Singapore continues to live up to its Smart Nation Vision and lead the way in digital transformation. In fact, Singapore is proving to be streets ahead of other countries in the region in the early adoption of AI-related technologies, according to Verint’s latest Report, ‘The Age of Human – Machine Harmony: In the robotic age, what is the future of customer experience?’.
The report is timely as the regional conversation around AI heats up. The report takes a deep dive into the implications of AI innovation on the customer journey, on business and on people.
The Singapore story, according to the research, is very telling of the country’s overall willingness to progress to the next digital frontier and lead the way in digital transformation. The findings suggest that Singapore is moving away from the need for human interaction, ahead of other countries and there is a level of comfort around this.
This is reinforced by a 2017 Accenture survey that showed that Singaporeans are increasingly ready to embrace AI, with 35 per cent of the population now ready for hyper-personalised services. While a smaller number of people currently own voice-enabled devices, of those that do, 71 per cent use them on a regular basis.
Singaporean bank DBS’s Chief Innovation Officer, Neal Cross, features in Verint’s Singapore report and comments about the banks’ successful transition to integrating innovation and customer engagement seamlessly where the two go hand-in-hand. Neal says, “The key to achieving this balance is putting the customer first. At DBS Bank, we’re leading the way in mature and advanced conversational AI deployments in banking, to make lifestyle banking a reality for our customers.”
DBS is an example of a company getting it right and driving AI innovation from a customer led perspective.
The report’s findings support this, suggesting that Singapore along with India, in particular, are more accepting of transitioning to an online world, with chatbots seamlessly integrated into many daily aspects of life, when compared to other countries like Australia, Japan and Hong Kong.
According to the report, the only time when Singaporeans tend to want human interaction during the customer journey is when they want to talk to a person about a problem. But unlike other countries, they are less inclined to want to speak to someone if it is complementing their efforts or making a complaint – online or digital methods for feedback are preferred.
Singaporeans are becoming integrated into the digital world so much so that for close to 50 per cent of the survey respondents, it was difficult to recognise the difference between a human and chatbot. India ranked most highly, with 67 per cent of survey respondents not being able to recognise the difference. In Australia, however, people are far more clued into the difference between humans and chatbots, with only 37 per cent recognising the difference.
AI-driven innovations such as bots are so prevalent now, that there is the concern in Singapore about the real risk of chatbots though taking over jobs (58 per cent). In countries like Australia and Japan, there is less concern and this might be because there is less of a shift towards AI adoption in business so far with only 28 per cent of Australian respondents reporting AI technology in their workplace. Whereas in Singapore, digital transformation has ramped up, and for more than 48 per cent of respondents, AI has been actively adopted.
So, what does this mean for Singapore?
Singapore is fast becoming a hotspot for AI experimentation and innovation and Singaporeans accept that robots are here to stay. A strong investment in digital infrastructure, a growing pool of IT expertise and a hyper-connected population mean that Singapore is making outsized gains in a new technological landscape, making the country fertile ground for MNCs to grow their business. Our research support this. We anticipate that this trend will continue and Singapore will continue to live up to Smart Nation vision.
And what about business?
Where to next for businesses when it comes to AI innovation and the customer experience? Just as DBS is getting it right and leading the way in AI innovation and the customer experience, so can other Singaporean businesses as they are already operating in an advanced digital ecosystem.
Here are our 5 tips for businesses to get AI-driven innovation and the customer experience right:
- Deploy resources wisely. With a growing acceptance of AI and an increase in the use of digital platforms, businesses need to allocate the rights resources at the right locations to increase productivity and capability.
- Automate with a purpose. Engage your workforce. Let employees know that automation is here to increase productivity, not take their jobs.
- Be ready for the digital frontier. There is no doubt that technology is set to fundamentally change the workforce as we know it. Be ready to adapt or be prepared to be left behind.
- Bring CX online. Learn to translate offline customer service to online customer service. With preferences shifting towards online platforms, how do you measure up in that aspect?
- The best CX is invisible. When customers don’t feel your presence at all, and yet, get the solutions that they require; that is the definition of the ideal customer experience