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  • Kuba Płonka

2023 Trend Alert: AI, CS and way much more


Woman standing of arrow looking through telescope
Image by pch.vector on Freepik


Welcome to the new year! In this first article, I’d like to share my thoughts on the trends that will play an essential role in Customer Success in the coming months.

Only some things on this list will necessarily be new topics, but they have yet to be adequately addressed, or a new application has emerged that we didn’t have before.

Ready? Then buckle up, and let’s go!


AI


The most significant topic to start with :) This idea was a discussion we had on the CS po Polsku group some time ago.


Initially, I wanted to focus on recent weeks’ revelation, the Open AI chat that can generate ready-made text from a given phrase.


Does it work perfectly? No. Is this the future of user support? Definitely!

Currently, chatbots also use artificial intelligence, but the vast majority redirect users to a help centre or display an article from the help centre that someone must have written beforehand. What if artificial intelligence-learned solutions helped users in real-time instead of redirecting them? The experience from such a solution would be incomparably better than what we have now.


If you already have a knowledge base built up and want to enable users to have a better experience, see, for example, Google Talk to Books. The team from Mountain View has created a tool that changes the search paradigm (in this case, in books) and instead of searching for books by title, we search by sentence. Returning to our area, users don’t have to easily guess what the name of the article solving their error is but are looking for a specific term, and this way of searching would fit their needs perfectly.


Another tool that is already here that can work wonders is Synthesia. It allows you to create a video in which a digital avatar of your choice reads a text you have prepared. The examples are spectacular, and the tool opens up new possibilities for the CS department to prepare client materials. In addition, Synthesia already supports 60 languages, so if you plan to expand into more markets this year, you can build professional support at an incomparably lower cost than traditional methods.


Don’t want to create a video database straight away? Go ahead; Bigspeak.ai is a website that transforms your text into an AI-generated voice. You can create a more inclusive knowledge base for all who struggle to read an article.

Artificial intelligence will not replace us, at least not now :), but I share the opinion of IBM CEO Ginni Rometty


Some people call this artificial intelligence, but the reality is this technology will enhance us. So instead of artificial intelligence, I think we’ll augment our intelligence.

Ginni Rometty


Frictionless


The topic is not new, after all, everyone and everything has to be frictionless, but I would say that especially when using AI, we should consider whether we should add some ‘friction’ to the user process so that users think about what they are doing. We don’t want the user to be unreflectively accepting essential rules and regulations or mechanically disregarding our messages.


I plan to devote one of my following articles to this topic, or just as in recent years, companies have spent much time eliminating any slowdowns in processes, so this year will hopefully come a time of reflection, evaluation and change.


Changes in onboarding


Onboarding is, if not the most important, one of the most critical processes, and anyone working in Customer Success knows this. But onboarding is about more than just the training we deliver or the materials we provide; just about the whole experience at the beginning of using our product.


What I mean by onboarding changes is how we approach the design of an application so that the user feels comfortable with a multitude of functions right from the start. Take the car as an example. You don’t need much training to get into a car, start it, and then turn on the lights or the washers. On the other hand, the further you go, the more you begin to know and learn how to operate more advanced functions. Nothing is locked down, and you need help to read the entire manual (anyone who has seen it knows how comprehensive it is). Still, the car’s design allows you to gradually familiarise yourself with everything when you are ready for it.


If you don’t know, he occasionally plays computer games. And this is an industry that provides us with many exciting examples of the challenges in designing user introduction experiences. There are games that, due to their complexity, throw all the features at the player at once and sometimes require several hours of introduction. The entry threshold for these games (such an example would be games in the Europa Universalis series) is very high, and many players bounce back at this stage. A solution could be gradually unlocking features once the user has reached a particular location. While the game is sensational, the initial impression can make many people never give it a second chance.


An example of a new player implementation that is designed brilliantly is the game Bioshock Infinite. In the first stage, the protagonist takes part in a carnival. Each successive carnival game reveals elements of mechanics they will always use. Then, as the protagonist develops, the player learns more advanced techniques.


The last example is one of the most popular games in the world, the FIFA series, and I chose it because of the interesting two ways of learning offered in this game. It’s insanely simple to start playing virtual football regardless of age. All you need to do is masterly use a few buttons and the motion knob. The developers offer two ways to learn the advanced features. The first is tutorials and drills built into the game so that we can polish our skills — a standard option most of our commercial products offer. The second exciting model is learning by playing with other players. Each real-time match is an opportunity to see techniques we didn’t know before, thus opening the way to learning during or before the next game.


But you may immediately ask, where is CS in all this? You can read from my last article what the collaboration between CSM and PM looks like, but the Customer Success team needs to drive the changes that will make the apps more accessible to users.


Communication within the team and with customers


As you have already noticed in previous articles, communication is, for me, one of the most critical success factors in the work of a CSM. I will not be revealed if I say that the pandemic has changed the working model. We work remotely in different locations at different times. This year, we will emphasise tools that allow us to work asynchronously without needing constant meetings within the team. More and more companies will use solutions such as Loom to quickly communicate the work status within a team.


As younger generations enter the workforce and are used to other forms of communication, the structure of our teams and clients will change.


The CS department must be at the forefront of these changes and, like a metronome, set the rhythm for the entire product team.


The ways of communicating will therefore have to scale and adapt to the unique rhythm of the day so that, on the one hand, team satisfaction does not drop and, on the other, user satisfaction does not fall.


These were my four trends for 2023. We can look back in December to see what worked from this list and what didn’t. What would you guys add to it? Write in the comments, and we’ll hear from you next week!

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