3 Essential Tools To Help Predict Customer Needs

Among the many things that a business needs to keep an eye on, predicting customer needs is one of the most important. Smarter customers have higher expectations and a business that wants to grow has to be able to not only meet these expectations but also predict them. Having predictive customer services might appear tricky but with the help of data analysing tools, you can monitor your customer’s buying patterns, demographics and other behaviours. Through enhancing your customer services, you can also offer your clients a better shopping or buying experience as compared to your competitors. In this day and age where even a single bad review can make a difference, providing good quality, predictive customer services can make a major impact particularly in your marketing strategy.

SEE Also: Customer Experience Strategy

Customer Prediction Tools You Need

Data Gathering

When you’re growing your marketing campaigns, you need to gather proper data on your customers and the following are some of the best resources that let you do so.

Google Analytics

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An old one but a gold one, Google Analytics has helped many businesses monitor the different facets of their customers behaviour. From monitoring the visibility of your website to keeping an eye on how much time the visitors are spending on the site, you can get a lot of data regarding your sites usage. The best part is that you can easily isolate the areas which are underperforming and figure out how to optimise them. Moreover, the data sheds more light on showing you visitor ‘habits’ on the site and how you can incorporate those to offer predictive customer services to them. Another good thing about Google Analytics is that it also allows you to test out any new feature and see how well the changes are being received. UpWork created a great article how to understand the customers coming to your website https://www.upwork.com/hiring/for-clients/google-analytics-to-better-understand-your-visitors/

Kissmetrics

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Another tool that lets you observe the habits of your visitors, Kissmetrics provides invaluable data that can be used to optimise your website and services. Individual monitoring ensures that you find in-depth information that tracks key growth in various segments as well as shows which features are wanted and not-wanted by the average visitor or customer. If you’re tapping into a new target market, Kissmetrics is the perfect tool for you as it allows you to monitor the response and provide more tailored predictive customer services that hit the mark properly. With a multitude of other features as well that are meant to help optimise your business with ease, Kissmetrics makes it easier to analyse and view all the changes being made. Kissmetrics wrote up a great article here about understanding customer data.

Inspectlet

If you find it hard to review the data you have received, you’re going to love using Inspectlet. With the aim of helping everyone, Inspectlet focuses on monitoring customer behaviour to provide credible data regarding site visitation time, areas of interest and more regarding the consumer. Inspectlet also takes monitoring to a whole other level by providing video recordings or playbacks of every visitor to the site. This in turn ensures a deeper level to monitoring. The best part is that Inspectlet is frequently used by sites such as eBay, Cisco and WordPress who are prime examples of great predictive customer services. Have a look at how to apply the Pareto principle to some of your customer analytics.

Applying learnings to use

Once you’ve got all your data in hand, you have to start using it. Anticipation of customer expectations begins here. For this reason, you need to use tools that help you create an engagement plan for future customers. The following are some of the best ones.

Rapid Miner

Rapid Miner offers an open source platform for data scientists to use with ease. With its comprehensive products that are specifically developed according to a particular industry and its requirements, Rapid Miner makes data application into credible models and their deployment easier.The best part is that it’s all open source; the team can collaborate and access the data with ease, regardless of their locality. Big businesses such as Siemens, Cisco, Samsung, Hitachiand more also rely on Rapid Miner for their predictive customer services plans. For an introduction to advanced analytics.

Angoss

Based solely on providing predictive analytics that aid in improving customer services, Angoss has services that are based not only on the industry but also on the nature of the analytics you want. From improving marketing performance to minimising any risks faced, Angoss is the complete solution for any business.Angoss is utilised by PayPal, Walmart, and eBay, TMobile, Cisco, Microsoft and MasterCard. The success of these businesses stands to testament to Angoss’s services. Moreover, with services available on a global level, Angoss is accessible for all, regardless of where they function in.

