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4 Ways Your Competitors Are Using AI to Improve their CX

Artificial Intelligence is no longer a marketing buzzword. Now, it's all about harnessing its powers to improve the customer experience. Learn how

Michael Brenner
June 11 2018

Artificial intelligence isn’t the next big thing in marketing and customer experience anymore. Forward-thinking companies are already looking back at the AI-driven strategies they have been using for years to find ways to get even more out of smart technology. The fact is, customer experience is the top priority for 71% of B2B businesses. 37% of organizations have already started implementing AI for CX, while another 41% have plans to implement it by 2020 to boost their CX capabilities.

Not that you need any more pressure, but you aren’t only racing against your competitors to harness the power of AI for enhancing customer experience. You’re also keeping up with the self-learning of these clever algorithms. What AI can do for personalization, customer engagement, and wowing your customers with a great experience today is remarkably more sophisticated than what companies were using AI to do a few years ago. If you aren’t using AI intelligently to build better customer relationships, how can you compete with the companies who have been leveraging this technology for years?

Creating AI-empowered marketing and customer service strategies to improve CX isn’t just about boosting your marketing technology stack with a few layers of AI-driven tools. It’s about knowing what works for your organization to help you learn more about, do more, and be more for your customers – with the efficiency that the latest technology provides. Take a look at some of the ways your competitors are using AI to improve CX:

Chatbots So Your Customers Are Never Alone

Chatbots are one of the most exciting applications of artificial intelligence in use today. Where other AI tools may help companies learn more about their customers so they can create better experiences, chatbots are where users get to interact directly with the artificial intelligence and benefit immediately. Which people like to do. According to Facebook, 63% of people are messaging more than they did a couple of years ago. Bots let customers get answers to their pressing questions, make purchases, get recommendations, and more. Here are a few ingenious examples of chatbots in action:

  • MasterCard has created a Facebook Messenger bot that lets users check account info like past transactions, balances, and payment due dates
  • Whole Foods—another brand using Facebook Messenger—lets users search for recipes with the Whole Foods bot. Even more novel for customers, users can search using an emoji and then filter for dietary restrictions
  • Airbnb, along with other brands like Spotify and Evernote, uses chatbots on Twitter to offer customer service 24/7
  • Sephora’s custom prom bot, Kik, acts like a personal assistant, helping users find makeup tutorials, seasonal promotions, and guides, delivering a custom experience

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The global chatbot market is predicted to grow to $1.23 billion by 2025, but you still want to tread carefully before diving into this AI tool. Take a close look at the relationship between your company and your customers. Where would a chatbot make sense – what are your automated tasks that AI could do just as good of a job, if not better, as human interaction? Ask yourself these important questions to make sure you end up improving CX with chatbots:

  • Is it worth it to invest in artificial intelligence to manage some of your customer service if your live chat feature is already working well?
  • Would your company be well served by a hybrid model of AI and live chat?
  • How will your organization monitor chatbot interactions, respond to problems, and work towards making chatbot improvement an ongoing process?
  • Is the chatbot tool you choose capable of growing with your business’s needs or will you have to switch to a new service in order to get the right features and sophistication in the future?

Jeff Toister, author of The Service Culture Handbook, makes a good point:

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AI to Optimize Marketing Campaigns

One of the biggest attractions of artificial intelligence from the marketer’s perspective is its ability to self-learn. AI allows you to continually optimize processes. Apply this concept to your customer relationship, and the moment you implement the right AI tools, you have set your business on course for endlessly enhanced CX. Take an autonomous campaign optimization bot, something leading brands like 1-800-Flowers and Lucky Vitamin have been using for years. Like an autonomous vehicle, it is going to track actions, responses, and performance, and then learn what works best. The algorithm can then determine what marketing mix resonates most with each target group and automatically adjust individual campaign factors and make suggestions so every customer receives the marketing content or ad they are the most likely to respond to.

Sentiment Analysis to Better Understand Customers

In order to thrive in today’s customer-centric environment, businesses have to know their customers’ opinions extremely well. But, there’s a problem. There is a limit to how accurate, or deep, you can get with your buyer personas with traditional techniques for gathering customer information like surveys, interviews, and even the collection and analysis of customer data. To grasp what customers want on a more authentic level, you need to know how they feel. Artificial intelligence offers a powerful solution with sentiment analysis.

Analyzing data from mobile apps, websites, forums, and social media, brands can learn how customers feel about products, pricing, feature changes, and customer service. There are different sentiment analysis tools. One of the most common involves AI analyzing written text to gauge whether the customer opinion for a given factor is positive, negative, or neutral. Natural language processing analyzes the text while machine learning algorithms look for trends. Another example is the sentiment analysis tool created by Concur Labs, which looks at customer reviews to identify what features their customers like and which they are frustrated with.

Beats manually reading through reviews and taking notes!

AI-Driven Contextual Analysis for Better Personalization

Contextual analysis looks at an individual customer’s past data. It then takes this information to generate recommendations, product offers, or next best actions – in real-time. A contextual analyzer is a hair’s breadth away from attaining the holy grail of CX – being able to deliver the right message to the right customers at the right time. This type of experience is great for building brand loyalty and satisfaction because you’re giving the customer exactly what they want, and saving them the time and energy of having to figure it out themselves.

The brands who are using AI-augmented contextual analysis well are also some of the fastest growing companies out there, like Spotify, Netflix, and Amazon.

Where to Start with AI?

Instead of adopting numerous AI tools, start by looking for the holes in your CX. Evaluate each touch point and look for where along the customer journey you can create a smoother experience.

From sentiment analyzers to automating some of your customer interactions with smart chatbots, there are plenty of options. Adopt what will make your relationships with your customers stronger and you’ll begin to make significant gains in the long-term.

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Michael Brenner

Michael Brenner is a globally-recognized keynote speaker, author of The Content Formula and the CEO of Marketing Insider Group. He has worked in leadership positions in sales and marketing for global brands like SAP and Nielsen, as well as for thriving startups. Today, Michael shares his passion on leadership and marketing strategies that deliver customer value and business impact. He is recognized by the Huffington Post as a Top Business Keynote Speaker and a top CMO influencer by Forbes.

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