AI in Customer Experience

The modern customer lives in an omnichannel world where everything is connected. Businesses that don’t understand this cannot thrive in a competitive landscape. Yet, some businesses are built around customer engagement paths that are irrelevant to the omnichannel customer.

There are a ton of tools and technology available that allow businesses to provide the kind of service that the modern customer expects. The most recent technology that has piqued everyone’s interest is artificial intelligence (AI). It has proven to be successful when employed to deliver unique experiences to customers.

Artificial intelligence is enabling customers to make informed decisions. With artificial intelligence closely integrated into customer engagement and journey paths, businesses are now able to reinvent the way customers experience the product or service.

Managing customer data is difficult

There is no dearth of choices for customers when they are looking for a software or product. Customer experience is the key differentiator between you and your competitor. To improve or enhance your customer experience, you need to draw insights from data about customer behavior and journey. But with so much information and data lying around from various sources, it can be difficult to make sense of the data.

There are four primary challenges in managing customer data:

Existing data

Even if you do not have multiple sources of data, it is common to encounter data errors and duplicates. As you begin consolidating and synchronizing data from various sources, these errors in existing data become a problem.

Customer relationship management (CRM)

CRM systems comprise of multiple systems and complex workflows. People from various teams’ activities need to be coordinated. The requirements from each of the teams evolve with time.

Everchanging data

Ensuring an accurate and up to date record of every customer in your books can be difficult to achieve. This is because information about customers and their preferences can change over time. In fact, 2% of all customer data becomes stale each month.

Single view

Creating a unified customer view requires integrating data from across each stage in the customer’s journey. This is a mammoth task that isn’t devoid of cracks in the system.

Need for AI in CX

As mentioned earlier, there are multiple customer touchpoints within a customer journey. The data that you gather from each of these touchpoints can get tangled. Easing it down for the average employee can be a nightmare. This data complexity can be easily taken care of by artificial intelligence. It can help you make sense of the data so that you can make decisions that will drive value for your customers.

People in customer-facing roles such as sales executives, customer service representatives, and customer success teams can leverage the insights generated by the AI systems. This way, you can deliver coherent experiences across various channels to your customers.

Building a successful AI application for CX

The successful building of an AI application for customer experience requires three fundamental building blocks – unifying data, delivering real-time insights, having business context. Let us dive into each of these building blocks in detail.

Unifying data

Creating a single customer view is crucial to any kind of behavioral analytics. As we know by now, artificial intelligence thrives on data. The more structured data you have, the better. Though unifying data might seem daunting, there are plenty of tools available that make it easy, quick, and less expensive for you.

Delivering real-time insights

To deliver the most impact on customer experience with the help of AI, you need insights into every touchpoint in the customer journey as and when they occur. This is key to delivering an in-the-moment wow experience to the customer. Most often, companies rely on legacy touchpoint data sources. While APIs fill the gap by pulling all the data in one place, but this isn’t enough.

Bringing business context

Customer journeys and touchpoints are unique to individual businesses. For isolated interactions, it is easy for AI to deliver results. But for holistic, cross-channel journey analytics, it is necessary that AI is provided with context and know the significance of the events that shape the customer’s behavior. With the necessary business context, AI can do more than suggesting the next best action.

Applying artificial intelligence in customer experience

So far, we’ve talked about what goes into building and applying artificial intelligence systems successfully. Let’s now look at some of the popular ways in which AI is applied to improve artificial intelligence.

Customer service

The biggest impact of AI is the transformation of customer service with chatbots and virtual assistants. AI has automated customer service – there is no need for an agent to be by the phone round the clock, neither does the customer have to wait until work hours before dialing in customer service.

Personalization

Businesses can now create personalized experiences for customers that integrate naturally into their everyday lives. AI is enabling businesses to be present where the customer is. This way, the customer does not have to change their way of interacting with companies. The customers feel as if the experience has been tailored specifically for them.

Customer analytics

Drawing insights across multiple and unique customer journeys using legacy analytics tools can be a tiring process. This is restrictive because it limits the usage to only a small set of problems. It hinders the business from discovering new opportunities. However, AI-powered analytics enables businesses to hammer away at complex data and provide insights on future customer behavior (churn) with high accuracy.

Doing it right

Artificial intelligence presents every business with a great opportunity to transform your business into a brand that will be remembered by the customer. It takes you from being a multi-channel enterprise to an omnichannel experience for the end-user. But before you dive into evaluating an AI system for your CX requirements, you need to take the time to understand what problems you are looking to solve. Here are three steps that you need to follow before you make a purchase decision regarding the AI platform:

  • Create a CX strategy and goal
  • Map your customer journeys and analyze them
  • Identify where AI can help you analyze customer sentiments

Always remember that customer experience isn’t a cost center. It is a profit center because it is what sets you apart from your competitors.

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