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The 'A' Word

Saturday, February 02, 2019

Urvi Mehta, Marketing & Corporate Communications Head-Excelra, Hyderabad

Artificial Intelligence-AI is disrupting the traditional models of customer engagement. Personalized and cost-effective experiences have become the key drivers to increase RoI. Customer interaction and relationships are creating unique experiences. By 2020, 85% of customer interactions will be managed without a human state a Gartner study. Data combined with technology is a game changer, and marketers will see a shift in their roles to focus more on a strategy based on actionable insights from large data.

This article highlights the areas of customer service that has seen a radical by the implementation of AI.

1.Cost & Quality of Customer Service
Companies invest approximately USD 8000 or more to hire and train one customer service agent. This comes with a high risk of attrition. Chat-bots and virtual assistants play an important role in servicing consumers. They perform 24X7, 365 days a year with just one training, making the experience only better as the machine learns from the depth of consumer data and behaviour.

Another innovation in the last decade has been virtual assistants. These are intuitive and automated that can be used across digital channels via text or voice formats.
They have the potential to decipher various commands and deliver precise answers. The machines continuously analyze the responses and improve the accuracy over time. Virtual assistants like Siri, Alexa and google home, save time and efforts by taking care of repetitious tasks.

2.    Innovative shopping experience
Not too long ago, customers had immense patience and were okay with spending a whole day, browsing through over 50 shops to buy a pair of jeans. Today's customer has evolved. With large data, it is easy for the machine to predict, the choice of the brand, the style, and the price a customer is willing to pay.

AI-based recommendation engines leverage the magnitude of data on the customer preferences and his past purchase history, amongst others to provide the customer with personalized recommendations. This can also predict what and when a customer might need based on his behavior patterns. The machine throws out recommendations that would target the customer with the right message at the right time.

One such innovation is visual searches, which similar to that of Pinterest that connects the buyer to his desire. While this is not the only outcome, visual searches take the shopping experience to the next level, recommending similar styles and brands to make sure the customer does not leave without a sale.

3.    Personalization of experience
With time, customer behavior has evolved significantly. The rise in expectations for better experience has amplified by 10X. Mass targeting is outmoded. Luckily for marketers, it’s now possible to deliver on consumers’ increasing expectations. Marketing automation platforms that use artificial intelligence and machine learning collects and analyses consumer data to craft detailed consumer profiles. Marketers can leverage these profiles and create highly targeted, personalized content, campaigns, incentives, and experiences. AI helps in customer segmentation, messaging, preferred channels and time to target to gain the maximum interest of the customer.

Marketers will have to leverage the power of AI to survive the pace of competition. Data scientists will become an integral part of every marketing team, making data science a keycapability. The lack of knowledge on the right use of AI and Machine Learning can be a huge cost for the organisation. *Gartner advises leaders responsible for enabling AI initiatives to follow this three steps process: First, build AI right, then use AI right and ultimately keep AI right (*Source: Gartner).

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