continue to explore the future in voice because a personal conversation is the most powerful connection brands can have with their consumers.

  • The magic will happen when Alexa can do her own setup.

How can the conversation be made more seamless? We are still at the point in which customers’ words must be clear and specific for Alexa to process them. Thus, we are creating skills that lead users to the appropriate response. Soon we will want Alexa to be able to pick up on the user’s intent alone so she can complete AI tasks without coding. This would mean a customer can simply say “Alexa,I need help” and she will get right to work without requiring further information.

The tradeoff here is privacy. Will customers be willing to give Alexa complete access to their personal information? Giving Alexa full AI capabilities is possible only if we create voice guidelines. Most importantly, the customer should always have complete control; with the ability to delete anything at any time. The problem is that once things are deleted the information is lost and the customer is seen as a new user. The customer can also hit the mute button, cutting the power, and disable Alexa from collecting any more information. The development of these guidelines will be extremely pertinent in the expansion of Alexa’s future capabilities..

  • Don’t limit your customer experience.

Because we are already aware of Alexa’s future capabilities, the expectations start today. We don’t have the technology yet for Alexa to act without coding, but that doesn’t mean we should limit our customer experiences. To elevate the experience you must realize: content is key! This is the first thing to think about when creating new skills. Second, the ability to speak spontaneously and naturally to a machine is paramount. Third, a skill should evolve over time and offer more capabilities without the customer’s help.

We look at this like a crawl, walk, and run scenario. We can’t run yet because the technology hasn’t brought us to that point. In the meantime, we are thinking about the run as we start the crawl through creating seamless customer experiences. Soon we will all start to run.