As we move ahead in digital transformation, the cream of the customer-centric crop will rise to the top, finding new and better ways use AI to serve their customer base while also improving efficiencies. Indeed, a recent study showed nine in 10 of surveyed companies are enhancing their AI services. When it comes to tech and humanity, we’re seeing a huge push to use AI to serve the people—to make the customer journey smoother, more enjoyable, faster, and available 24/7. So, how to brands use AI to improve business? The following are just a few ways.
Global Brands Use AI to Improve Business: Creating Intimacy
While many people associate AI with process efficiency, one of the most important ways brand leaders are using AI right now is to create a sense of “intimacy” with their customers. This is because there is a greater push—daily—for personalization of customer shopping experiences. Today’s customer wants you to tailor the shopping experience for them. They want you to know what kind of clothes they like—when they like to shop—and when they need an incentive to click the “buy” button. As with most things with AI, that means a great focus on data. This heightened level of personalization is a cat that can’t be put back in the bag, in my opinion. Today’s customers are getting so used to this type of service that we’ll only be seeing more intimate shopping experiences in the future. (Granted, there is a line where personalization borders on creepy, and I think we’ll start to see a clearer delineation there in the coming year.)
Global Brands Use AI to Improve Business: Creating Efficiency
That’s not to say efficiency isn’t also a top priority. The study showed that of those surveyed, 90 percent saw an improvement in customer complaint resolution. Whether you’re using chat bots or people to help those customers doesn’t matter. The fact is 90 percent of companies are wasting less of their time dealing with customers who aren’t happy. And you know what else? That increase in customer complaint resolution means customers are also happier in dealing with these companies because they get the complaints resolved faster! (See “Creating Satisfaction” below.) The time they save can be rolled into improving the customer journey. Rest assured, the most successful companies will also be using AI to increase efficiency internally—creating a more agile workplace that can better respond to customers’ changing needs.
Global Brands Use AI to Improve Business: Creating Satisfaction
Some 80 percent of those surveyed showed significant improvements in service delivery, customer satisfaction, and call center performance. Aren’t those things every company would like to improve in? The thing I want to stress is that customer satisfaction isn’t just about whether a company was happy with the transaction they had with your product. It has to do with the entire journey they had in buying and using it. Was it easy to get around your website or store? Was checkout easy? Shipping quick? Did customer service solve their problem the first time they contacted them? All of these things play into customer satisfaction, and the smartest companies are using AI at every step of the customer journey. What they’re finding is that AI can turn a negative experience into a positive one—on its own—in real time—if we let it.
When it comes to how brands use AI to improve business, it’s important to note that for most of these companies, according to this survey specifically, operational costs actually went up with their use of AI—not down, as you might assume. Still, taking a long view, I think the ones who invest well in AI will absolutely be the companies with the highest profit margins and most efficient processes. It will just take some time for the return on tech investment to be proven.
The original version of this article was first published on Futurum.
Daniel Newman is the Principal Analyst of Futurum Research and the CEO of Broadsuite Media Group. Living his life at the intersection of people and technology, Daniel works with the world’s largest technology brands exploring Digital Transformation and how it is influencing the enterprise. From Big Data to IoT to Cloud Computing, Newman makes the connections between business, people and tech that are required for companies to benefit most from their technology projects, which leads to his ideas regularly being cited in CIO.Com, CIO Review and hundreds of other sites across the world. A 5x Best Selling Author including his most recent “Building Dragons: Digital Transformation in the Experience Economy,” Daniel is also a Forbes, Entrepreneur and Huffington Post Contributor. MBA and Graduate Adjunct Professor, Daniel Newman is a Chicago Native and his speaking takes him around the world each year as he shares his vision of the role technology will play in our future.