Leveraging AI to Create Meaningful Customer Experiences
By Greg Gendron
Artificial intelligence (AI) enhances many aspects of our lives. You’re probably benefitting from it whether you realize it or not. For example, when you request a ride from Uber or set your Nest thermostat, you’re actually entering data into a program that has been designed to learn and improve from every data point and interaction. The Uber app gets better at predicting the number of riders and drivers needed over time so wait times decrease. Nest gets better at understanding your heating and cooling preferences so you no longer have to adjust the settings.
With the machine learning that many AI applications utilize, new knowledge can be leveraged to make improvements as soon as it’s received. For businesses, this means tasks that used to take hours of manual effort can be processed in minutes or even seconds with minimal human involvement. Most importantly, the efficiencies and accuracies generated by these systems can be used to create true and meaningful value for customers.
One of the most common ways AI manifests in the real world is through personalized recommendations. You’ve probably visited a site and shopped for a product only to receive an email detailing several more products that complement the one you were researching. As systems learn about different customer types and their purchasing behaviors, they can make more targeted and accurate suggestions about what to buy next.
We use the data points we gather to improve our customer interactions across our various marketing and sales channels. Information like purchasing patterns and web activity are consolidated as part of our data science program. When customers visit fishersci.com, they see product suggestions that are relevant to them. When customers reach out for help selecting a product, our sales representatives are able to make better, more informed recommendations. And the system only gets smarter about the recommendations it makes over time as more data is added.
Besides the obvious perks of using AI to better understand customers, an organization can also use this technology to reap material benefits. Take paid search, for example. We’re bidding on thousands of Google ads and keywords at a time. By leveraging a tool that utilizes AI and machine learning, the system identifies which keywords and bids are driving the most revenue and conversions and can automatically adjust our bids. This saves time and money and ensures our ad dollars are working hard for us.
AI allows our sales and customer service teams to focus on the most meaningful interactions possible. Sales representatives are able to identify the best selling opportunities so they’re not wasting customers’ time or theirs. Our gap analysis model can determine a customer’s scientific application based on the products they currently buy from us and identifies additional products a rep can suggest for that application.
Today our online chat service helps our customer service representatives work more efficiently. In the future, chat bots will be able to use knowledge from previous conversations to move customers more efficiently through the process and handle some of the lower-value tasks for the team.
Fine Tuning the Data
With any technology, there are pitfalls to avoid. You can’t always take a machine’s recommendations at face value. Sometimes you have to verify the assumptions it’s making. For example, a customer buying pipettes will probably need cell culture dishes as well. But if the customer is in the industrial sector rather than life sciences, this assumption may be incorrect. That’s where human intervention comes into play and additional data sources can help to improve the model going forward.
AI is only becoming more sophisticated and its use more pervasive. And with all of the AI services available, organizations of any size can find a way to use it to their advantage. Wherever data points are being collected, managed, or stored, you can use that data to grow smarter and get better at something, which can translate into more satisfying experiences for your customers.