Artificial intelligence is increasingly seeping into our modern lives. Often it does so without us even realizing it. Virtual assistants are now a staple of many homes, and streaming services like Netflix know what we want to watch next. Soon, driverless cars will be a feature of our roads. Let’s face it: AI is already all around us, and it’s not going anywhere soon. In fact, it’s only going to get more sophisticated.
AI is continually altering the landscape for businesses, too. It is empowering them to streamline processes, boost efficiency and maximize productivity by letting highly intelligent machines share the workload. If you’re a customer-centric business, AI is also an increasingly valuable tool. Especially, when it comes to offering a seamless and deeply personal customer experience. As a retailer, you may already be leveraging the power of AI to boost customer engagement. But are you using it to its full potential?
Here are 7 key ways that AI can help to forge an unforgettable customer experience.
The first step to offering a gratifying customer experience is understanding your customer. Data-driven insights about your customers should provide the basis for your entire sales strategy. From the layout and design of your website to the content and frequency of your marketing campaigns. AI can help leverage valuable, real-time data. This tells you how your customers behave, how they interact with your brand and what resonates with them.
The most effective AI-powered analytics tools don’t just present data and expect you to know what to do with it. Instead, they use that data to actively make recommendations, like untapped opportunities to go after, overlooked issues that need fixing, that sort of thing. A tool like BrightEdge will save precious hours in the day and help offer better, more relevant solutions to your customers using a dynamic algorithm powered by AI.
For a modern business, it pays to be proactive rather than reactive when it comes to customer interaction, and this is certainly one area in which AI technology can be an invaluable asset. AI isn’t just analyzing data about your customers’ past behavior and making relevant recommendations, it’s proactively anticipating what your customer might do next.
Utilizing AI, you can anticipate general customer trends (and tailor your product ranges and your marketing strategies accordingly) or get even more granular and anticipate individual, real-time behavior, so you can step in and offer a tailor-made solution before your customer even asks for it. For example, if your customer has viewed multiple pairs of hiking boots without purchasing a pair, you could send them a buying guide to help them make an informed choice — all through the power of AI.
AI isn’t just invaluable when it comes to understanding your customers and anticipating their needs; it can also highlight pain points or frustrations along the customer journey, and help to alleviate those sticking points by offering effective solutions. By understanding where your customers might be getting stuck (or at least what their primary frustrations might be) you can create a more obstacle-free customer experience.
AI-powered tools like Symanto are facilitating an even more advanced type of sentiment analysis, whereby unstructured data from various consumer conversations, reviews, and social media comments can be turned into valuable and actionable insights, helping you to get a clear and unfiltered picture of what consumers really think about your brand (and highlighting common pain points and gripes in the process).
Two-thirds of customers nowadays expect businesses to understand their unique needs. This highlights the unavoidable importance of personalization. Today, personalization is seen as so imperative to the customer experience that the concept already feels outdated. We’ve already moved on to hyper-personalization (based on an even deeper understanding of customer needs and expectations). This is a concept that is inherently dependent on AI and machine learning.
Personalization is central to the customer experience because it allows you to engage your customer as an individual. With their very specific needs and expectations tailored to. Building on the previous points, AI enables this by mining real-time data and anticipating the customer’s next move. Enabling you to step in and offer a bespoke, relevant solution at exactly the right time. An AI-powered tool like Personalize understands that customer needs are constantly changing, so you’ll have a solution that can adapt and evolve with them.
When they require a solution to a problem or support with a query, they’re going to expect a prompt answer no matter what hour of the day it is. However, if you leave them waiting, and you may lose them to a more agile competitor.
Of course, a traditional customer service team is simply not going to be able to provide instant, 24/7 support around the clock. That’s why we’re seeing an increase in the use of AI-powered automated chatbots. With chatbot software (such as that offered by Crisp), you can respond within seconds. Thus, provide instant solutions to a range of queries, even when your human employees have clocked off for the day!
It’s no longer enough to offer a single avenue for your customer to interact with your business, and vice versa. If you operate in both a physical and a digital environment, it’s important to align your various sales and marketing channels. Thus, ensuring that you can offer your customers a seamless interaction regardless of the platform they’re using. This is what we refer to as an omnichannel experience.
Whether they’re visiting your physical store, browsing your website, or interacting with your latest social media posts, their experience with your brand should be consistent across all touchpoints. AI is making this increasingly achievable. It does so by tracking customer interaction across all channels (and combining that data to create a joined-up customer profile). Thereby, enabling a seamless transition from one platform to the next, offering the right solution, at the right time, and through the right channel.
Though it might not directly impact the customer, AI is continually streamlining and optimizing workflows within the workplace. It cuts down the need for manual tasks, increases productivity, and empowers teams to focus their efforts on more strategic, needle-moving endeavors. For retail-focused businesses, this means more time can be spent working out ways to better serve their valuable customers.
Of course, AI will never completely replace human employees. Unless you've been watching too many sci-fi movies, in which case you might believe that’s a possibility. But it can make their outputs more efficient, reducing the likelihood of burnout or on-the-job stress. A more streamlined, more productive workforce is only going to benefit your customer in the long run.