AI has permeated our lives in a big way. We voice control our homes, TVs, even cars. Little bots inside Netflix nail what we’ll want to watch next, every single time. Amazon always manages to sell an extra product or two, simply by saying – ‘you may also like this’. There are chatbots ready to offer customer support at the weirdest hours, even on Sundays. From personalized email marketing to curated content, AI is increasingly shaping online experiences.
At the same time, there is a fear of AI. Will the rapid adoption of AI lead to a loss of the human experience?
Paradoxically, as AI matures and becomes more powerful and capable, its applications are helping businesses pave and scale customer journeys as a perfect combination of convenience, automation, and a human touch.
“Regardless of industry, it’s only by maintaining a human touch – thinking and seeing the bigger picture – that automation and AI can add the most value to businesses.”
Deborah O’Neill, Partner, Oliver Wyman
Let’s look at five ways AI can help you make customer experiences more human.
1. Personalization – “Context-Aware”
Targeted Research Report by RIS revealed that, despite the remarkable headway made by companies, no retailer is a personalization superstar yet, though Amazon comes close.
To do personalization really well, businesses have to analyze and truly understand customer behavior across multiple touchpoints, several different channels and in hundreds of different contexts. This translates to an immeasurable number of datasets that are messy and disorganized. No human can possibly assess all the data in real-time to predict customer behavior and optimize the experience accordingly, across all those channels.
This is where AI becomes essential. With AI, marketers are now able to not only get more data, but the right data to get personalization and contextual engagement right.
2. Better Customer Service – “Empathetic”
When a customer service representative has access to detailed customer history and context, they are much better capable of helping the customer more efficiently.
AI helps make information and insights accessible to a customer service representative in real-time. With all that knowledge, they can better understand what a customer needs and deliver the right solutions faster. More importantly, they can do so in a more empathetic manner, as they now have the context to actually put themselves in the customer’s proverbial shoes.
Also helpful is the fact that with the integration of chatbots, more basic customer issues can be resolved by bots, leaving more critical and strategic issues for humans to solve. This clears the path for reps to devote more time to improving the customer experience and helping customers who truly need a human’s assistance.
3. Seamless Journeys in Omnichannel Retail – “Attentive”
With omnichannel becoming the widespread norm, businesses must get cracking on seamless journeys. A customer could be shopping online or offline, on a mobile or a desktop or in your store in New York one day and New Jersey the next day. No matter where the customer goes, every interaction with your brand must feel tailored and personalized.
AI can help businesses provide sophisticated omnichannel experiences by creating detailed customer personas, recording their preferences, history, and journeys across channels so the customer receives personalized treatment irrespective of the channel. Bundle price offers, loyalty discounts and other collateral can be used across channels, helping customers feel like a part of the brand family no matter where they go.
4. Intelligent Marketing Automation – “Adaptive”
Open rates too low on your marketing emails? Maybe your emails need to get more specific and relevant to the customer.
AI can help create extremely personalized, human-centric emails, addressing a customer’s very concerns and interests. AI-driven emails show customers individually curated content and products based on the analysis of the massive number of datasets accrued across all interactions this customer has had with the brand. It helps you write relevant copy, determine the best time to send out an email and even the perfect subject line to use.
5. Curated Products – “Caring”
Today’s leading online businesses are doing a fairly good job of offering curated shopping experiences, evolving with each visit of the customer. However, AI holds immensely more potential to improve curated experiences for each individual customer.
AI digital assistants along with machine learning can parse through billions of data points to perform propensity modeling and determine not just the type of product that the customer desires. It can assess the customer’s lifestyle and determine the product attributes that matter most to each customer.
Is this person interested in the latest and most trendy products or rather something that is timeless and long lasting? AI helps assess all these individual preferences, helping businesses create hyper-curated customer experiences that make customers feel that you care.
The dominance of AI is inevitable and businesses that are able to successfully harness its powers are the ones that will manage to keep their customers. AI is not meant to replace humans but to help businesses create better experiences for humans by humans. Technology makes us more competitive, but how you use it is what makes your business unique.