Monday, 13 August 2018 22:41

FULL VIDEOS: Freshworks Refresh CX conference showcases transformative power of AI

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Releasing its new AI Maturity Index showing how AI is "already transforming customer experience in Australia" at its Refresh: CX event, Freshworks focused on "embracing the future of customer experience".

Freshworks. Less than a decade old, the company has rapidly grown to serve more than 150,000 businesses worldwide, growing from its initial Freshdesk helpdesk software, to now encompassing an impressive suite of products.

In addition to Freshdesk, this now includes Freshservice, Freshsales, Freshcaller, Freshteam, Freshchat and Freshmarketer, all "designed to work tightly together to increase collaboration and help teams better connect and communicate with their customers and co-workers".

As you'd expect in 2018, it's a cloud-based suite and, in Australia, is "widely used by over 8,000 businesses including OfficeMax, Booktopia, Showpo, Salmat, Harvey Norman and Cabcharge".

At the company's Refresh: CX event, which iTWire was able to capture on video and which is embedded below along with some video interviews taken with executives and one of the invited independent speakers during the event, the company shared its new PDF report, entitled "The State of AI-Powered CX in Australia", with CX standing for "customer experience" for those wondering.

The first two videos of the event, Part 1 and Part 2 are below.

Note, part 2 starts off with the MC announcing that a series of round tables would be in effect on a range of topics, which the attendees could choose to participate in and have discussions about. This went on for approximately 45 minutes, after which a representative from each table came to the stage to give a brief report on what was spoken about.

As there were about 6 or so tables, I wasn't able to capture those discussions as they were happening simultaneously, but I did capture the reports each table gave on stage thereafter, so if you're wondering why there is that transition, now you know.

In its report, the company says it "is working with businesses across each of the sectors highlighted... to help them adopt and leverage AI to elevate their customer engagement strategy and drive business value".

The Refresh: CX event was a "first-of-its-series" conference for the company, delivering "applied enterprise solutions to cutting-edge innovation" and addressing "the global pulse of AI for 2018 and beyond".

As you'll see from the videos below, the event featured "inspiring keynotes to real-world business cases to next-gen technology sessions", with best practices and market trends in AI-powered customer experience shared with the audience, along with the opportunity to "engage with some of the most influential minds in tech that are going beyond the hype of AI and breaking through the boundaries of its possibilities".

In its report, Freshworks tells us that it "surveyed 500 senior business leaders to understand their attitudes towards AI", with the study discovering:

  • Almost Two-thirds (62%) of Australian businesses are currently using some form of AI in their customer experience (CX).
  • Breaking this down, almost a quarter (24%) of businesses say AI plays a regular role in their CX, with 39% saying they are currently trialling AI.
  • 76% of Australian businesses plan to expand their AI usage by 2025.
  • As part of this, decision makers expect the automation of repetitive tasks (36%) and the automation of knowledge work (38%) – as a result business leaders expect, on average, a 28% workforce reduction.
  • More than one-in-three Australian businesses are already driving revenue from the use of AI in customer experience.
  • Almost half (48%) of Australian businesses have already or plan to appoint a chief AI officer in the next 24 months.

Sreelesh Pillai, general manager of Freshworks Australia said: “It’s clear that the industry is excited about AI and many Australian businesses are already enjoying the benefits that this technology can deliver to customer experience. AI will augment human output, allowing businesses to deliver a more personalised customer experience in a efficient and effective way.

Investment drivers:

  • More than two-fifths (41%) of businesses say customer demands are driving AI adoption.
  • Almost half (48%) say that incremental cost reduction would be a driver for AI investment – highlighting that decision makers want AI to pay for itself.
  • Thirty-six percent say gaining a competitive advantage is a driver.

Challenges and barriers to AI implementation

  • More than a third (35%) say high deployment costs and a lack of measurable ROI is the main barrier.
  • Almost a third (31%) say that lack of knowledge or know-how is also a factor.
  • Twenty-nine percent say it will be due to cultural challenge in terms of how the company is managed.

Attitudes around skills and the workforce

  • Almost a third (31%) think AI could reduce their workforce by between 30-50%.
  • More than one-in-ten (12%) think AI could reduce their workforce by between 50-70%.
  • Thirty-nine percent say workers current skills will be augmented.

“Although understanding amongst the industry is good there are still some concerns around security and managing changing data analytics practices. Finding solutions to these challenges will help promote wider uptake and unlock AI’s ability to truly transform CX for Australian businesses,” Pillai concluded.

The full report in PDF format is available here

Here are four video interviews I conducted with Freshworks executives, along with one of the independent speakers at the event, Greg Tanna from Tanna Partners Executive Search. The agenda of the Refresh: CX event is below.

Video Interview: Sidharth Malik, chief revenue officer, talks Freshworks, Refresh: CX and more.

Interview: Girish Mathrubootham, chief executive, Freshworks at Refresh: CX.

Interview: Sreelesh Pillai, the general manager of Freshworks Australia.

Interview: Greg Tanna, managing director, Tanna Partners Executive Search, talks business in Australia.

Here is the agenda that the Refresh: CX conference followed:

9:00 am

Opening Address

Sreelesh Pillai, General Manager, Freshworks Australia

9:15 am

An AI-powered Future of CX

Girish Mathrubootham, chief executive, Freshworks

The Age of the Customer is all about change – changing customers, changing expectations and changing business models. It’s only right then that the experience you offer your customers, changes too!

Today’s customer experience (CX) model is rapidly shifting to include Artificial Intelligence every step of the way. The future of CX as we see it, is AI and now.

10:00 am

AI in Action – Getting started with practical AI
Hosted by Chris Wyman, senior manager – Sales, Freshworks Australia
Tim Sheedy, principal adviser, Ecosystem
Greg Tanna, managing director, Tanna Partners
Sreelesh Pillai, general manager, Freshworks Australia

While some businesses have embraced AI, many others are still struggling to understand its applications and get started. They are lost, unsure of where to begin, how to go about it, and what business results to expect.

Join Chris as he hosts a panel discussion with some of today’s revolutionary minds in the space of CX. Get insights into how you can step up your CX game with practical tips and strategies on implementing AI initiatives.

11:00 am

Networking Break & Refreshments

11:30 am

Hit Refresh! – Conversations on CX & AI

As we take a fresh approach to CX and explore its AI future, it’s time to hear from all you delegates on how you are thinking of revamping your CX strategy and prepping for its future.

Be a part of this interactive round of table talk on all things CX and AI! Your Freshworks host, and maybe even some of today’s speakers, will be there to help move the discussions along. Exchange table learnings and draw new insights on stepping up your AI-powered CX game!

12:00 pm

Artificial Intelligence in Australia – Insights & Impact of AI on Customer Experience
Sidharth Malik, chief revenue officer, Freshworks

As a concluding note to the event, Sid launched the company's "exclusive AI survey report, sharing insights and recommendations from Freshworks, based on perceptions of key CX leaders and business decision-makers in Australia".

The report was "compiled based on extensive research and conversations with over 500 businesses in Australia, to help organisations achieve their maximum potential by utilising AI", with the report able to be downloaded in full here

01:00 pm

Networking Lunch

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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