3 Creative Ways You Can Ensure Your Clients Always Succeed!

The one key area that you need to look at when you want to run a successful business is ensuring that you can keep your clients happy. How can you manage such a thing? Well, by making sure that your clients are successful, and that isn’t always possible. There are many businesses that struggle to provide their clients with meaningful services that result in them being successful.

If your clients aren’t successful, then you will not have many repeat customers, because people like working with successful businesses. This concern is bigger for small businesses, because they aren’t always able to deliver top-notch services to their customers. The quality of services delivered to customers is always important for a business, but along with that, the business must also ensure that they are helping achieve customer success in the long run.

The Customer Success Factor

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So, why is success for clients so important? It is because every major business needs to realize the value of helping their partners achieve success as well. The fundamentals of business haven’t changed over time, but the only thing that has changed is that now businesses must ensure that their clients are successful as well. This can be tricky sometimes because you must do business with a company that wants to work with yours to ensure complete success in their industry.

See also: 10 Customer Service Strategies that Create Loyal Customers

This means that every business strategy that you come up with, must also include how it affects the success of the client. This is done to ensure that all aspects are covered, and there are no disappointments after business is concluded. There are multiple strategies that you can employ with the right vision and commitment at the forefront to ensure that your business partners and clients are happy and satisfied. It is important to take the success factor into account, because you need to create love between your business and your customers.

The Customer is Always King

Any business that places the interests of its customers above their own is going to be a successful business, because they are going to go out of their way to make sure that the customer is content. Most businesses that fail, do so because they stop caring about their customers. It is important that you always treat the customer properly, and remember that they are always the king.

If your business is failing to win over more customers, you should probably look at what kind of customer experience you are offering to your clients. There is enough data around that points to the importance of great customer experience in helping businesses retain and attract new clients.

  • There are numerous studies that have shown 40% of brands that didn’t receive good services, refused to work with that business again.
  • It also states that 90% of businesses will go to a direct competitor if they are given poor customer experience.
  • Nearly 60% of clients are willing to pay more to receive better customer experience.

Businesses that fail to value their clients, and don’t care about their success are likely to lose out, and not get ahead in their industry. Therefore, it is imperative that you find out creative ways to ensure that you give priority to customer success.

We also want our clients to succeed, which is why we are going to provide you with 3 creative ways you can ensure that your clients always succeed.

Genuine Interaction – Treat them right

Make sure that you have genuine interactions with your customers, because it is the only way that you are going to help them feel at home. There is no secret about the fact that happy clients are much more willing to work with you and provide you with better word of mouth regarding your business. By treating your customers properly, you will ensure that you build a genuine interaction with them, and they will feel better in doing business with you.

Don’t come across as too strong

You need to always respect your clients if you want to keep them happy and satisfied with your services. There are lots of customers who don’t want to scare off your clients or disappoint them. That is the main reason why you should always treat your clients with respect, because if they are upset with you, then your business is the one that is going to suffer. Disgruntled customers are not good for business, and that is where you need to be patient.

You should do everything in your power to get your client in a better mood and try to resolve their issues. There aren’t going to be many clients lining up to work for your business if you don’t work with your clients in a respectful manner.

Hear their problems

You should always be listening to your customer’s problems so that you can help them in times of trouble. There are not many businesses that would work with a company that doesn’t take their feedback on board. You should have good communication with your client and always take everything they say into account, because that is the only way you are going to improve your situation and guarantee customer success.

Making Returns on the Conversational Economy

Article by Adam Rawot, CEO Woveon

I remember reading an article almost ten years ago talking about how teens were sending over 40 texts a day on average. The tone of the article was incredulous, but the statistic pales in comparison to how we exist online now. Speaking personally, it’s not implausible I send off 40 messages before 10 AM in my morning inbox check in. Sarah Guo, a partner of Greylock, expressed it succinctly when she took to Medium: “More than a decade ago, academics such as Thurlow described a “communication imperative”—human beings are driven to maximize their communication volume and satisfaction. More recently, researchers have described it as compulsion.”

