In multiple ways, the business world is at a crossroads. On the one hand, the digital experiences companies create for customers have never been more important. No matter what product you make or sell, customers’ first impressions and continued engagement increasingly take place via digital channels.
Now add to the mix the generative AI boom, exemplified by Open AI’s ChatGPT, and many business leaders find the pace of change overwhelming. Ideas and pressure from various stakeholders are pushing organizations to embrace this new transformative technology, which is capable of feats like natural language processing, content generation, and conversation across a wide range of topics. What’s the best way to leverage these powerful new tools in one’s products and digital experiences? As leaders chart the right path forward, here are some core insights around this technology to guide them.
Why these AI tools are so transformative
The technology behind so-called large language model (LLM) tools such as ChatGPT or Google’s Bard uses deep learning algorithms to process natural language input and generate human-like responses. The system is trained on a massive dataset of text from the internet—including books, articles, and web pages—and uses this data to learn the patterns and relationships between words and phrases. When a user inputs a question, ChatGPT uses this knowledge to generate a response that is contextually relevant and grammatically correct, but also diverse and creative, informative and engaging.
AI technology has the potential to revolutionize the way we interact with businesses, products, and each other in the years to come. Think back to the invention of the iPhone, which revolutionized the way we communicate, consume media, and access information. The iPhone led to an unprecedented level of connectivity and convenience for billions of people worldwide. It sparked a wave of innovation in mobile technology and app development, creating new opportunities for entrepreneurs and developers. It also paved the way for the rise of social media and mobile commerce, transforming the way we shop, work, and interact with each other. Overall, the iPhone has fundamentally reshaped the way we live—and AI will have the same transformative impact.
The sooner businesses adopt this new technology and understand its potential impact on their software, digital experiences, and product roadmap, the better. Companies that missed the mobile trend were severely impacted years ago. Some are still recovering. Businesses should be extremely wary of falling into the same trap with the dawn of AI.
How businesses can adapt
As business leaders analyze the current state of their products and digital experiences, they should consider three key questions to form the right future strategy tied to AI.
1. What areas of your product need to change?
When we think of digital products and experiences in the era of LLM AI tools, we can immediately see an opportunity to leverage them so that customers are able to ask questions and receive relevant, data-driven answers quickly and easily. Gone will be the days of complex customer journeys that involve numerous steps and clicks. These tools make information seeking far too convenient for clunky experiences to persist. If business leaders aren’t thinking of their product this way, their competitors will.
As a first step, product teams should locate areas where users are stuck and hitting friction points. These areas are ripe to add an easy-to-use “question answering” functionality powered by an LLM. Tailoring a personalized interactive solution in this way is not an easy project, but it’s absolutely imperative nowadays.
For example, Booking.com has long been aware of a key friction point tied to the core of their product: namely, the search function. As people try to plan their ideal trip, they’re constantly navigating back and forth between different dates, destinations, hotels, etc. to set up the best possible itinerary. With the rise of LLM tech, Booking.com sees a major opportunity to optimize this (currently tedious) planning process with a natural language assistant to help their customers plan a trip according to their exact preferences, without all the toggling and search headaches.
2. What areas of your product will remain?
Just as there are areas of your product ripe for change driven by new AI tools, there will also be areas that won’t (or shouldn’t) change going forward. What, for instance, are areas, features, or contexts where our users wouldn’t necessarily want to type in a question? In what instances would it be easier just to get the information they seek in a dashboard a click away? Beautiful, personalized, and easy-to-understand charts, messages, and notifications will not disappear. But they will be augmented by AI that can provide insights—whether that means explaining a spike in a dashboard chart, providing a summary of a set of customer feedback messages, or other ways to more easily get insights to users.
At the end of the day, while many product areas will change in the face of AI, some will not—and it is important to mark those areas alongside the areas that need change to hone your product roadmap on what matters most.
3. What completely new additions to your product are now possible?
AI will undoubtedly have an impact on a business’ current product and inform what needs to change within it vs. what doesn’t. However, LLMs also have the potential to delight customers in ways that were not previously possible.
Product teams now have it in their power to leverage knowledge about user needs and experiences and creatively find ways to enhance the experience and create a competitive edge. If before LLMs we did things with no AI, or added AI as a means to assist with existing features or workflows, teams can now design a totally new experience where the AI drives the actions (with the help of a human touch). For example, teams can now leverage AI to create a completely personalized onboarding process in which the user can give more context and edit or change the experience as they see fit. In short, AI will let users get to value faster, and be more satisfied than ever before.
Maximize your product value (and customer satisfaction) by leveraging AI
Creating a strategy around AI may once have been considered a luxury, but today it’s a necessity. It will require close collaboration with people from different backgrounds and experiences. Product, engineering, UX, and machine learning teams all have a role to play. If they execute smartly and strategically, these new AI tools can improve the customer experience—and business health—exponentially.
Learn more about how Pendo is enhancing its product experience platform with AI here.