Think about the last time Netflix or Amazon suggested the perfect film to watch or item to buy. That’s artificial intelligence (AI) in action, software systems using your purchase history and viewing habits to predict what you might like to buy or watch next. These systems and others like them have an important role, they help consumers wade through the enormous amounts of choice available online to find things they will really enjoy and find valuable. In an increasingly digital world finding just the right thing is becoming harder for all of us, and businesses that help their customers do that well enjoy better retention rates and find it easier to upsell.
So could these kinds of technologies improve your customer's experience, even if you’re not a global online retail giant? Both Amazon and Netflix are enormous, with vast financial resources to throw at systems like these. But as AI continues to improve, there is a trickle-down effect, bringing benefits to smaller businesses.
AI presents small businesses with great opportunities to improve their customer user experience (UX) and gain a competitive edge. By leveraging AI-powered tools and technologies such as personalised recommendations, chatbots, sentiment analysis, predictive analytics, voice assistants and more, businesses of all sizes can deliver experiences that meet and exceed customer expectations.
Done well, embracing AI-powered UX assistants can help you build long-term relationships with customers, boost their satisfaction levels and improve loyalty.
Customer support is a critical aspect of the overall customer experience. AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants have become increasingly popular tools, capable of handling customer inquiries, providing real-time support and offering personalised recommendations.
Chatbots powered by AI, such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT, have risen to prominence recently because they represent a leap in competence for the technology. Chatbots powered by these kinds of large language models can provide instant and personalised customer support, addressing common queries and guiding users through troubleshooting processes.
Using AI, designers can create chatbots that do a better job of understanding user intent and providing relevant and accurate responses, with the goal of improving customer satisfaction. Tools like ChatGPT can also be used to develop conversational interfaces that simulate human-like conversations.
Meanwhile, other companies, such as Chatfuel and Rasa, offer AI-powered chatbots that can be deployed across Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and on company websites. The result is virtual assistants and even voice-controlled interfaces that engage users in natural language interactions. The pace of development in this area is impressive, and things are rapidly becoming more possible and affordable that simply weren’t even six months ago.
By harnessing the power of AI, businesses can unlock a plethora of opportunities to grow their customer UX, starting with improving the quality of their customer insights. AI tools and algorithms can analyse large amounts of customer data and provide insights into their behaviour, preferences and patterns that would be difficult to do otherwise.
Using these tools, you can gain deeper understanding of your customer’s needs and expectations, and in turn use this to build highly personalised experiences tailored to them as individuals. Done well, this can enhance satisfaction and engagement. A great example is the US-based company Stitch Fix, an online personal styling company that combines AI algorithms with human expertise to analyse user preferences on clothing and deliver personalised clothing recommendations.
AI-powered natural language processing (NLP) is a new and interesting element of the UX mix. It allows businesses to automate the process of interpreting customer feedback from social media, online reviews or customer surveys.
NLP systems can extract meaning from unstructured data and identify what’s known as ‘sentiment,’ allowing businesses to gauge customer satisfaction and identify areas for improvement. This technology can give advance warning of issues related to customer satisfaction that might otherwise take some time to be noticed. Good examples of vendors who offer this kind of thing include Luminoso and Aylien.
Predictive analytics allows businesses to forecast customer behaviour, anticipate their needs and put in place proactive measures to meet those needs. By analysing historical data, businesses can identify patterns and trends that can help predict future customer actions and preferences.
For instance, if you have an online sales function, you could use predictive analytics to anticipate customer demand for certain products, stock inventory accordingly and avoid stock outs or overstocking. This level of foresight ensures a seamless customer experience and enhances customer satisfaction. Companies like DataRobot and RapidMiner offer these kinds of services, allowing companies to build out machine learning platforms around predictive analytics.
AI enables businesses to deliver personalised marketing campaigns that resonate with individual customers. By analysing customer data, algorithms can identify the most effective channels, messaging and timing for engaging with individual customers.
With hyper-personalisation, businesses can send targeted offers, recommendations and content that aligns with that customers' preferences and needs. This not only increases the likelihood of conversions but also fosters a deeper sense of connection and loyalty with customers. One company that offers an AI-powered personalisation engine is Dynamic Yield, with its experience optimisation platform that allows the customer experience to be personalised across lots of touchpoints, from the web to apps, email, kiosks and call centres.
The takeaway message in all of this, is that the pace of development of AI means that options are opening up all the time for businesses that perhaps previously wouldn’t have had the resources to compete with better funded and larger competitors. If you haven’t looked at how these technologies could be applied to your unique sector, it’s a good idea to see if there are opportunities you’re missing.
To learn more about ChatGPT and how it can be used in your business, read on here.
If you need one-to-one advice about managing digital for your business, including your social media strategy, why not speak to one of our V-Hub Digital Advisors?