Customer Experience is the new marketing battlefront – Chris Pemberton, Gartner
Have you ever been in a situation where you are trying hard to get past the automated telesystems in search of a real-life human being, to help you find a solution for your problem? Everybody who has tried contacting the customer support of their cell phone service has been in this mess at least once. It applies to the customer support of other services or product companies as well. Customers are made to navigate a maze-like menu through automated telephone systems before they can reach a human being to answer them.
As a matter of fact, customers have so little confidence in these electronic humans that a few weeks after the website www.gethuman.com showed how to reach live person quickly for at least 10 major consumer sites, it was only a matter of time before instructions for 400 more came in!!
This is just a small example of how companies handle customer experience in general. While
Customer experience contains each and every aspect of a company’s offering—the quality of customer care, of course, but also advertising, packaging, product and service features, ease of use, and reliability, many people responsible do not realise how their separate decisions mould customer experience.
What is Customer Experience?
Customer experience is an internal and subjective response that the customers have, to any direct or indirect contact with a company.
But what exactly are these direct & indirect contacts?
Direct contact usually occurs during the course of purchase, use or service and is usually generated by the customer.
Indirect contact on the other hand involves unplanned encounters with products services or brands that represent a company and moulds into a form of recommendations or criticism in the form of word-of-mouth, advertisements, news reports and so on.
Role of Artificial Intelligence?
While AI is making great progress in making its way into business processes across verticals, a recent research indicates that the greatest impact of AI can be seen in the field of customer experience. Artificial Intelligence provides an intelligent, convenient and an informed customer experience by leveraging customer data and interactions. What more is AI capable of?
Hey! Hello There!
Gone are those days when you had to wait for your turn for the next available agent to help you with a problem with a product or a service. With Artificial Intelligence, companies have started incorporating chatbots and other virtual assistants to greet you, and answer some of the most common customer service questions. Way back in 2011, Gartner predicted that by the end of 2020, 85 % of the interactions with the customers will not be handled by humans. I’m guessing this number might soon be 100%!
With Artificial Intelligence driven chatbots eliminating the need to wait for a longer time to get your problems resolved, customers can now get in and out in a flash without even interacting with another human being!
Zero is Greater Than One
Artificial Intelligence plays a massive role in helping businesses create experiences that integrate with the day to day activities of a customer. AI driven intelligent predictions & customizations ensure that customers do not take an extra step ( or an extra click) thus resulting in a change in their pattern of communication, especially when they are engaging with certain brands in order to fulfill their requirements.
For example, companies have access to individual shopping inventories and the behaviour of the individual customer to ensure that goods are delivered even before the customer realizes that he is running low. Another brilliant example is of self-driven cars that will use the data in the form of past behaviour with respect to the preferred routes for daily commute and optimize based on the AI’s knowledge about vehicular movements and traffic congestions.
An emotion driven ( possible, yes!! ) AI will do a great job with predictive personalization, reducing the number of clicks a customer requires to get what he needs, to ZERO!
Voices, Visuals & More
I’m sure everyone were impressed by Google’s recent keynote. They showcased some of their best products and how these products would change the day-to-day lifestyle of a normal human being. But the most impressive piece in that keynote was Google Assistant. With improved understanding of the customer’s behaviour, the AI driven assistant can actually book you an appointment for a haircut ( can even reschedule it ) with just a voice command.
Visual engagements along with voice and text based actions help companies analyze the emotions & sentiments involved in different type of communications. Artificial Intelligence based algorithms then determine how to provide a seamless customer experience based on the recent behaviour.
Analysing Data Like Never Before
Artificial Intelligence plays a key role in helping companies obtain actionable insights about a customer and his behaviour pattern. Companies then feed these data into CRM, marketing automation tools and other operational tools that help improve customer engagement.
Facial/fingerprint recognition software, text analytics, machine learning and other AI driven tools allow companies to know their customers’ needs and help them make informed decisions in real-time. Since AI can handle a much larger and complex data sets, this also makes way for many more business opportunities.
AI will play a crucial role in helping businesses use this “treasure trove” of customer context available to them through every digital interaction, whether it’s through their website, email or a modern messaging app.
After All, Humans are required too
Chatbots, visual/voice driven assistants, and everything else is quite interesting in today’s world. However, when you sit down in front of a computer and ask for recommendations on “Where should I take my partner for her birthday this weekend?” or “Are there any options for my insurance policy?” you do not expect an algorithm generated response. Instead you would prefer talking to a professional who has experience in building these kinds of experiences.
This is the most important factor of AI’s future. If the present version of AI is focused on replacing the human interaction, the future of AI lies in assisting and not replacing the service professionals, and make the entire experience a seamless one for the customer in question.
From repetitive and mundane tasks to predictive analytics across multiple industries, Artificial intelligence has the capability and the intelligence of human thought but at a larger scale. As AI evolves, it puts forward endless opportunities to combine huge volumes of customer data to create complex customer journey analytics, simplify interactions and deliver a seamless customer experience. The levels of sophistication have increased with the evolution of customer experience and the customer journey has become much more diverse, spread out across different channels and devices. AI can be the missing link between your customers and your business.
Working as a Marketing Manager at Specbee since 2016, Shriganesh Hegde loves drafting digital strategies and creating content for the company blog & various other global platforms. An avid follower of the latest technology trends, he covers the good & bad of tech in his blogs.