The Inevitability of Cognitive Technologies in Customer Experience
Customer experience is the most crucial and tiring part of any company’s business strategy. Market volatility and changing customer expectations make it quite challenging for companies to identify customer requirements. CX has been in the centre of every company’s growth strategy and it is important that they think about new and innovative ways to improve their knowledge of customer experience to design a successful strategy.
In this age, where technology has become a part of almost everything we do, cognitive technologies like AI, ML, NLP and others can help brands rethink and recreate their customer experience strategies.
Often synonymised with Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence is now inventing crucial transformation of online and offline customer experiences. The purpose is to no longer keep the data captured across the customer journey siloed but to provide it to other functions right from research to sales and other critical business functions responsible directly for managing the customer experience.
Big-Data is helping brands in restructuring the customer journey to make it more meaningful by removing pain points and delivering value at the right place and right time. Many change drivers within leading brands are of the view that for any organization that wants to build superior customer experience, investment into AI has to be long term.
We are dealing with a generation that expects good experience and can be put off by a sub-par one. Customers today, expect the companies to know about them and that knowledge is to be used not only in providing transformational support experience but also possibly assisting their purchase decisions. Offline efforts and processes can only do so much in matching-up to such expectations.
Right utilization of contextualisation through cognitive technologies can help in bridging process gaps and assist these functions in delivering an unmatched experience to their customers.
Decision-making with the digital brain
Big data analytics in conjunction with cognitive technologies are powerful tools that help companies to get a clear understanding of the customer data. The changing consumer behaviour proves to be a problem for companies as it becomes more and more difficult to predict them and what would make them satisfied. What worked today, will certainly not work tomorrow. One size will not fit all!
In this digital era, one of the common points of failures for many organizations is the ability to structure and stitch customer interactions together. This ability hinders many organizations from delivering a transformational customer experience-be it in terms of support. sales, upsell or cross-sell.
Is data derived from cognitive technologies reliable?
A common myth says – several customers choose to give proactive feedback only when there is an issue or a problem is encountered. Otherwise, most customers are passive. This, in our experience, is completely wrong. Customers proactively want to show their connection with a brand because they know that there is someone on the other end sitting to act on what the customers say.
We can gauge sentiments of customers towards the product by passively listening through indirect and open communications like social networks. We can gauge sentiments from how they interact with our product interactions. All these specific signals put together can deliver insights that can define futuristic strategies.
Many brands testify that ML-driven CEM solutions are highly reliable at it is helping them understand customers who leave feedback that is actionable and genuine.
Interesting use of these cognitive technologies in conjunction with feedback platforms is to understand what product to make by coupling entire feedback of what the customers are interacting with and what are the products that customers are picking up. So engines that are deciding what to make next are becoming more and more precise in generating designs, colours, what people are picking up, etc. and it makes a lot of sense in the fashion business as trends and customer preferences change very fast. It is important to pick up the trend when it is on a leading edge of the curve.
What drives customer loyalty?
Reachability to the brand is one of the most important criteria that maintain the customer‘s long term journey with the brand where every communication is a click away. It’s important that people are served as soon as possible and it is almost impossible to do this on the scale that bigger brands are doing. This is when AI comes very handy.
Also, watching the emotions that people are using based on their chat sentences, taking the person to the right escalation metrics or servicing them right there proves to be very beneficial for the brand as it enables in reducing manpower necessary to service the customer and it also reduces the negativity with the customer. It helps with people who are upset and ready to sign out from the brand to continue with their journey with the brand.
However, it is very important for companies working with such technologies to hire the right people who actually understand the implementation because all these advantages are possible only when there is subject matter expert in the team, who pick out the right algorithm.
Importance of cognitive technologies in 2020 to drive CX:
We are entering a paradigm shift in how the generation is leveraging and using technology. Internet is slowly getting to the smallest part of the world. People are getting even more comfortable with the concept of interaction over chats and voice. Products like WhatsApp and Assistants like Google and Alexa are riding this wave and educating the masses on these newer interaction paradigms.
Cognitive technologies are growing technologies, and newer paradigms continue to get added and sometimes replaced and because it’s in a constant state of change, many companies struggle to devise a strategy around it. There has to be a belief and commitment at the top leadership level to invest in the technology for long term gains.
While Artificial Intelligence is going to play in an important role in shaping the future of customer experience, it is still unlikely to completely override the human interaction, which adds a certain warmth and human touch to the entire interactions, which machines cannot provide.