As products are getting more and more similar, technical differentiation becomes harder and puts excessive and unjustified pressure on the final retail price. In these conditions, another differentiation strategy could be to focus on customer experience. Long gone is the era of mass products, even if mass production is still on the rise. This is no paradox. Personalization can mean that the same mass-produced item is sold in different markets and serving different needs, and this is just the tip of the iceberg.
AI brings the opportunity to offer personalized customer care 24/7 for a fraction of the cost and with constant joy—the chatbot never has a bad day.
Power to the Customer
Most customers love self-service systems that allow them to access platforms and services at their convenience, usually from their mobile devices. Customers don’t have the patience to wait in line at a desk or on the phone until an operator becomes available.
For simple tasks such as updating their contact details, checking the balance, or asking for a refund, they love the opportunity to have an intelligent guiding system. Most organizations have already implemented some form of chatbots or are planning to do so shortly.
Of course, this will put some call center agents out of their jobs, but it is a natural process occurring in every industrial revolution and should not be a reason against progress.
At the same time, if an automated system can help customers manage their problems such as optimizing their spending habits or getting rid of debt, that is a huge bonus which no human service agent could provide consistently.
One of the main reasons people fear digital systems is fraud. If there are inbuilt AI-driven solutions to prevent such problems, customers are more likely to use them and create the critical mass needed to sustain the system and make it learn more.
For example, AI can identify logins from unknown locations and devices, as well as detect suspicious spending patterns. It can be as easy as that to save you the hassle of going through the tedious process of getting your money back.
Another example worth mentioning is that of preventing bots from buying tickets to entertainment events for further reselling.
What do Amazon, Netflix, YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook have in common? They all use AI to provide you with what they think you would love best, and they get better at their results as you use them more consistently. Somehow, this is similar to how you interact with friends. The more time you spend together and learn about each other, the better recommendations you get about things you would love.
This level of personal customization is achieved by learning from millions of people just like you. The classic market segmentation by age, gender, income, or education are no longer valid. AI can create more natural clusters based on preferences and behaviors. By looking at the choices of people in the same group, the algorithm can predict what these individuals would like next.
Customer care of the future is all about providing personalized experiences. If a brand can emerge the customer in a controlled environment and make them enjoy the experience, they have a real chance of selling. First you need to get their undivided attention and then to transform that into a unique moment.
One helpful tool in this regard is augmented/virtual reality. If you can show them how your product or service can impact their well-being and let them try it out virtually before buying, preferably in the comfort of their homes, you have higher chances of winning.
A company which brilliantly does this in e-commerce is Warby Parker, who allows their customers to try on their glasses with the help of the inbuilt Apple Face ID. This requires no additional effort from the user but offers an exciting way to shop and choose from hundreds of options.
The rise of the internet puts traveling agencies on the brink of extinction. Why would anyone need a booking agent for holidays when you can create your own, usually cheaper holiday in just a few clicks?
In this situation, the only way to stay in business is to offer a tailor-made, superior experience, something that a customer wouldn’t even think about. One way to do this is to integrate the data from IoT devices and wearables such as fitness trackers or smartwatches with the agency’s offers and give the customers a unique combination of activities, tickets, and offers perfectly matching their preferences.
Airlines also use AI for better ticketing services and understanding their customers’ behavior, and so do some hotel chains. Before AI, it was impossible to go through thousands of customer reviews and identify recurring complaints. Right now, with text and sentiment analysis, this takes minutes, and as a result of scraping review platformd like booking.com or TripAdvisor, hotel management can get a comprehensive overview of the existing problems grouped by their importance.
Excellent customer experience can come from a combination of AI-powered factors.
First, there is the IoT, which gives insights about behaviors and preferences. With such information on hand, it is easier to put forward new products and services customers will enjoy.
Next, there is the opportunity to interact with audiences through social media. AI gives companies the chance to connect in a friendly and fun way 24/7. Finally, brands can analyze the results of such communications in real time, to be able to adapt and create an engaging and positive environment.