While constant connectedness is old news, technology has finally achieved a point it can leverage this behavior. As with all big shifts, there will be survivors and those who don’t adapt fast enough. Companies will need to change to a conversational mode of thought to maintain the experiences users expect and deliver the individuality anticipated.

People Always Talk

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Nearly 25 years ago, Harvard Business Review wrote “today if you’re not on the phone or talking with colleagues and customers, chances are you’ll hear, “Start talking and get to work!” In the new economy, conversations are the most important form of work.” Conversations are how we track knowledge flows. Conversation flows are how people create value, share information, and illustrate how companies operate.

A cited example is McKinsey. McKinsey prides itself heavily on the intelligence of its members, and by an extension the true value of McKinsey over other firms is its extensive knowledge base. That knowledge is curated and developed through internal conversation and shared through internal conversation. In short, McKinsey is conversation.  

We are entering a new age for product development – one dictated by the conversational economy. Broadly, the conversational economy is the catchall phrase for companies, products, and ideas built on, alongside, or relying heavily on a conversational interface. More simply, they are services that leverage conversation.

This definition is board, and intentionally so. While some apps like iMessage, Snapchat and email obviously fit into this definition, conversation works as a backbone in services like Facebook, customer service complaints, and online advertising as well. Finding a common backbone helps derive a working model for these services.

Between the myriad of mobile apps used every day, access to the internet, and the seemingly innate human need to feel connected, conversation based platforms are dominating our lives. We have effectively destroyed the asynchronous quality of day to day life. We persist online, and, consequently, our conversations with one another never really begin or end. This data stream is a jackpot for product creation.

Smarter Everyday

Artificial intelligence, in the eyes of the public, has snuck past an important threshold. Presentations by titans like Facebook and Google have assured that we are moving away from the robotic idea of natural language processing in a rigid sense to natural language understanding. In other words, instead of responding to a keyword or a phrase, computers are beginning to be able to understand sentence, paragraphs, and intent.

There are a variety of causes for this – improvement of machine learning and deep learning, Moore’s Law, and rate of mobile and app data collection, to name a few. Algorithms and software are taking on their own intelligence. Just the idea that failed outcomes can make systems better is an astounding twist compared to five years prior.

Additionally, we’re in the middle of the boom of ambient computing, the idea that our environments and surroundings are responsive. We don’t have to open our phone or flip open a laptop to be connected. On the way to work I may pass a few smart cameras, a plethora of listening iPhones and Galaxy phones, an Alexa, Chromecasts, and more. Despite this, I would characterize myself as one of the less connected people in my demographic. At every step of my day my voice can be heard, position tracked, and activity monitored. Being connected no longer has much to do with if our phone is on our person or if we’re behind a keyboard.

Although passive collection has subtly pushed past our natural aversion to share information with technologies we don’t understand and people we don’t know, this one-sided trade has come with the expectation of usability. When software doesn’t work or apps crash, we no longer blame ourselves, we blame companies. We are inundated with choices, but that means that we have little tolerance of poor experiences. Users are more empowered than ever in that they don’t have to subject themselves to experiences they don’t want or content they’d rather avoid. We so demand these freedoms that events like net neutrality rapidly cause public outcry and social faux pas by companies like EA tank sales.

Computing, connectedness, and data almost completely undermine how product managers need to think about designing products. The need to leverage conversation to deliver value has emerged as one of the most critical company problems. IDEO acquiring a data analytics company, giants like Apple acqui-hiring boutique companies with human-centric software, and Salesforce pushing Einstein all serve as mine canaries that even the most established companies are racing and struggling to adapt.

Buying In and Cashing Out

As George Box famously cited – all models are wrong, but some are useful. Where is the utility of viewing products as ongoing conversations?

A helpful place to start is in how companies have historically fended off competition. These ‘moats’ include things like brand loyalty, unique data sources, and intellectual property. However, as technologies like AI are more readily available via open source projects, cloud hosting and computing are only a few clicks away, and systems of engagement continually emerge, the traditional ideas of tech defensibility are evaporating. In a Greylock article on Medium, they wrote “In all of these markets, the battle is moving from the old moats, the sources of the data, to the new moats, what you do with the data.”

