Utilizing artificial intelligence for customer journeys
The ability to create a stellar customer experience (CX) can spell the difference between a successful business and one that lags behind the competition. According to a 2019 Forbes report, 96% of customers consider customer service to be an important factor when deciding which brand to purchase. As products and services evolve with technology, businesses will find that they are selling an experience first and foremost. The product or service, while vitally important, often comes in second place.
The changing playing field
COVID-19 completely changed consumer behaviour. As the Fjord Trends 2021 report accurately notes, collective displacement left hundreds of millions of people disconnected from their familiar routines and comforts, with no end in sight. By July 2020, two-thirds of households around the world expected to do most of their socializing from home.
The business world was also disrupted as companies were no longer able to communicate in-person with their clients. Many companies that offered exceptional customer service in the past were unable to provide the same level of service on a virtual platform. Consumers have not gone back to their pre-pandemic habits, and there is no telling when or if they ever will. Companies have had to rapidly adapt to keep pace with evolving customer expectations.
AI tools and CX
When COVID-19 hit, many forward-thinking companies adapted their offerings to ensure customers could have great at-home experiences. Virtual tourism trended as individuals discovered the fun of visiting famous locations from home. Virtual races grew in popularity as people were happy to run at their own pace and on their own schedule instead of attending a large event. There was an increase in telehealth services as patients opted to visit the doctor remotely.
Artificial intelligence enabled companies to tailor their offerings to meet specific needs. Consumers experienced personalized service even though another human was only minimally involved in the process. This is why AI tools are no longer “nice to have,” rather they are a key element of consumer expectations.
Hyper-personalization automates your marketing to enable you to provide a personalized experience to every single potential customer who crosses your path. A supermarket, for instance, can use it to cross-sell products based on an individual’s shopping habits. Alternatively, it can send out timely deals based on when and where a person shops. An online store can use it to develop unique landing pages to attract potential clients based on their geographic location. Other uses include displaying unique deals and offers based on previous activity, and personalizing loyalty programs to drive re-engagement.
Customized service and assistance
What happens when potential customers visit your online store, cannot find what they need and are unable to seek help? It’s possible they may return another day, but it’s more likely they will take their business elsewhere. AI-powered chatbots can solve this problem. These chatbots can simplify and expedite the process for visitors to receive personalized help 24/7.
AI systems aren’t designed to trick your clients into thinking a real person is talking to them; most people can tell the difference between a human and an AI-powered bot. Rather, these systems make it easy for people to get answers quickly even if the company is not able to hire dozens of customer service representatives. If the AI program is unable to answer a question, it can automatically forward the call to a human representative.
Monitoring customer satisfaction in real-time
A whopping 70% of all online shopping carts are abandoned before a purchase is completed, and there are likely as many reasons as there are abandoned carts. One of the best ways to find out why potential customers aren’t completing purchases is to use AI to monitor customer interactions with your site. What pages do customers view before shopping at your online store? Where do customers go after abandoning the online shopping cart? Do a number of visitors from the same region take the same action? With AI, you can find the answers you need to devise a course of action to increase sales and profits.
With AI, analyzing customer interactions with your site will become an ongoing occurrence rather than a periodic event. You’ll not only learn why potential visitors may decide not to shop with you, but also identify what your clients like best about your products and services. You won’t have to spend long hours trying to determine what your target demographic wants, as your visitors’ behaviour will provide clear insight into how to retain and attract customers.
Granted, there are challenges involved with using AI to improve CX. It is important to ensure the algorithms and the data underlying them are as unbiased and representative as possible, in order to approach the ideal customer journey fairly. Your system must be transparent to ensure potential clients feel comfortable with how their data is being used. You’ll also have to take measures to protect your customers’ personal information. Even so, the benefits far outweigh the challenges. AI will never take the place of a savvy online marketer; however, it is an invaluable tool that will help marketers understand what their target audience is looking for and deliver it to them in the format that best meets their expectations.