Virtual customer service agents and chatbots are commonplace in business today. In fact, Gartner predicts that these tools will reduce labor costs for agents by $80 billion by 2026.
The emergence of generative artificial intelligence (AI) and increasing use of natural language prompts have unleashed a flood of new and enhanced generative AI-powered customer experience (CX) and worker productivity technologies. Generative AI, using large language models (LLMs) and machine learning, can rapidly generate text, images, and insights from multiple data sources, providing new levels of automation and ease of use for staff and the customers they serve.
These new offerings revolve around generative AI as a copilot or virtual assistant. Or, as people are describing it on social media, “my new intern.”
There are two major areas where the copilot approach is being emphasized:
- Copilots for professionals and teams: Generative AI is a virtual colleague to professionals and teams, enabling them to leverage extensive customer and business data more effectively. By working side by side, copilots create smarter communications and deeper customer insights while automating various tasks.
- Copilots for customers: Generative AI also acts as a copilot for customers during their journey. This includes helping them research options, customize products, and address needs. This aligns with the trend of customers preferring self-service options. The more effectively the brand can cater to and delight customers, the higher the likelihood of building customer loyalty.
Microsoft and Salesforce Aim for Productivity, CX Impact
Microsoft 365 Copilot
Microsoft’s 365 Copilot, a generative AI assistant that works across the Microsoft 365 business productivity and collaboration apps, is complemented by a new capability dubbed Business Chat.
For Microsoft 365 users, Copilot automates tasks and creates content that professionals use in their everyday work — including analyzing Excel data, designing PowerPoint presentations, and summarizing Teams meetings. The AI combines intelligence from large language models (LLMs) with data in Microsoft Graph and the Microsoft 365 apps to turn words and images into compelling sales, marketing, and customer engagement content. With this level of integration, Microsoft 365 Copilot promises increased worker productivity and more compelling, contextual content creation capabilities.
Business Chat is a generative AI app that works across the LLM, Microsoft 365 apps, and each user’s data, such as calendars, documents, meetings, emails, chats, and contacts. As workers become more comfortable with natural language prompts, they can use Business Chat to get status updates, schedule meetings, and pull summary information for their next meeting or project.
Salesforce Marketing and Commerce GPT
Salesforce has integrated generative AI into its customer relationship management (CRM), data, marketing, and sales products to streamline manual, intricate tasks and efficiently use customer data. In response to the increasing demand for automating the creation of tailored, connected customer experiences and content, Salesforce introduced two generative AI-powered offerings: Marketing GPT and Commerce GPT.
Marketing GPT enables marketers to provide personalized experiences at every customer journey stage. Through features like Segment Creation, marketers can swiftly generate audience segments and improve targeting using natural language prompts and AI-driven recommendations based on data from Salesforce’s Data Cloud. The auto-generated content reduces the burden of the large amount of writing required to engage and support customers. At the same time, segment intelligence enhances marketing impact by combining revenue, first-party, and third-party media data to comprehensively understand audience engagement.
Salesforce’s generative AI content capabilities extend to creating contextual visual assets for multichannel campaigns within Marketing GPT, ensuring consistent branding and delivering compelling messaging tailored to the target audience. Product, sales, and marketing professionals often struggle with developing the volume and quality of content required to support prospects’ and customers’ varying needs, so these capabilities address an immediate need.
Commerce GPT customizes buying experiences by applying auto-generated insights and recommendations based on unified real-time data from Data Cloud. Combining Commerce GPT and Data Cloud, business and tech professionals can set targets and goals, and get recommendations, for everything from product marketing to margin improvement ideas. The product includes Commerce Concierge to support personalized, engaging conversations and help shoppers discover products through natural language interactions across channels from digital storefronts to messaging apps.
Capturing the Value of Generative AI-Infused Copilots
Adding generative AI with natural language prompts, LLMs, and machine learning offers a new dimension to first-generation virtual agents and chatbots. This is especially true when these capabilities are integrated into existing applications like Salesforce CRM and Microsoft 365.
As with any new technology, it is important to provide time and the right resources to help your organization adapt to new ways of thinking and working. There is a learning curve for brands and their customers. First, companies must understand where, when, and how to deploy these technologies, including how they integrate with existing customer systems and processes.