Guest post by Luke Smith, writer and blogger.
When it comes to marketing and branding, it’s likely you’ve heard the words “customer engagement” thrown around in casual conversation.
Like a secret recipe for success, customer engagement is what every brand wants and what successful brands work hard to retain. And much like a recipe, marketers have found ways to reinvent and experiment with customer engagement. One of the most promising, new methods being worked upon for customer engagement uses Artificial Intelligence (AI).
An infographic by Maryville University reports that by 2020, this year, 85% of digital interactions with consumers will not be handled by humans. This statistic makes a strong case for AI in general. In addition, with the development of chatbots and passive user interfaces, AI can be used to revolutionize customer engagement.
Understanding AI and The Customer Experience
Artificial Intelligence often paints a picture of holograms and Westworld-esque automatons, but the reality of its use is far more approachable. Artificial Intelligence, simply put, is “the simulation of human intelligence in machines,” It enables machines to perform tasks and mimic actions in ways similar to the human mind. This involves everything from learning and decision-making to problem-solving.
Customer experience broadly refers to the interaction between a brand and its consumer, and the impression that interaction leaves. From this comes customer engagement: the emotional connection your customer shares with your brand.
How does AI help ever-evolving customer engagement? Read on and you’ll discover how to integrate AI into your customer engagement model for optimal success.
Benefits of AI in Customer Engagement
We live in an era of personalization — one size fits all and mass advertising is a thing of the past. Customers today want brands to cater to them individually, not just the demographic group they fall into. Appnovation explores how you can use the “4I approach” to use AI to better personalize your customer experience and drive engagement.
- Identify: Capture and analyze the data of potential and known customers and identify certain patterns and touchpoints like location, demographic, social activity, and preferences.
- Integrate: Combine disparate sources of data for a robust, single-view of your customer.
- Intent: Map your customer’s journey and identify touchpoints/scenarios that matter to them so you can remodel your customer engagement methods.
- Imply: Deliver personalized content and evolve the design to meet and adapt to your customers’ changing needs.
Giving your customers a personalized experience is key to your brand’s success. Through a personalized model, customers no longer have to seek out content. Instead, it’s brought straight to them, thereby increasing their satisfaction and engagement.
Automated Life Assistance
AI touches all aspects of the consumer experience. Brands are now using AI assistants like Google Home and Alexa to help consumers schedule transfers, order food before they leave the house, and manage their groceries. AI capabilities have allowed customers to have an automated assistant for many facets of their lives, and AI ensures that customers no longer have to look for convenience — instead, it is brought straight to them.
If you want AI to revolutionize your customer engagement model, it needs real-time insights. This has always been a pain point for businesses, but SaaS (software as a service) platforms and customer analytics services are changing this.
By offering several API options across different customer touchpoints, businesses can now integrate these to drive instant and in-the-moment customer engagement.
Real-time data also allows for better predictive capabilities through analytics. Imagine knowing what a customer wants before they do. Predictive analytics makes this possible. It is a game-changer for customer engagement.
How To Integrate AI into Your Customer Engagement Strategy
We’ve now established that integrating AI in the customer experience is an edge worth investing in, but what does this mean in terms of the next steps for your business? Let’s delve into the different options you can consider when using AI for customer engagement:
- Chatbots: No one wants to stay on the line for four hours waiting for your customer service agent to tell them whether you’ll be open next Sunday or what the benefits of opening an account may be. With AI, businesses can now provide their consumers with 24/7 support through chatbots. As explained by HelpOnClick, AI in chatbots and virtual assistants “mimic the way humans problem solve and make decisions to understand natural conversation and categorize information to correctly answer a customer query.” More evolved chatbots can even gauge human emotions through natural language programming and sentiment analysis and decide when they can’t help, thereby looping in an actual human that can take care of the problem.
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- Pinpoint Recommendations: Good customer engagement is a direct result of insightful communications. Use AI to suggest similar products to help your business create value and lasting customer satisfaction.
- Data Management: Of course not all AI applications are direct-to-customer. An article by Hubspot explores how businesses can couple data tools that collect customer data with your Customer Relations Management model. This will help your team proactively engage with customers. For instance, if someone who regularly uses your app hasn’t logged in in over two weeks, AI software consolidates and gives your team this information. With these insights, your team can reach out to those particular customers for feedback or to help.
- Email Distribution: Businesses are now using AI to identify and tag customer emails based on the tone, words, and subject line. AI can then efficiently categorize these emails into time-sensitive, high priority, complex, and other predetermined categories and then assign them to customer service agents who are best suited for the job.
AI can have a positive impact on customer engagement. Remember: the key is to make AI work for you so that your business can leverage it for efficient and value-driven customer engagement.
Luke Smith is a writer and researcher turned blogger. Since finishing college he is trying his hand at being a freelance writer. He enjoys writing on a variety of topics but technology and digital marketing topics are his favorite. When he isn’t writing you can find him traveling, hiking, or gaming.
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