In another words, companies are now finding defensibility through the experiences they create. To create these experiences for customers in the conversational era, companies will have to harness existing behavior, respond personally, and work faster.

Harnessing existing behavior is an exercise in invisibility. The real frontier for conversational companies to generate solutions for problems before the consumer is even aware. For example, Facebook realized that people asked for recommendations on their newsfeeds. Instead of creating a new service, they had posts automatically update with reviews and locations. They created a new card that changed automatically depending on what a user wrote. As expressed by a product designer at Facebook: “We didn’t try to invent a completely new behavior; rather, we found an existing one and made it way better.”

To cite an example within my own career, food industry companies often lose hours if not days within food recall investigations. Tracking a faulty shipment through several distributors can be tricky. We worked to create a product that reads the complaint before the owner may even be aware it exists and start and investigation. By the time an owner is even aware there is a problem, a report is ready. By approaching complaints, invoices, and shipments and messages between companies, value can be created seamlessly in a second layer.

As I’ve written about before, personalization is an increasingly critical element of producing customer lifetime value. Harvard Business Review started to notice this trend in their research on customer service: “Even as artificial intelligence becomes embedded in everyday interactions; human conversation remains the primary way people make complex purchases or emotional decisions.” The fatal error in a lot of software products is focusing on company efficiency over consumer experience. While these changes may boost bottom line in the short term, they encourage competitor entry and consumer drop off.

Conversational apps have an obvious outlet for personalization, and the power behind them allow easy switching between automation and human elements. More simply: “these intelligent agents will facilitate one-on-one conversations between consumers and sales or customer service representatives rather than simply replacing human interaction.” Imagine a case where someone sits on a delayed flight and sends out an angry tweet. A conversational built system could find the message, tag it, and route it to an agent. While the agent delivers a personal response with an update, the system has already sent an alleviating reward of extra miles to the customer. The captain may be alerted of sentiment on the plane and deliver an announcement. While an autoresponder may have been cheaper, the customer will now remember the exceptional level of immediate service and is more likely to return. As information and computing become free, the real commodity becomes the personality of the person on the other end of the line.

In the shorter term, there’s a simpler way to think about AI adoption – people don’t trust what they don’t understand. In the classic product management advice, it’s best to start with a problem and move to solution. Leveraging conversation is a means to building a better product, but that doesn’t change what the bottom lines should be. In other words, “Bots do not need to be human to be human centered.”

Outside of the shift in new product priorities, another major implication is how we use the technologies we use currently. In a blog post, Dan Rover (sp?) declared that bot won’t replace apps, but inboxes were the new home screen. Our email, text messages, and more were queues demanding our intention and driving our usage.

Companies leveraging platforms like WeChat have been able to effectively create micro services and apps for things like ordering that have integrated seamlessly with how we act now. Bot companies that are able to daisy-chain onto conversations to do scheduling and commuter planning have shone in venture capital funding. It’s not inconceivable the next unicorn will have nothing to do with creating a new platform but layering effortlessly onto the ways we talk with those platforms now.

Speak Now

We talk online all the time, but computing has finally let us create value from that. Companies need to invest in ways to leverage these conversations to deliver seamless and personal content. This means focusing on personnel and focusing on alleviating frictions than automation. Companies that don’t value the communication imperative and connectedness of customers will soon find themselves lagging in experience, and, later, sales.

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A prime example of this is Amazon Web Services’ fast climb to dominance. Legacy systems like Oracle required costly deployments and developers, and setting up cloud instances on AWS is only a few clicks away. IaaS records have shown Amazon’s sheer dominance. Oracle, trying to defend by housing data and curating an elite brand, couldn’t compete with Amazon’s engagement accessibility.

Perhaps the most obvious implication of smart conversational apps is efficiency. However, despite all the news and hype around an artificial intelligence singularity, businesses – and their customers – still revolve around the interactions person to person. This means that products needs to be resolved around facilitating conversation, collecting information, and iterating form that information. The AI boom has made it easier than ever to facilitate personal conversations no matter where customers are online.

