AI cooling off period projected by Helpshift in 2024
Friday, January 5, 2024
Erik Ashby from Helpshift predicts that we will see an AI cooling-off period in 2024, and companies that got caught up in the hype are not addressing a real problem or business use case. He then goes on to share 3 key ideas to bypass the hype cycle and lead your company to success with AI in 2024.
There was much hype in 2023 about AI, and as a result, all sorts of companies have jumped into the AI space - even if they’re not "AI companies." We saw some brands that were too hasty and indiscriminate in their approach to AI. They’re tinkering with AI, throwing stuff at the wall to see what sticks. They’re trying to put AI everywhere without a clear understanding of its capabilities or its potential to address specific customer needs.
2024, The AI Cooling-off Period, But Not Everywhere…
As we step into 2024, this overheated hype cycle will be cooling, not because the future of AI isn’t bright, but because companies that got caught up in the hype and tried to implement AI for the sake of implementing AI are not necessarily addressing a real problem or business use case.
For example, in my industry, the customer support space, you constantly read about some new exciting generative customer service AI product that has just been released. Many of these are broad tools based on generic Large Language Models (LLM) in an attempt to reduce the cost of support, yet brands are discovering that such one-size-fits-all solutions may not align with their needs. These tools often fail to solve tangible problems or contribute substantial value to the bottom line.
Least we all despair; it's important to recognize that AI is simply going through the classic tech hype cycle. Initial enthusiasm for a new technology often leads to a significant hype cycle. Then, as the excitement subsides, the fog clears and we can see where the new technology is having a real impact, along with the companies who have figured out how to leverage it and succeed.
Here are a few ideas to bypass the hype cycle and lead your company to success with AI in 2024:
Focus the AI on solving specific problems:
AI is good at understanding patterns, identifying trends, and matching the patterns with a desired outcome. As such, focus your AI to find and tackle specific problems. Leverage AI tools built to leverage brand-specific information. It will take some work as you and your team must ask, “What problems can AI genuinely help solve for us and our customers?” As with humans, you will see more substantial results when you provide focus. While other companies try to take an easy approach and throw generic AI at everything, you can take a more disciplined, focused approach to AI. It will take some planning and minimal training, but you will see the value in the end.
Make AI part of your team:
Treat AI like an integrated team member, not a low-cost contractor doing a specific job. Encourage your team to explore ways to seamlessly integrate and collaborate with AI, focusing on enhancing its effectiveness. Think of AI as the "Robin to your Batman." For instance, in customer support, AI can engage in conversations, decipher intent, and capture context. However, it should also recognize when human support agents need to intervene for premium experiences or high-value conversations. When brands take a combined approach with humans, AI, and automation working together to solve problems, that is when they see the actual transformation with AI.
Choose experienced AI partners:
If you’re going to engage a partner for an AI-related project, make sure they’re not newcomers to AI and automation. Too many consultants, contractors, and enterprise software vendors are passing themselves off as “AI companies” with flashy billboards along the 101 freeway in Silicon Valley. But in reality, they’re still wet behind the ears. Companies that have experience in AI and automation genuinely understand where and how it can be implemented for you to succeed.
In 2023, AI moved through the tech hype cycle faster than anything we’ve seen before. As we transition into 2024, expect to see a slowing down as the industry encounters and grapples with various obstacles and limitations. However, in the future, there will be a longer-term (and quieter) recovery as companies work behind the scenes, gradually unraveling and comprehending the full extent of what AI technology can genuinely achieve.
About Erik Ashby
Erik Ashby is the head of product at Helpshift, Keywords Studios’ consumer-first digital support platform. Erik has spent his career leading digital innovation in communication across the decades, working on products like Microsoft Exchange, Office 365, and Microsoft Outlook. Erik has spent 7 years at Helpshift, changing the way companies provide customer service with in-app messaging, AI, and chatbots.
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