Could there be value lying dormant in your company? Claire Fastier gives three examples of AI unlocking efficiency and opening avenues for your customer like never before.
Artificial intelligence is everywhere. From Google’s Arts and Culture app – which uses facial recognition technology to match selfies to thousands of artworks—to Pizza Hut’s plans for driverless pizza delivery.
In Australia, AI is hot on the agenda. The Federal Government’s 2018-19 budget revealed a $29.9 million investment over the next four years to strengthen Australia’s capability in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning – and a recent report from AlphaBeta reveals that Australia could reap a $2.2 trillion opportunity by 2030 with greater investment in AI.
The application of AI to improve customer experience is particularly on the rise. In fact, this year the Consumer Electronic Show (CES), held in Las Vegas and possibly the most notable conference in the world for showcasing the latest in consumer technology, featured its first ever Artificial Intelligence Marketplace to showcase the latest innovations designed to perform human tasks.
Products ranged from big data analytics to speech recognition to advanced decision making to predictive technology. Many of these solutions are already being leveraged by great companies to add a magic touch to their services.
The question you should be asking yourself is: are you taking advantage of this? If not, here are three ways you can apply AI, and examples of companies which have done so effectively, to improve customer experience right now.
1. Automate simple customer interactions
There’s nothing less efficient than bogging down highly-skilled, highly-paid employees with basic tasks. Emerging technology in artificial intelligence can automate simple interactions, allowing your people to focus on more complex and nuanced customer interactions.
Gartner predicts that 95% of customer interactions will be driven by AI by 2025, leveraging chatbots and mobile messaging to complete simple tasks. A strong local example of this is superannuation firm AustralianSuper, which launched its chatbot, ‘Ash’, earlier this year and has seen more than 50,000 messages sent, achieving a 92% overall customer satisfaction rate.
Over in the US, supermarket chain Kroger announced its new Kroger Edge technology, which, among other things, will enable the company to instantly change prices and activate promotions on digital displays, freeing up employees who would otherwise change prices by hand.
This sort of automation can deliver a more consistent experience and a huge financial impact according to Juniper Research, which estimates cost savings of more than US$8 (AU$11.27) billion annually by 2022, up from US$20 (AU$28.19) million in 2017.
2. Augment your service employees
Another powerful application of AI is within your own organisation. By leveraging solutions that enable you to proactively anticipate customers’ needs and engage on an emotional level, customer experiences will shift from mundane to exceptional.
Some of the world’s largest retail, hospitality and financial services brands, for example, use InMoment’s AI-powered technology to analyse unstructured (text-heavy) data and surface critical information when action is needed. Being able to pinpoint and act accordingly when customers are unhappy or in need of assistance is critical if you are to maintain and develop strong customer relationships.
3. Enrich your existing data
Finally, you can take all the data you have and put it to new use. As Peter Norvig, director of research at Google, notes, “there are a lot of places where AI simply lets companies use their data better, and AI usage is largely invisible to the customer. Retail sites, for instance, can observe the products people are viewing, and use that data to begin suggesting other, more relevant products to them than was previously possible.”
Recently, in addition to making targeted content suggestions, Netflix began tailoring the ‘cover art’ associated with a recommended movie or TV show, based on the user’s viewing history.
For example: the image displayed for a romantic comedy (I’m partial to The Truth About Cats and Dogs), will either play to the ‘romance’ or the ‘comedy’ of the film.
Or, it may feature the image of an actor who starred in other movies you’ve watched. For what it’s worth, Stranger Things has nine different cover art options.
There’s more need – and competition – than ever to deliver meaningful and powerful customer experiences. Fortunately, technology like AI is helping bridge the gap, creating more value for both companies and customers, and allowing brands the opportunity to truly differentiate on customer experience.