When you think Artificial Intelligence (AI), it’s no longer a futuristic, metallic humanoid walking around delivering pre-empt answers. These days, AI can be found in all shapes and sizes. It’s Siri on your phone, helpdesk chatbots and intuitive Facebook ads. As consumers, we expect services to become increasingly smarter. Similarly, it is time for business owners to recognise that AI can play a huge, beneficial role in your service design blueprint.
Before AI, there was data. Despite what its name suggests, service design has as much to do with data science, as it does with creativity. Data analysis can provide value-added insights and market predictions to hone product understanding, inspire different perspectives and justify business decisions.
In its singular form, data doesn’t do much. Data only becomes meaningful when you have enough of it to play with. – Lucie Liew
The ability to understand data has created some of the most successful service design blueprints in the world, such as the ever-ubiquitous technology giant – Google. It all started with the basic concept of a search engine. As “Google Search” gained popularity amongst internet users, the company also acquired access to a growing pool of data. What differentiates Google from its competitors is its ability to analyse the data and create the effective Google ecosystem you use today.
The tech giant changed the game in 2016 when “deep learning” was incorporated into their services. This move spawned a series of predictive and personalised online services - Gmail can now predict replies that match your tone-of-voice and Google Calendar’s Smart Scheduling function can suggest appointments based on your existing schedule and habits.  If data was fuel, AI would be its intuitive, smart engine.
AI could be built and trained to identify consumer patterns and behaviour. Through neural learning, they can intelligently and instantaneously provide a customised, 24/7 experience for the consumer. Such qualities are no longer good-to-haves, but must-haves in today’s market. We, as consumers are getting more impatient. Surveys show that 60% of consumers expect brands to provide service as and when they need it,  while 63% regard personalisation as a minimal standard for service. Only when brands close the gap between expectation and reality, can they be appreciated and earn the sale. 
On the business end of the spectrum, AI empowers processes by eliminating human error. In a world of gimmicks, it is easy to forget that basic business hygiene and smooth operations are fundamental for success. Perhaps even more so than the unique selling point. One of the biggest benefits of automation lies in its close-to-zero margin for error. Repetitive tasks such as backend logistics of supply chains, automated program updates can be effectively outsourced to machine; resulting in more smooth-sailing processes, reduction in manpower and lower overheads for the organisation.
Ultimately, it’s the responsibility of the people behind-the-scenes to design an impressionable and effective service experience for the consumer. Technology is only here to grease the wheels of business. We must empower its abilities to amplify business to consumer interaction. Service design when done well should break silos, not build them.