Today’s consumers inhabit an omnichannel world. Unfortunately, many companies fail to realize this and force people who consider themselves evolved onto paths of customer engagement that fail to meet their needs and feel antiquated. These businesses must move to the next level if they hope to attract people to their brand and then build a sense of loyalty to keep them there.
Artificial intelligence (AI) could be just the solution for companies looking for a convenient, informed, and intelligent way to connect with customers during any part of their buying journey. The result of implementing AI in this manner is an improved journey for customers that feels more personal and integrated. The entire experience will feel more natural and less forced for them.
AI is nothing short of a game-changer for the entire customer experience (CX). It’s important for businesses to understand how AI applies to the CX as well as research companies already benefiting from implementing AI into their CX.
Why Businesses Need to Include AI as Part of the Customer Experience
No business can afford to overlook the importance of CX. It is what drives growth during successful periods as well as the greatest risk when things aren’t going as well. To enhance the CX, companies should consider incorporating data insights as a primary marketing tool. However, businesses must also realize that customers often exhibit chaotic behavior and that datasets are often scattered and incomplete. Undefined rules makes for ambiguous criteria to measure success. Datasets for the CX can truly be a nightmare for developers of AI.
Despite the complexity of customer data sets, AI can provide critical insights into the CX. Call center professionals and other sales personnel who serve customers directly currently have no way to understand the entire history of a customer and to glean the most important insights all while speaking to the customer in real time.
It’s not possible to manually program automated systems with every potential rule relating to the history of every customer. That means that providing a streamlined CX across every touchpoint requires AI developers to uncover patterns from numerous points of data. This is how AI thrives.
How to Implement AI Successfully to Improve the CX
The ability to implement and apply AI into the CX requires the use of all three of the following:
Unification of Data
This concept is essential for any brand that wishes to analyze customer behavior effectively. The more information provided to AI, the richer the insights it can provide. What was once an overwhelming task is now possible to complete quickly and with minimal expense.
Customer journey software programs that offer a platform for analytics makes it possible to complete the data unification task for a small percentage of what it would have cost to obtain services from dedicated data providers before AI came on the scene. Some data integration even comes to companies at no cost. The simpler sources enables companies to put sets of data together within one to three days. It’s no longer the dreaded and tedious chore that it once was.
Delivery of Insights in Real Time
Before AI can impact the CX, the insights it provides need to be available to customers at every touchpoint of their journey. The ability to integrate all touchpoints is crucial to engaging customers in real time.
The typical platform offering SaaS includes APIs as well at the ability to integrate data from several third parties. In fact, they consider an essential aspect of proposing value to their clients. It would make things easier on marketing teams if all data from touchpoints was available directly from APIs, but that is not reality yet.
Besides extensive data streams available through SaaS, most companies depend on several sources of touchpoint data. This includes things like customer care, payment platforms, product interfaces, and point-of-sale systems. The patchwork of sources makes it challenging to provide actionable insights in real time.
Analytics platforms for tracking customer journeys now include multiple API options to help pull all of this data together. Integrated touchpoint data in real time is highly valuable and doesn’t cost as much as businesses might assume.
AI delivers results for isolated and simple interactions by understanding the basic functions of campaigns and emails. CallSumo’s CRM platforms and web analytics use this reality to their advantage. However, customer journeys across multiple channels would be an outdated notion when relying on touchpoints from similar product categories.
The journey of each customer is as unique as fingerprints. Companies need to understand their own touchpoint sets as well as the method they use for implementing these types of engagement for the CX.
AI requires context before it can deliver any type of value. Context in this sense refers to more than labeling interactions such as order fulfillment and inbound customer calls. AI needs to know why these events are significant and how they shape the behavior of the customer. To achieve this, it needs to know the touchpoints and journey that shaped KPIs and the impact of behavior by the customer. The behavior could be related to customer satisfaction, profitability, lifetime value of a customer, revenue, or similar factors.
After obtaining this data, AI goes beyond simply finding the best action to take next or the preferred customer audience. Appropriate business context means that AI locates tactics and touchpoints that help to determine customer behavior as is relates to the way that the business primarily measures its performance.
