Four Ways To Connect The Customer Journey With AI

There’s little doubt that the buzzword of 2018 was artificial intelligence. It was hard to find a headline last year in the tech space that didn’t focus on how AI was going to change the world. Scrambling to be part of the revolution, companies claimed every new product was “AI-powered” or had “AI capabilities” to challenge the status quo for operations and innovations. Developers jumped in on machine learning, neural networks, natural language processing and a range of other subfields to innovate and monetize.

Now that the hype has calmed a bit and brands are finally starting to implement AI-driven solutions, we are seeing a shift in the way consumers interact with brands — from hyperpersonalized messages, to self-driving cars, to anticipating the next step in your pizza order. And if you’ve managed to avoid a list of the biggest AI flops and fails, then you may be feeling pretty confident in your development progress. However, many of these new experiences are still fragmented when it comes to connecting the customer journey.

Take buying a car, for example. As a consumer, you may do the majority of your research online (touch point No. 1). Maybe you get a targeted ad or two on your social feed after clicking on the website (touch point No. 2). Then you pick up the phone to call a dealer for an appointment or to schedule a test drive (touch point No. 3). Ultimately, you walk onto the dealer’s lot to see the vehicle in person before making a purchase (touch point No. 4). And later, after years of enjoying your new purchase, you schedule an appointment with the service department for a brake check (touch point No. 5).

As the VP of engineering for a leading conversational analytics and solutions company, I know that from the customer standpoint, each one of these interactions is managed in a silo. What if the sales agent already knew you had browsed the website to find the perfect make and model or that you had called to inquire about inventory? Better yet, what if the dealership’s sales and service team greeted you by name before you even stepped out of your car?

There are many ways brands can utilize AI today to help connect the customer journey and ultimately convert leads to customers. Here are four of them:

1. Leverage AI technology to discover deeper insights about business conversations. This can be done with the help of speech analytics solutions to provide visibility into conversations. These solutions enable companies to improve phone answer rates, detect high-purchase-intent conversations, reduce lost opportunities and surface other key business metrics for marketing, sales and service teams so they can deliver more personalized experiences on multiple communication channels.

2. Target and retarget prospects. Based on a lookalike profile of your ideal buyer, invest in a predictive customer segmentation solution to target customers through online ads. Building on insights from prior conversations and interactions, AI can recommend personalized and relevant content through web and social ads on platforms. This enables businesses to generate more brand awareness, optimize the customer experience and increase conversions.

3. Measure agent effectiveness, and augment with real-time coaching. From department routing to agent script tracking and scoring, AI technology enables companies to anticipate the next best action for agents to take to influence and ultimately convert prospects into customers.

4. Improve cross-channel communication. Are you aware of all the touch points across your customer journey map? Most senior marketers (55%) are not confident in their company’s understanding of the customer journey. A measurable multichannel engagement approach will help improve the customer experience (CX). To connect the dots between the different consumer touch points — be it phone calls, SMS, chat or something else — AI can discover each interaction, detect the behaviors and build a unified experience to deliver a seamless journey for customers.

While no one can know the exact future of AI, it definitely holds the potential to solve many of the business world’s long-standing problems. But this important question remains: Is your use of AI improving or enhancing your customers’ experience? Or is it detracting from it? If it’s the latter, it’s time to reevaluate.

Article written by: William Li