AI Perspectives – Ryan Burke, Roblox

To continue our blog series highlighting AI / Customer Experience with influential industry leaders, I had the privilege of chatting with the Director of Customer Experience at Roblox, Ryan Burke. Roblox is currently one of the most popular online game platforms. Not many knew about the platform in its early stages, launching in 2006, but after many additions and tweaks, it started to grow in popularity around 2016. In 2020, the system took the gaming world by storm adding around 50 million monthly active users and 5 million active creators. By 2022, Roblox ended up reporting $2.23 billion in revenue for the fiscal year. With Roblox having such an incredible success story and the challenge of serving clients due to the platform being fully digital and 100% online, I was extremely excited to gain Ryan’s perspective of AI. Ryan started her career 20 years ago working for a contact center SaaS analytics company. She is heavily immersed in emerging technologies and has had a successful career where she held leadership roles at numerous Fortune 500 and start-up companies. 

Ryan believes AI will change the face of support. She stated, “When I think about support, proactive and reactive, I think about scalability and accuracy. Scalability of being able to actually provide more to customers faster. For accuracy, I think proactive. For example… the technology can accurately identify problems before they actually become problems and is capable of accurately solving them. For me, it’s all about being able to scale support and increase the level of accuracy provided with that scale.” Ryan notes that investments in AI will enable companies to get to this state. 

To make AI truly work in a support environment, Ryan emphasized “I think what it comes down to is the implementation and the investment a company is willing to make.” Ryan kept emphasizing those two words throughout our entire discussion – Implementation and Investment.  “I think (AI) has the opportunity to improve the customer experience in reducing customer effort to get what they need.” She explained, “It’s about the implementation which directly impacts that customer experience. Half-baked investment will definitely impact the customer experience. It will frustrate your customers and it really comes down to how much you care.” When other leaders are considering the application of AI, Ryan based her advice around effort. “It’s all-around effort,” she said, “I think effort from the customer and effort from companies. The effort the customer must put in to get an inquiry or an issue resolved and then the effort the company has to put forward to be able to do that for the customer.” Ryan compared implementing AI to the introduction of mobile apps. She stated, “It was very clear which companies invested in that technology, making the mobile app robust and actually made it work for their customers, and which did not. After all the investment, (customers) contacted your support team anyway if not thought through.” 

Ryan clearly portrayed herself as an advocate for AI, but also addressed some fears others may have. She mentioned these fears come from customers, companies, and the employees of those companies. There are worries about data security, customer experience, and job security to name a few. That being said, Ryan made it clear these concerns are not new. With her experience, she knows organizations always have fear about emerging technologies. In regard to learning more about the implementation of AI, Ryan warns, “These discussions have to be at the forefront of everything these companies do. For companies who don’t bake this in, from ideation throughout the development and execution life cycle, they are probably going to run into trouble. CX and AI go hand-in-hand.”

Ryan is no stranger to enhancing customer experience. Throughout her career, she has dedicated her efforts to this cause and knows this is no new topic. When thinking about emerging support technologies in the market Ryan shared, “Traditionally, there has been a focus towards improving agent performance. (There has been) a lot of technologies around improving agent performance, monitoring agent performance, and extracting insights to understand performance. I am really curious how that will evolve knowing the world of purely driven human support is going to start to go away. Companies need the right foundation for AI to be plug and play.”

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