The Application of AI to Improve the Customer Experience
Once you understand what it requires to apply AI successfully to the CX, it’s time to learn more about specific applications and how AI uses them to disrupt a variety of aspects of CX by bringing together real-time insights, unifying all data, and incorporating context in business.
A Big Change to Customer Service
The biggest effect of AI will likely be the transformation of customer service to a hassle-free and automated experience. As mentioned above, call center professionals, sales personnel, and others who serve customers directly have no way of knowing, much less understanding, the entire previous history of a customer before the current conversation. The good news is that AI makes it entirely possible. Here’s how:
Powered by AI, a chat bot is an automated customer service agent used in a variety of settings. Chat bots mimic interactions between humans and offer immediate and personalized responses to customers 24 hours a day. This capability eliminates the inevitable and frustrating delay as well as potential errors when handling customer concerns and complaints.
Virtual assistants operated by AI can answer questions as well as obey commands. It can even offer personal shopping assistance to online customers. It does this by asking simple questions and directing customer to the right location.
Eliminate Clicks with Predictive Personalization
Thanks to AI, businesses can create naturally integrative experiences that coincide with the everyday lives of customers. It won’t be necessary for consumers to change the way they normally communicate when speaking with a brand representative. Intelligent customization and prediction will give customers the impression that the company tailored every experience solely for them.
AI makes it possible for companies to evaluate the inventories of individual shoppers as well as their unique behaviors as a consumer. This allows them to do such things as send certain items to the customer’s home before he or she runs out of it. It will also be easier for customers to request help from AI technology because it will have emotions that enable a smoother and better streamlined CX across every channel.
Customer Analytics Powered by AI Offer Rich Insights
It’s an optimal experience for the customer when a company remembers him or her and provides individualized attention, consideration, and respect from the start to the end of the journey. This is possible thanks to the ability to mine insights from more than a billion individual customer journeys quickly and efficiently. This task was previously overwhelming due to its tedious nature.
The beauty of customer analytics enabled by AI is that it can comb through vast and complex sets of data to uncover new opportunities for business you didn’t know existed. This gives you the chance to prioritize the most useful insights without having to sift though large volumes of data yourself.
AI in this situation can uncover every relationship that exists within the data without anyone needing to program it to do so. That means it can predict how a customer might act in the future with a high degree of accuracy as well as find the inhibitors and drivers behind performance metrics.
Implementing AI to analyze the customer journey provides answers to CX questions such as:
- What behavior by customers indicate a churn or a similar future outcome?
- What actions has your team taken to improve the CX that have most successful or most unsuccessful outcomes?
- Who are the ideal customers to spend your time interacting with to ensure your outreach sees maximum impact?
B2B Companies and AI Implementation
B2B businesses can benefit just as much as B2C by introducing the concept of AI into the CX. Tools enabled by AI automate customer-facing tasks to enhance CX and boost productivity to unprecedented levels.
AI can create new data where none previously existed and predict future behavior of customers based on this data. A good example of this is Einstein, the AI technology used by Salesforce. Einstein analyzes conversations with customers as they occur and applies algorithms from machine learning to better understand the customer perspective. The AI technology alerts sales managers when an opportunity arises in real time to improve the CX, upsell or cross-sell, or solve a problem for a customer.
Bringing All the Parts Together
AI gives marketers the opportunity to convert multi-channel and multi-siloed enterprises into one persona that understands, remembers, and responds to achievements and challenges of the customer in personalized ways. Using the tool called One Voice allows for a meaningful, rather than a purely mechanical, interaction.
However, it can present a challenge in deciding the right way to start development and processes to collect the most useful customer data. It also requires the building of AI models and algorithms. Many businesses find it nearly impossible to accomplish such a task without the benefit of outside help. This is due to the need to create new apps, capabilities, and systems because some disparate systems are not ready for AI implementation. Many business owners are just now realizing that AI can dramatically improve the CX. The problem is that they have no idea how to get started.
Thankfully, our AI-based platform analytics for the customer journey deliver customer experiences that will make a quick and memorable impact. The time has passed to move customer engagement out of the cost center and realize that it’s a smart investment in customer loyalty and behavior. AI can enhance customer engagement significantly for those who are willing to invest in it.