3 ways artificial intelligence (AI) can improve your customer experience

From service to sales and support, here's how artificial intelligence tools can boost customer experience and position your organization for growth
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AI vs. NLP

Your customers are moving online at an exponential rate. Gartner predicts that by 2020, customers will manage 85 percent of their relationship with the enterprise without interacting with a human.

Meanwhile, there’s a lot of hype and promise around Artificial Intelligence (AI )tools. While many of those promises are still a long way off, customer experience (CX) is an area that can benefit from AI right now. Whether your business model is B2B or B2C, providing a highly personalized, truly exceptional customer experience is one of the most important things any enterprise can leverage AI for in 2021.

With synchronized data across all channels, here are three ways AI can significantly enhance your customer journey.

[ Check out our primer on 10 key artificial intelligence terms for IT and business leaders: Cheat sheet: AI glossary. ]

Sales: Omnichannel marketing

Increasingly, CIOs and their IT teams play an instrumental role in the enterprise’s continuity among marketing, sales, and customer service. Omnichannel marketing is a term that no IT leader should ignore. Omnichannel is the concept of using all your channels, both online and offline, to deliver one seamless, personalized purchasing experience for your customers. When your customers switch from one channel to another when engaging with your brands, your underlying IT platform is expected to deliver relevant and cohesive service to them.

For example, imagine a favorite local restaurant, where the staff knows your go-to meal before you even look at the menu. They also know your taste so well that they can always offer a recommendation that appeals to you.

AI learns each customer's behavior and predicts their needs, fine-tuning its algorithm based on every single interaction.

As a large enterprise, you need to offer that same level of personal service for tens of thousands of people at the same time. For such a task, AI is your best friend, as its job is to deliver scalable yet customized solutions. AI learns each customer’s behavior and predicts their needs, fine-tuning its algorithm based on every single interaction. The key is to bring that seamless experience across all channels.

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Insight: Customer data platform

Unlike multichannel marketing, where messages largely remain static, omnichannel marketing is dynamic, keeping each channel updated with each customer engagement. Think of the vast number of segregated channels where customer data sits post-purchase: customer service, technical support, product usage, online help, billing and payment, account management, logistics, etc.

It’s impossible to require employees in customer-facing roles to understand the holistic history of any given customer. Thus, AI is key to provide insights dynamically through finding patterns and making predictions over a huge amount of data points.

Explore how you can use AI to speed up your data preprocessing and data synchronization, including data sampling, filtering, normalization, and standardization.

Service: Natural language processing

When you hear the term natural language processing (NLP), you probably think of chatbots. But chatbots alone don’t utilize all the power of AI. Instead, when customers escalate a conversation to an agent, have AI “listen in” on those conversations and provide suggested responses, relevant documents, and more importantly, prior engagement history.

Connect your call center to your CRM so there’s a centralized profile for all customer interaction. One key task for customer service is enabling AI to learn by feeding more data into the model. When AI cannot answer a question, agents can source the content from the organization and feed it into the knowledge base. Key components to enable this include voice recognition, word splitting, deprecated word filtering, LDA, TF-IDF, and text summarization.

Not only can AI help your company provide better customer service now, but it can also feed into the next purchase experience and fuel revenue growth. The key is to consider these three ways of improving customer experience a virtuous loop of service, insight, and sales.

[ Culture change is the hardest part of digital transformation. Get the digital transformation eBook: Teaching an elephant to dance. ]

Kate Yuan is a startup consultant with a focus on go-to-market strategies and enterprise sales. She has worked with startups in four continents and 30+ countries as an investor, advisor and operator. Most recently, she was the Operating Partner at Hemi Ventures, an early-stage fund investing in mobility, biotech and enterprise AI sectors.

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