Leveraging AI as an asset, why businesses shouldn’t be afraid – Shep Hyken

Artificial Intelligence is changing how some companies conduct business, especially in customer service. It may already replace roles in some industries, but is that necessarily bad? On today’s edition of The Small Business Show, we’re joined by Shep Hyken, Customer Service and Experience Expert, Keynote Speaker, and a New York Times and Wall Street Journal Best-Selling Author. Hyken explores how businesses can best elevate their customer service experience using AI. Besides his most recent research, the ACA study focuses on this very topic.


One of Hykens’ favorite written articles, Is AI Going to Take Over the World, serves off the premise of Will Smith’s iRobot movie. While Hyken doesn’t believe that is AI’s future, he notes how employees fear they will lose their jobs because of it. In the customer support world, Hyken asserts, “We interviewed with customer support leaders who said:

  • 9% of those leaders are reducing staff
  • 28% remain the same,
  • 63% are increasing their staff.

Recognizing the connection between doing it independently and eventually talking to a human is essential to Hyken and his team’s research. The Achieving Customer Amazement applies to the digital retail experience, and the number one way customers want to connect is via the phone. Despite popular belief, Hyken believes that in the near future, we can speak with an AI chat, which will respond on the level you understand. Additionally, over the 1,000 customers studied, the research concluded that:

  • 48% of Generation Z prefer the digital experience,
  • 36% of Millennials prefer the digital experience, 
  • 20% of Gen X prefer the digital experience, 
  • 18% of Baby boomers prefer the digital experience. 


Furthermore, with AI, Hyken believes that companies need to teach the consumer how to use the digital channel to start. He adds, “Or they need to incentivize the experience at least.” Just getting the consumer to use the technology can be difficult, but that’s where businesses need to start. Next, business personnel should make AI technology easy and intuitive. “Companies need to recognize ChatGPT is the foundational tipping point of how everybody does anything, in a good way,” says Hyken. However, with this extraordinary access to technology, some concerns arise. For example, when the camera first came out, the art world feared it would take over and leave artists in shambles. Yet, that wasn’t at all the case. “In ten years, we’re going to see exponential growth in utilization of AI, but it won’t change how people want to do business.