What AI can Do to Improve Customer Experience: AiThority Interview With Macario Namie, CMO at ASAPP
Tell us about your role and your journey before joining ASAPP?
I love bringing unheard of, innovative technologies to companies that transform how they serve customers, build products and scale growth. I’ve been fortunate in being at the very early stages of Software as a Service, Online Meetings and the Internet of Things. Now I spend my time focused on bringing Artificial Intelligence technology to the customer experience – in a way that both companies and customers actually love.
Tell us about ASAPP?
ASAPP exists to make people better through Artificial intelligence. We are focused today on customer experience teams, bringing AI not to replace people, but to radically improve their performance. By augmenting all agents with AI – predicting the right thing to say and do, in real-time, as the customer conversation transpires – companies achieve tremendous operational benefits. Our customers have seen a 2.2x increase in throughput, a 52% drop is cost per interaction and an overall spend decrease of 30%. And this is on top of a vastly improved customer and employee experience.
We’ve been doing this for several years and serve some of the best-known brands in the world – Verizon, JetBlue and Dish just to name a few.
What is the most contemporary definition of “Customer Experience Management”?
The ability to define, measure and improve the entire customer lifetime journey, from initial engagement to purchase to service to upsell and cross-sell to churn.
How has Customer Experience evolved with the maturity of AI and Machine Learning applications?
We’re now at a point where legacy technologies—old, tired workhorses that divested from fundamental research and innovation years ago—are likely to be major liabilities in a digital transformation. However, over half of smart business leaders indicated in a recent survey that adopting AI will deliver a better customer experience.
The pace of change is now shrinking from multiple decades to years with the maturity of AI technologies like speech recognition, natural language processing and machine learning applications. These AI technologies are enabling a far better and faster customer experience that enables companies to maintain customer loyalty and increase sales.
What we find unfortunate is the continued belief among many organizations that the right answer is to keep customers away from people. When a customer reaches an agent, for example, many companies consider that a failure. So, we end up with highly negative KPIs like “deflection” and “containment,” and many vendors will slap the letters AI on top of technologies that are just meant to replace people. Unfortunately, the state of the art is simply not good enough to replace people. Many systems that are sold as artificial intelligence are really just terrible customer experiences. Machine learning and Artificial Intelligence can truly be transformative for an organization in a highly positive way. It just needs to be applied correctly.
Hear it from the Pro: How to become an AI-focused marketing team in 2020–
To become an AI focused marketing team put people at the center of your AI strategy. Humans solve complex problems, bring emotional empathy and carry the voice of your brand. Artificial intelligence is simply not good enough to replace people en masse but use AI-driven automation to handle monotonous processes while augmenting people to make them radically more productive and happier.
In the current scenario of COVID-19 making an unprecedented dent on every business and exposing gaps in customer experience, how do AI and ML applications benefit users?
With the economic downturn, there is a major need to maintain and improve customer experience with bad service already costing US companies $1.6 trillion in switching providers. In parallel, businesses need significant cost savings without compromising the customer experience. Many of us experienced trying to connect with overwhelmed contact centers that had 900% increases in call volumes, three-hour-long wait times and reduced agent availability, due to shelter-in-place policies. Add in under performing digital tools that did not help these contact centers scale to the pandemic challenges – and it’s a recipe for massive customer attrition.
Normally cost savings result in a degraded customer experience. However, with AI-Native technologies businesses can shift 30% of their voice calls to digital interactions in 30 days and vastly improve both the experience and CSAT. There are huge gains in agent productivity that enable the cost savings that businesses need. It’s a radically different approach: Arm contact center agents to be more productive than humanly possible, augment their workflows, conversations and chat with AI while automating processes that continue to add time and expense to the average handle time of calls.
What advice do you have for young marketing professionals? Any examples, or anecdotes from your own marketing career that you can share with our readers?
Be transparent with your audience and be a missionary, not a mercenary and sell them value – not a product.
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Matrixx CEO Glo Gordon
Thank you, Macario! That was fun and we hope to see you back on AiThority.com soon.
Macario Namie has more than 20 years of Software-as-a-Service experience in enterprise solutions. Prior to ASAPP, Macario was CMO of Uptake and before that head of IoT strategy at Cisco after running marketing and strategy at Jasper for nine years prior to its acquisition by Cisco.
Macario also held senior marketing roles at WebEx, ePeople and Lycos. He holds a B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley.
ASAPP builds AI-Native products to solve large, complex, data-rich problems, by automating and augmenting human workflows, radically improving efficiency and effectiveness to empower people to be their best. By building AI-Native™ products driven by advances in fundamental AI research, ASAPP makes organizations more efficient by augmenting and automating the world’s workflows. The company has headquarters in New York with offices in Silicon Valley, Buenos Aires and London.