At its Experience ’24 Conference, Medallia unveiled four new AI-powered capabilities. The company believes that the four innovations “will fundamentally change how organisations can personalise customer and employee experiences.” This seems a very bold statement to make. The solutions will be available to Medallia customers as part of the Medallia Experience Cloud.
Medallia has been developing AI-powered tools for years. In 2008, it launched AI-powered Text Analytics. Since then, it has continued to develop AI-powered capabilities. In August 2023, it revealed over 1 million active users used AI on its platform every week. This is impressive as it is one thing to build an AI-powered solution and another for it to be successful.
The Medallia Experience Cloud now includes capabilities such as speech analytics, speech-to-text, AI-powered automations, and experience orchestration. These capabilities and the four new solutions were built by Medallia responsibly. The company also announced that it has improved the governance of its approach to developing using AI and other technology with the launch of an AI Moderation Council.
Joe Tyrrell, CEO at Medallia, announced, “These incredible new generative AI solutions mark a fundamental shift in customer experience, moving from looking at data and analytics, to taking action, in real-time, through automation, to deliver a personalised, instant experience.
“We are delivering against our vision of a future driven by responsible AI, built to continually adapt in real-time to new information at every point across the customer and employee journey, dynamically training itself with each new signal to personalise every experience and to empower humans to be more effective on the critical tasks they take on.”
Athena is the name for Medallia’s AI capability that already exists within the Medallia Experience Cloud. Ask Athena enables employees to ask questions in natural language and get a fast, in-context, intuitive and informed answer. Athena interprets the question and provides a summarisation of the results with easily consumed images and graphs should the question require it.
Users are able to ask questions about the performance of a business line. they can then drill down deeper into the results with further iterative questions to identify trends in regional and customer segments. Athena will also surface relevant insights and potentially suggested actions.
It also leverages the Medallia Athena Action intelligence. This parses the organisation’s experience data, both customer and employee. It then surfaces actions that are possible to achieve about the specific issue.
Where organisations collect thousands of pieces of feedback from employees and customers, intelligent summaries do exactly that. It takes the information recorded from any interaction, profile and other data sources. It provides the user with a summarised and much shorter set of information about the feedback that has been received.
While this new feature will provide a general summarization of the interactions, the big question is whether it will be able to differentiate between feedback that contains good and bad insights. Using the Actionable intelligence of Athena may be able to do this at one level, but will it highlight the one brilliant idea. Time will tell.
For employees looking to collate information from surveys, it is a vast improvement on what they used to have to do, saving huge amounts of time and costs.
Where employees and customers ask questions of the organisation, Smart Response provides a personalised, empathetic, quick and accurate. Employees can use Smart Response to help reply to customer enquiries faster. It means that employees and customers spend less time waiting for a response that needs drafting, checking and correcting.
The AI, using the data from the experience platform, is able to respond in context with the right information to specific feedback. Employees can read and edit responses before they are sent, giving control to the human in the loop. This enables employees to further personalise the responses or add further information. It will be interesting to see how this helps organisations once rolled out and whether some are tempted to remove the human in the loop for some responses.
Themes are generated automatically by Athena to categorise what employees and customers are saying. They uncover trends and blind spots, providing an unbiased view of customer feedback.
Once identified, themes make it easier for employees to identify issues faster and initiate root cause analysis of why a theme is trending. Organisations can also track emerging trends in reporting over time, making it easier to investigate how and why KPIs change.
AI Moderation council
As Medallia continues to innovate, it has created an AI Moderation Council. It will help oversee these innovations and ensure that the company maintains an ethical, responsible, safe, and inclusive approach to AI within its platform.
While Medallia has not indicated who will be members of the councils, it indicates that it will be made up of people from Medallia’s Legal, Privacy & Security, Compliance, Engineering, Product, and Customer organisations. It does not appear that they have yet added any independent expert to the council.
Simonetta Turek, Chief Product Officer at Medallia, commented, “The AI Moderation Council reflects the importance we place on our customers’ data privacy, security, and responsible use of their data. To further these efforts, we are also launching an AI Advisory Board that will include participation from our customer and partner communities, creating a space where the exchange of learnings, challenges, and best practices can be shared, as well as a focus on the responsible and ethical use of AI.”
Enterprise Times: What does this mean
Medallia continues to improve its experience platform, and these are significant, if iterative, functional improvements that take advantage of AI. What will be interesting is seeing how customers leverage these new features and where they are most powerful.
The increase in governance around Medallia’s innovation is also welcome. This is a positive step to have taken. However, it will be interesting to see whether the Council codifies its approach or whether it adopts any framework or best practices, as well as ensuring thefirm meets its legal obligations.