How to Turn Your Company into a Multi-Channel Success

Multi-channel is the future. Recently, a survey involving a thousand consumers was conducted to study into consumer shopping habits. Of the thousand surveyed consumers, 80% preferred having a choice of shopping in store, by telephone or online. There was a time when all the power in a customer-seller relationship was with local shops. A customer would drive for hours to get a chance to buy something but often, he/she would end up being turned away because the shop had already sold out. Since they got results without making any extra effort, multi-channel marketing or sales did not make sense to the sellers at the time.

Today, the entire relationship has been turned upside down. Now, all the power is with the customer and sellers have to constantly adopt new technology just so that a customer considers them when buying. Today, businesses need to make it as easy as possible for customers to buy something from them. In such times, a good way to increase your chances of netting a sale is appearing on different channels familiar to potential customers. In short, you need to whole-heartedly embrace multi-channel sales and marketing.An opportunity to engage with consumers across a variety of channels, multi-channel marketing allows you to maintain a consistent message and brand. On the other hand, multi-channel selling can help you to profitably sell to more people. With a multi-channel strategy, you can reach the right customers, at the right time, using the right channels and the right messages. This allows you to focus towards marketing efforts, improve customer engagement and achieve better Return On Investment.

See also: Learn how to manage multiple channels with Woveon

To collect customer contact information, companies today use at least three channels. Considering this, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that more and more businesses today are focusing most on their efforts on multiple channel initiatives. Moreover, businesses are doing everything they possible can to make these initiatives successful. So, what are the efforts you need to make your multiple-channel initiatives successful? Following is how to turn your company into a multi-channel success.

Successfully Managing Multiple Channels within Your Business

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Plan Carefully

The most important aspect of your multiple channel strategy is planning. Even if your idea is great, it can turn out to be disastrous if you execute it without much thought. Instead of helping you grow, this will end up costing you. For this reason, you must plan carefully what channels you’ll sell on, what systems you will use and how you will integrate those systems together.

Turn Multiple Channels into A Single View

Using a carefully planned strategy, you can accurately capture and link multiple engagement points into a single identity. When this happens, you will be able to get a single customer view into your multiple-channel activity. With this single customer view, you will know exactly when a customer wants you to reach out to him/her. This in turn will help your business to generate a positive response.

Eliminate the Need for Manual Data Entry

A multi-channel strategy creates repetition of finding customer information, sharing information and customer profiles across different systems and importantly, repeating the same conversation again so the customer service rep can understand the situation. The information stored in these systems includes information related to customers, inventory, items etc. Sharing this information across your systems is mandatory. Whether a customer buys in-store or online, you would want to track his/her order history.

If an item is purchased from your webstore, then the decrease in inventory should reflect in your amazon account and vice versa. Moreover, you must share product information from your point of sale (POS) or enterprise resource planning (ERP) to your online sales channels. Often, businesses using a multiple channel strategy for the first time rely on manual data entry to transfer data from one system to another. Unfortunately, the time and cost incurred in this process is something the business underestimates. It may take hours to manually enter data such as entering online orders into your ERP or POS. Moreover, manual data entry makes you prone to typing mistakes that result in out of stock, lost orders and worst of all, ticked off customers.

For the reasons mentioned-above, you need to eliminate manual data entry when using a multi-channel strategy. Today, there are numerous software-based solutions that automate data processing, speed up processing of orders and eliminate those costly human-errors.

Know Who You’re Selling To

As important as knowing where to pitch, knowing who to pitch to can increase your chances of making a sale. You need to create various ‘buyer personas’ i.e. the customers you’re likely to run into when selling on various channels. These personas represent the different customer groups interested in your product. By customizing your message appropriately to those groups, you can increase chances of making a sale. Ultimately, this will help you to turn your company into a multi-channel success.

Why is Multi Channel Customer Service Important?

