Retailers: Balance AI with a human touch for CX success in 2024

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As the new year approaches, many retail brands are thinking about what they want to do differently and better in 2024 to improve their customer experience (CX).

Making your customer journey as seamless as possible not only improves customer satisfaction and loyalty but can also bolster your bottom line:
Customer and employee expectations are evolving quickly, and companies that don’t embrace these changes risk losing customers to brands that do. But retailers also need to be strategic and keep costs in line along the way.

AI and associates make each other better

Retail brands are embracing AI more than ever before, but they must do so in a thoughtful way. As the popularity of AI-powered tools has skyrocketed, it’s become hard to separate the real benefits from the hype.

In the rush to stay on the cutting edge, remember that even the best AI technology won’t elevate your CX if it’s not working in tandem with humans. AI-infused CX works best when it’s focused on your customer journey and eliminating paint points, and when AI is balanced with people.

From a customer perspective, automation brings many advantages – well beyond the features most shoppers have grown accustomed to – and the benefits just keep growing. Generative AI in particular lets customers break free of predefined, rules-based journeys and lets them define how they will experience their own journey with your brand.

AI also benefits employees, empowering them to be more efficient and happier in their jobs. Large language models and knowledgebases, for instance, can interpret huge amounts of information so associates don’t have to try to figure it out on their own. And AI gives associates the information they need to help customers quickly. It can even tell them which customers have upsell and cross-sell potential.

AI isn’t intended to replace your associates; it’s there to act as an assistant and make their jobs easier so they can get customers the answers they need faster. The results? Quicker resolution times, better employee experience (EX), improved customer satisfaction and loyalty, and revenue growth.

Still, most companies aren’t yet harnessing the full potential of AI. Recent TTEC research around AI readiness found most brands see AI as vital to their success yet haven’t deployed it in a meaningful way. This makes 2024 the perfect time for retailers to get serious and strategic about implementing AI. 

Assessing your brand’s current use of AI and identifying area where automation can eliminate friction and enhance the customer and employee experience, is a good place to start.

Balancing AI with humans is just one of the megatrends TTEC has identified that will transform CX and EX in the coming year and beyond. For more, check out our strategy guide, “CX Trends 2024: 4 megatrends shaping the future of customer and employee experiences.”