Forward looking statements on customer engagement enabled by Artificial Intelligence
By : Pravin Vijay
Assistant Vice President-Marketing
B2C firms across industries have often been criticized for inconsistent customer experience. According to The Economic Times, 63.5% of the Telcos are currently focusing on making new technology investments, mainly on modern AI and analytics applications to enhance customer experience. The remaining 31.5% is still banking on upgrading legacy systems to achieve it.
It has been proven that Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning can help enterprises to gain deeper insights into customer behavior and intent at scale and in real-time too, which in turn can better customer engagement. Here are my four forward looking statements on customer engagement. And thanks to the advancements we have made in AI and automation technologies, these goals do not sound too futuristic or unrealistic.
Engage ahead of time
Enterprises are used to reacting to situations; customer service processes and teams are designed and trained to operate in reactive mode. ‘Engage on time’ has been the ultimate goal for the last few years. Engaging ahead of time has never been a part of the game. Partly, it is due to lack of ways and means to access data and predict customer issues or needs which is fundamental to enabling proactive engagement. This will change with the capability of AI and Machine Learning to do predictive analytics at scale, analyzing voluminous and varied data in real time to come up with accurate predictions on customer issues and needs. So, next time for example in a banking context, even before the customer realizes that his/her quarterly account balance is going low, or his investment portfolio returns are dipping, necessary action will be initiated to proactively address it.
Deliver experience as per the need of the moment
In the highly competitive world, retaining customers is the most critical goal for enterprises; delivering the right experience is the key to retaining customers. However, customer experience is not a static one, it can change as per the context. For example, you may not want an Uber ride that is expected to come in 10 minutes, where as it will do for your usual trip back home. Customer data can be mined with AI tools to understand these context driven experience attributes more accurately so as to deliver the desired experience. Thanks to big data analytics and AI technologies, you can customize the ‘experience’ to your millions of customers.
Engage one to one remotely
The treasure trove of customer data provides unparalleled insights about their behaviour. The customers’ digital footprint can reveal information about their lifestyle, travel patterns, etc. They talk a lot of each customer’s interests and preferences that can be collectively coined as ‘persona’. Devising an engagement plan and offering them products and services tailored to each customer’s persona (like a music lover or sports enthusiast or frequent traveler, etc.) can lead to more favorable customer responses and thus profitable relationships. Also, it would move customers towards becoming loyal brand advocates, especially in the online world. Add to this AI-enabled virtual agents that can even have more personalized, natural, human like conversations with customers.
Deliver uniform experience everywhere
Based on a study by Marketing Week, customers nowadays use an average of almost six touch-points like social media, websites, Chatbots, self-care apps, customer care centers and kiosks with nearly 50% regularly using more than four. Omni-channel engagement can even have cross-channel interactions like customer initiating a conversation or one channel and completing it later on another. To stay on top, service providers need to keep consumers engaged with consistent, contextualized and personalized experiences on these channels and touch points. Here again AI and analytics are key enablers for making this happen.
Opting for Artificial Intelligence is beneficial for both, enterprises and customers. Delivering services in a contextual and personalized way will enable enterprises to attract new customers, maintain existing ones and maximize market share amidst intense competition.