We live in a time of plentiful choices. Making the most of it, many organisations or start-ups in Australia are creating their impact, in the shortest possible time, by means of integrating multiple channels of customer service in their businesses.

Nowadays, integration of multi-channel customer services is one of the most important factors for a business to consider, due to many reasons. By providing a range of options to the customer, businesses in Australia are attracting and growing their loyal customer base significantly. They build high value by affecting the way in which people are making purchase decisions nowadays.

In addition, offering abundant choices to your customers is a forerunner for a business to maintain its presence, meet the customer needs round the clock irrespective of their location, and empower customers to take the right decision. To assist you further, let’s have a detailed look at the concept of multi-channel customer service in Australia.

Business Efficiency through Multi Channel Integration

Multi channel customer service holds huge potential in delivering business efficiency and excellent customer experiences. The customer experience offered by integrating a multi channel strategy creates a more personalised, optimised and responsive outlook of a business in Australia’s competitive and transforming industries.

As per the Fifth Quadrant’s research;

The primary channels that attract the maximum investment of various small or big organisations are 83% online or self-service – digital, 62% mobile apps, 34% email and surprisingly, 57% of investment is focused on the phone or voice channel while 18% towards face to face channels.

This clearly emphasises on the potential that opens up for a business with the integration of multi channel customer service. Along with that, the level of exposure of the customer base to your business improves, as you cater to the needs of your customers by all means, and without falling short of their expectations.

Are you increasing the investment in multi channel customer service this year, to attain higher business value in your particular industry?

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If you too, plan to join the forces of digital transformation and differentiate your business from the existing competitors, then you must make the most of these consumer channel preferences, and make only the right decisions, most importantly in the right direction, to optimise your customer service experience.

The top most channels utilised by Australian consumers, to avail customer service, are through phone conversation – 62%, via self-service website – 41% and in person – 45%.

The Prospective Channels of Customer Service and their Importance

Organisations that believe in delivering exceptional customer support, reach out to their consumers through all of those channels where their customers are present. Thus:

  • If your existing customer base includes avid user of emails, opt for an instant email support.
  • If they like to reach your business on Twitter, make this platform as your potential channel of customer support to access your customers efficiently.

In continuation of the above stated Fifth Quadrant research, keeping a strong grip on all the available channels of customer support will be the only key factor in differentiating your business and moving it along to a true market leader.

Email: This is undoubtedly the most non negotiable channel for all types of businesses. Almost 91% of consumers utilise an email service, everyday. This is the easiest means of building instant rapport with your customer base.

Social Media: Social networks are now the most excellent means of accessing your customer and to grow your business. Companies who use social networks as customer support channels have 15% lower churn rates than the ones who don’t.

Self-service Knowledge Base: As the name depicts, the self-service knowledge base is extremely useful to help your customers get to know you better, without being present for their assistance, through a live channel of customer support. You can deliver exceptional assistance 24/7 with just a small team.

Voice or live Chat:Phone support is old-fashioned but considered as the fastest means of communication between your business and the customer base. In fact, phone assistance accounts for almost 68% of the speediest interactions. Similarly, 44% of customers say that having a live chat support during an online purchase creates a trustworthy relationship with the service providers and is accounted for, as the top feature a website could offer.

See also: How to Do Customer Service The Right Way

Multi Channel Customer Service – A mean of seamless consumer experience

Your customer wants to be able to contact you with whatever device they hold in their hands and that is what your business needs to do – make itself accessible, by all possible means, for your customer’s satisfaction.

Integrate many digital platforms and provide seamless consumer experience through different channels. If you manage to reach out to your consumer base through numerous channels, your business will be providing fantastic experience to its customers, which is hard to give up.

Gain more loyalty and trust with your instant customer service. Stay responsive to your customers and effectively provide them with updated information and flawless support.

In today’s fast paced and transforming world, a business that shows itself invested in providing exceptional support to its customers, by making the most of the multi channel customer service, will go a long way in building long lasting relationships with its customers and successfully make its mark.

