Artificial Intelligence Enhancing Customer Experience

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is changing the way all businesses are interacting with their customers. This holiday season is the beginning of the future for how organization will leverage AI to better create digital experiences for customers. The impact that AI going to have on the consumer shopping experience will be future defining.  Setting the bar for how we truly understand the behavior and connection with consumers.

This is an exciting period for CIOs and CEOs, but also for customers and consumers across the world. We’ve see the big shift to over the years to online shopping, which means there is an increase in the amount of data organizations can use to understand their business and enhance the consumer’s shopping experience. This year, is different, as the opportunity to use AI to improve consumer experience is readily available in many platforms.  These AI platforms create opportunities for business to use not only accessible data, but also to put obscure data to use for the first time.

Top brands are using artificial intelligence to enhance customer experience in almost every business.  The virtual hotel staff and bank assistants have moved the imagination to customer experience fact.  However, the systems that analyze customers’ data to give truly personalized interactions must avoid the appearance of being intrusive.  Although AI has been around for over 50 years, it has made some massive improvements in that time.  From beating champion human chess players to besting humans at complex strategy games…the WOPR has come along way.

These brands have just begun to adopt AI for essential consumer services. Both Google’s voice recognition technology and Facebook’s DeepFace are testing at nearly 100% success rate.  There is no doubt that the relationship between humans and computers is changing, and brands are on the edge of making artificial intelligence an everyday element of their customer experience.

Customer self-service is driving much of this innovation in various verticals.  Banks looking to reduce the amount of calls coming through to call centers have integrated AI into their customer service strategy. An intelligent virtual assistant that delivers automated customer service through their website in a conversational methodology. This enables self-service capabilities and quick and easy access to information for their customers.  The artificial intelligence platform has been operating for only a short period of time, now deals with the majority of customer inquiries. The bank has worked to develop natural language understanding technology. Although there is no attempt to fool customers into thinking they are talking to a human. The bank has deliberately designed the platform without an avatar or anything that resembles a human.

Machines are already responding to requests at hotel reception desks by integrating AI and customer data. Integrating AI into the fabric of its core data, the information it is able to access is more customer pertinent. This development then poses questions about what an organization does with that data, and whether it is appropriate ethically and how businesses retain customer trust. If businesses can strike the right balance between adhering to their brand values while allowing AI to access the right amount of data, it can be highly beneficial.  It is very cost effective and can deliver real-time personalization that is not viable from a traditional call center interaction.  However, research tells us that when customers complain or need to talk through a difficult situation they want to talk to a person.

Hospitality is one of the verticals embracing the real opportunities of AI, especially at the luxury level.  Some of these brands are using it to identify what guests want, not what marketers think they want. To enrich customer experience, they are using an AI platform to avoid the standardized industry measuring techniques to instead tap directly into digital customer feedback.  Giving consumers quick access to personalized information through cognitive reasoning enhances the customer experience.

AI is being utilized across many sectors to improve efficiency, reduce costs, increase revenues and enhance customer satisfaction by improving on significant areas of the customer experience.  The implementation of artificial intelligence is decisively under way to differentiate competitors with high personalized interactions. Developers are exploring ways to listen and learn from personalized experiences and actions so the right environmental conditions will be available instantaneously.  Although technology is only as good as the people who operate it, the future will bring smart responses to customer needs. Ultimately the human touch is a crucial piece to any business and AI cannot ever replace the human touch even in a world of artificial intelligence in action.

Aaron Gette,
Chief Information Officer,
The Bay Club Company.

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