As COVID-19 changed the way consumers shop, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning have become a critical component of any organization’s marketing strategy.
With the massive growth in data, AI programs and services have helped industries to optimise operations and reduce costs. More importantly, they have transformed customer experience by helping brands to connect and engage with customers in new, meaningful ways.
AI has helped to optimise the customer journey and created new avenues of engagement. Most have had our fair share of poor customer service that stopped us from being return customers and brand advocates. Chatbots can be equipped with emotional intelligence and served with a virtual smile around the clock. Chatbots can also eliminate wait times, help with common customer service questions and re-direct consumers with more complex needs to the relevant customer service agent, thus increasing a brand’s operational efficiency.
In recent months, airlines have been adapting to the ever-changing impacts of COVID19 on their operations. With the surge in cancellations and complaints, chatbots and other intelligent tools have steadily supported several airlines with efficient and speedy customer service. For instance, Ryanair tapped on automated crisis messaging services to send an additional 2.1 million passenger notifications in the first 12 days of March to inform customers of changes to their trip while Lufthansa Group processed over one million Passenger Name Records (PNRs) in one bulk-send to let travellers know of cancellations. With AI and machine learning, chatbots can now deliver relevant messages to the right audience at the right time, with information like the next available flight for affected passengers to return home.
AI has been transforming customer experience with personalised content. Gone are the days where we needed to search for products to make our lives easier, they now come straight through our email inbox, in-app push notifications and online ads. These brands use all forms of consumer information like demographic data, browsing history and purchasing behaviour across multiple touch points and tailor their products, services and marketing content to each individual. In Merkle's Customer Engagement Report for Q1 2022, 86% of respondents revealed that they are more likely to enjoy personalized offers based on their interests and browsing or purchase history, thus, it is imperative for brands to provide a hyper personalised experience.
The media and entertainment industry definitely comes to mind for predictive analytics and hyper-personalisation. Netflix and HBO have been iconic in their usage of data, from the shows they create to the movies they promote. Spotify curates a ‘discover’ playlist for its users weekly and helps them power through their days with their favourite genre and artistes. Youtube personalises its homepage based on individuals’ content consumption and recommends the most relevant channels above the fold. These AI powered algorithms recommend personalised content to its users and significantly contribute to user retention, which contributes to more profitable revenue.
In the age of consumerism, AI helps retailers combine physical touchpoints and digital technology to make the retail experience more intuitive. Fashion brands are able to fast-track a response to consumers’ ever-changing preferences and needs, as seen from Nike’s concept store in Los Angeles, which uses real-time data to change its stock bi-weekly to reflect the preferences of its local members, while bestsellers are stocked all year around. Beauty brands are using AI to tailor their products and services, to provide a seamless experience. Sephora’s shade-matching skin care tool, Color IQ deals with the frustration of finding the perfect shade by trial and error. It scans consumers’ faces and recommends foundation and concealer that matches their complexion. Given the myriads of shades, these personalised recommendations help consumers to learn about themselves and this relevance with consumers inculcates loyalty.
Retail AI is definitely incomplete without the Amazon Go store. Amazon prides itself on the “just walk out” experience, where customers can simply take what they want from the store and bypass the cashier. Sensors and cameras throughout the store track the purchases, and charge consumers’ Amazon account upon exit. These instances illustrate that AI is key to orchestrating a seamless, personalised experience across channels.
The future of AI is boundless and the evolution of customer experience will be compelling. Merkle Singapore has been helping renowned brands glean deeper actionable insights from data and analytics. Reach out to us and find out more about driving personalisation across the entire customer journey through known and unknown datasets.