When we think of artificial intelligence, most people think of two specific things: androids, and the future. We think of creations that will look, more or less, like humans, and things which are far off from our modern times.
Artificial intelligence (for better or worse) doesn’t look like androids that do our laundry or pilot our spaceships (yet) but it is absolutely here – perhaps even the White House is getting involved. The very best businesses and brands are learning how to manipulate artificial intelligence to boost their brands and improve their customer interactions. How is that working? Let’s look.
Allowing For Self Service
In Sweden, there is a retail bank called Swedbank which has integrated Nina, an intelligent virtual assistant, into its system. When customers call in to the call center, Nina greets them and asks them what they need. With many simple and common inquiries, such as needing a new card, Nina is able to get the customer what they need without needing to pass them through to a human customer service representative.
This helps both the customer and the company. Since so many of the more basic calls are handled, the calls that get through to representatives are generally more demanding and involved. Anyone who has worked at a call center knows that handling the simple, repetitive calls can actually be more tiring than the complex and interesting ones. The company doesn’t have to create tiers of representatives with training to handle different calls, or transfer them between tiers when representatives have more than one question.
Customers, meanwhile, don’t have to wait to speak to a representative when they have a simple issue that can be resolved quickly.
Collect Data More Quickly
Whether in a call center or a business office, there are times when, by the water cooler, one representative will note that they ran into an odd problem at one point today. Someone else might note that they ran into the same problem as well, and over the course of the next day or two, it may bubble up to management that there is an overall problem that needs to be addressed in the system. With AI, this can happen much more quickly.
This can help to identify patterns of calls or requests, such as many customers running into the same problem on the company website, or experiencing a failure with a particular product or service. Since an artificial intelligence is designed to recognize patterns and share conclusions, it can help humans understand what is happening at the ground level of an organization, letting companies react more nimbly and efficiently.
Process Data More Efficiently
Many companies have started to collect huge amounts of data. AI has long since been acknowledged as a great tool to offer personalized recommendations to customers. From music services that allow users to indicate which songs they like and don’t like to online shopping giants that offer predictions for what a customer might want to buy next based on what they bought last, this all involves crunching data at incredible speeds on the back end so that good quality recommendations can be offered on the front end. Companies jealously guard their algorithms so that they can maintain their advantage.
It’s worth noting, however, that this tool can be taken too far. The most famous example is when Target began predicting who was pregnant based on their shopping patterns. Some customers were furious that they were being spied on; others were horrified when, for example, their pregnancy ended due to death or miscarriage, and they continued to receive coupons and free samples. Remember to use data with caution and sensitivity.
Making Choice Manageable
Research has shown that humans actually prefer a limited number of options to choose from. After just a few choices, the number of options they have can actually decrease their overall satisfaction with a product or experience. By using AI to track a customer’s browsing patterns, as well as previous history, they can carefully target the primary options that are shown to help customers find the right products for them.
Artificial intelligence has long since moved from sci-fi films to real life. Artificial intelligence is already changing the world we live and work in. Companies that are embracing the changes and expanding their options are finding that there are more and more opportunities for themselves and their businesses.
There may be many ways that AI can help your business, from helping you mine data to improving customer interactions to developing better products based on what works for customers and what doesn’t. The ways that AI supports businesses will only continue to grow in the coming years.
How have you seen artificial intelligence develop in your industry?