AI Technology and Customer Service

Recently I wrote an article for LinkedIn titled “Can we maintain the human touch with customer service?” I couldn’t help think about how fast we are moving with Artificial Intelligence that the question still remains, I am not worried about 5 years from now or what new customer interactions will be digital, but how will businesses maintain the reality check with their customers? Surely digital chat bots and automated ticketing systems will ask random customers surveys about what they thought about their service response and the level of happiness to refer another customer. To implement is very easy but to keep the human connection with your customers will be the challenge.

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Deliver Smarter Customer Service Solutions

At Woveon, we watch and analyse through thousands of conversations all uniquely handled by diligent customer service agents who, assisted with technology, work tirelessly around the clock to acknowledge, understand, listen to and resolve the incoming customer conversation. Clearly customer service has the human touch here! Even with today’s AI technology surpassing standards in reliability, accuracy and now business intelligence the human touch in AI must not be far away? This is an important consideration looking at the technology landscape today, companies are working on delivering smarter customer service solutions, from chat bots that understand your sentiment and can adapt to your tone and writing style to automated enquiry systems that can help recommend products while you shop online. Yet still, customer service and particularly conversation management is still a human “touch”, something that is defined intrinsically in the term “customer experience”.

See also: Customer Service: Its Importance and Value

Create an Outstanding Customer Service Experience

Let’s take the example of creating an outstanding customer service experience. Data tells us that outstanding customer service increases brand loyalty. Examples include begin a conversation with a podcast, send personal messages, create a lifestyle and get back to your customers. We’re not talking about getting back to your customers via a bot or automated reply email, but rather using an actual person who understands your customers and can understand the fine details and semantics of human feelings. Remember, customer service is all about listening to your customers and putting yourself in their shoes. Great customer service professionals can quickly adapt and understand the customer’s frustrations and calm their emotions. Being present and responding quickly in human is very different to doing this via a scripted automated response. However, in the enterprise world, a study by Oracle put it at 8 out of every 10 businesses who are already implementing or about to implement AI as a customer service solution by 2020. Nearly 40% of all enterprises are already using some form of AI technology with Forrester predicting a 300% increase in AI investments, the disruptive power of AI will impact every part of the business from customer service to sales and support. So are businesses going ahead at this the wrong way?

Having interviewed several CTOs and CMOs working with the technology, there is no rushing into the game looking for the holy grail. For most, the best step moving forward is in assistive and adaptive technology or to assist with data collection and analysis. AI technology is encapsulating more and more human qualities as technology advances. Bots are often deployed to collect data based off human input and use it to optimise the customer’s experience. This is particularly applicable to personalisation. Human teams then need to help filter, sift through and make sense of all the personalisations so the system can make better judgements in the future. Artificial intelligence predicts and prioritises the user’s interests according to their searches and similar inputs given by other users. This, when compared to the pros of human service, has similar benefits to empathy and experience. For example the human touch can continue on more serious, complicated customer challenges whereas standard, mundane everyday enquiries can be handled by AI bots. An example is AI assistance to lessen waiting periods for customer inquiries. KLM, the flag carrier airline of the Netherlands, used DigitalGenius’ AI system to answer customer’s questions faster. The AI units interpreted the questions and answered them with a quick edit of the preformed answer to relate directly to the language used by the customer. It was also able to adapt to the platform for the inquiries, pumping out longer responses to emails but limiting Twitter responses to 140 characters. Digital customer service seems to be directed towards matching human interaction but with the removal of prominent flaws.

So can we maintain the human touch in customer service? Having been a product manager and worked in technology since the first dot com (no I am not that old, I was just young when I first got into technology), we can expect to see customer service significantly enhanced with AI bringing the human touch to a new level. The amount of data that AI and ML will help sift through to help “advise” and “suggest” to a customer service team will break new boundaries. Customer service teams can then be deployed to work on escalated or prioritised items that result in a big sale or help close the deal. Customer service, intuitively is tied closely with the human touch, a computer cannot learn years of successful customer interactions without first being taught and guided by humans. This is a realistic fact.