Humans are adaptable. We adapt to new technology very quickly — maybe increasingly quickly, if I think about my own career, from implementing ERP on Windows 95 to embracing the internet at a late-nineties dot-com to evangelizing mobile in the noughties, all the way to today, when we get to generative AI.

A year ago, most people had barely even heard of generative AI. Now, it’s everywhere. But I’m increasingly finding that my own reaction to AI-generated content oscillates between being astounded by black-box voodoo to a vague feeling of bland mediocrity. I’m stunned by generative AI’s ability to tell me what I already know.

How can something be so unbelievably magical yet utterly mundane at the same time?

While writing this blog post, I asked ChatGPT to produce various iterations of content with prompts about CX and AI, asking for a balanced view on the risks versus the opportunities. Its insight is nothing if not ironic:

“ … content generated by AI may feel generic or miss the mark, failing to truly resonate … ”

This level of self-awareness is hardly what Isaac Asimov predicted.

This highlights the opportunity for, and the risk of, intrepid AI experimenters trying to transform customer experience (CX). It can unleash magic, but it’s not inherently as magical as some of the hype would make you believe. The trick now is to balance the risks of coherent nonsense, bias, privacy breaches, transparency (or, rather, the lack thereof), and unreliability, all against the massive potential upside.

David Truog joined myself and Angelina on the CX Cast recently to share what CX leaders need to know about generative AI. We talked about the risks but also the possibility for improving call center agent efficiency, transforming CX research and design and what CX leaders need to ask their vendors.

I also joined Judy Weader on Forrester’s What It Means podcast to talk more broadly about our predictions for CX leaders in 2024. We dive into generative AI there, as well.

Even with the limits of today’s technology, risk-savvy CX leaders have a massive opportunity to enhance CX and streamline work. Looking forward, we can see a world in which AI drives three major shifts in CX:

  • Conversational CX, as customers converse in natural language (“Hey, Siri, I want to save £200 a month more into my pension.”)
  • Conversational commerce, as machines talk to machines
  • Conversational work, as CX pros talk to platforms (“Hey, journey management platform, where do gen Z female customers drop out of the credit card application journey most frequently?”)

We aren’t quite there yet, but as we start planning for our flagship events next year, we are looking beyond 2024 to scope out some scenarios of how generative AI will transform CX — and that means both your customers’ experiences and the work of “doing” CX.