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Peace of mind is precious for customers. After all, people pay for new products or services to make their lives easier, not more complicated. The experience of dealing with a brand shouldn’t be too long or painful either, especially in an age where people can access any information in seconds and on any number of connected devices.
Just look at how the proliferation of mobile apps has led to over-saturation, and to customers whittling their apps down to the few that genuinely improve their lives.
And yet, many companies still play the customer experience game the same way they would play whack-a-mole, scrambling to address peoples’ needs as they pop up instead of building a system that empowers customers to help themselves. Just look at how the proliferation of mobile apps has led to over-saturation, and to customers whittling their apps down to the few that genuinely improve their lives.
That’s why the rise of AI and chatbots is so appealing. These technologies are opening up the door to a faster and more intuitive user experience, and there are two major reasons for this:
1) AI and chatbots put digital interactions in customers’ hands, rather than forcing people to rely on brands to answer their questions or help them complete a purchase.
2) Intelligent software “learns” from each customer interaction and adapts, putting brands in a position to constantly improve the experience they deliver.
We’ve grown to understand our websites, mobile apps and service centres as point solutions, but customers don’t see things the same way. Each platform is simply another window into the same brand, and from the modern customer’s perspective there’s no reason why dealing with a company via smartphone should be any harder than on a computer or in person.
Why should I have to wait on hold when I call customer service if a chatbot can instantly answer the same questions online? How can the targeted adverts I see on Facebook still be promoting an item I’ve already bought from the same brand?
“It’s time to sync up our digital customer experiences, and that requires software that is not only intelligent but also adaptive.”
It’s time to sync up our digital customer experiences, and that requires software that is not only intelligent but also adaptive. It requires a system that can automatically learn from each person’s behaviour across every touch-point, and that combines this information with third-party data to help brands make their services more intuitive and relevant.
This may sound like AI, but it actually goes a step further. It’s in fact a case of data science and machine learning being combined to add a new layer of understanding to previously “passive” touch-points.
Personalisation has traditionally been predicated on first party data, with brands tailoring their communications or offers to what they know about each user’s behaviours, preferences, location, and so forth. As we move towards more adaptive software, companies will draw from a much wider pool of information. For example, when a customer is booking their holiday villa through an online travel merchant, the company could draw on weather forecasts, flight comparison sites, and the user’s own interests to suggest appropriate clothing, the cheapest flight, and even a tourist itinerary.
We’re still in the visionary stage of adaptive software, but it is already being explored as a way to enhance existing applications. For instance, a 14 year old wunderkind recently developed “Christopher Bot”, a homework reminder system that works directly within users’ existing calendar apps.
Whenever a new technology comes on stream, companies are tempted to release their own version as quickly as possible. The current kneejerk response of “let’s build a bot” is certainly driving activity in artificial intelligence today, but this is the same approach that led us to an oversaturated app market.
“Instead of jumping headfirst into new technologies, businesses should take this opportunity to think strategically about the value they want to offer customers.”
Instead of jumping headfirst into new technologies, businesses should take this opportunity to think strategically about the value they want to offer customers and determine what changes they need to make internally to deliver those improvements. The result will be better services for the people they serve and greater peace of mind for both parties.