Unlocking Growth with GenAI: Transforming Customer Data into Strategic Opportunity

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Whether it’s the way we’re raised, the cultures we come from, or the lifestyles we lead, a number of factors shape what we want to buy, and why we want to buy it. Despite these differences, consumers have something in common: we all want to feel seen and valued as unique individuals and we love to be recognized through personalized experiences.

In our data-driven world, brands have ample opportunities to collect valuable information from customer touchpoints, including purchase history, cart abandonment and click-through rates to understand what individual consumers may want. But turning this data into actionable insights, increased sales and strategic growth opportunities can be challenging, considering the sheer amount of data available. In 2023, an estimated 120 zettabytes of data were created worldwide. For context, one zettabyte of storage space holds approximately 500 billion movies. But more isn’t always better – too much information can hinder success.

With expanding global customer bases producing troves of data by the minute, it’s impossible for humans to process and analyze it efficiently and cost-effectively to be able to deliver personalization at scale. What’s more, the types of data and the information that can be extracted also varies. From identity, engagement and behavioral data, which offers quantitative measures of customer actions and behaviors to attitudinal data, which offers qualitative context. When analyzed properly, this data can offer tremendous insights, but many businesses do not have the right resources or expertise to do so effectively, resulting in missed opportunities to measure crucial customer sentiments.

The Power of GenAI to Transform Business

Today’s generative AI (GenAI) models can augment human intelligence and enhance existing capabilities including:

  • Data Processing Power: GenAI can swiftly analyze vast amounts of data, extracting valuable insights that might be otherwise overlooked or take humans significantly longer to discern.
  • Pattern Recognition: GenAI excels at recognizing patterns and correlations within datasets, which can uncover trends, hidden business opportunities or potential risks.
  • Predictive Capabilities: GenAI can forecast trends and outcomes based on historical data, aiding companies in making informed decisions and anticipating market shifts.
  • Automation and Efficiency: GenAI frees up human resources to focus on more strategic initiatives by automating repetitive tasks and streamlining processes, ultimately enhancing overall efficiency and productivity.
  • Personalization: With its ability to analyze individual preferences and behaviors, GenAI enables companies to personalize their offerings and marketing strategies, enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Leveraging Customer Intelligence to Personalize CX and Drive Growth

So how do all the impressive capabilities of GenAI help brands keep their customers happy? Afterall, a brand’s long-term success is dependent on maintaining a solid customer base. According to recent survey results conducted by my firm, TELUS International, 62% of respondents indicated they would prefer a more personalized customer experience (CX) over one that took less time. When survey respondents weren’t limited to a single response, they said that CX should be more personalized (44%), faster (44%) and make you want to purchase again (45%).

In fact, in the State of the Connected Consumer report by Salesforce, 74% of consumers expect better personalization when they provide more data to an organization, even more so than when technology advances (73%) and even when they spend more money (64%). What’s more, Retail TouchPoint’s 2023 Benchmark Survey on customer loyalty and personalization found that 53% of businesses with a personalization strategy have seen increased loyalty and 47% have seen increased sales.

As more brands start to use GenAI, it’s important for them to take a measured approach to implementation in order to maximize the data that can be extracted through website clicks, purchases, customer service chats and other consumer-brand interactions. GenAI’s advanced capabilities, including sentiment analysis on attitudinal data, demand forecasting and customer journey modeling can provide actionable insights to not only address customer pain points and their motivations, but also predict future trends. GenAI can also help test and optimize chatbots more effectively to enable brands to deliver tailored customer experiences at scale.

Implementing GenAI Responsibly

The ultimate key to successful GenAI implementation is through its responsible adoption guided by a robust governance framework and education. Similar to machine learning (ML), GenAI platforms learn from each interaction and require continuous monitoring, fine-tuning and training from humans. But unlike ML, GenAI has the ability to create new content. It also has the propensity to hallucinate and can perpetuate biases if left unchecked. Reinforcement learning through human feedback (RLHF) helps fine-tune AI-powered chatbots to improve performance. The model receives human-generated prompts and responses, using data to predict outputs. Humans then grade those responses for quality and accuracy, and correct and train the model accordingly.

Additionally, brands must ensure they remain transparent about where and how they are collecting, storing and using their customers’ data. Transparency breeds trust, which is a fundamental part of any brand-consumer relationship. Survey findings from my firm found that 71% of consumers demand brand transparency on GenAI deployment. Additionally, while rules and regulations surrounding GenAI continue to develop and evolve, brands must ensure they proactively incorporate best practices into their governance framework to mitigate risk while at the same time building consumer trust and confidence.

Data + GenAI: The Great Differentiator

The bottom line is that GenAI is a powerful tool for companies to unlock value by leveraging data-driven insights to improve operational efficiency, foster innovation and fundamentally reshape how they can connect and engage with consumers. By responsibly leveraging its capabilities to uncover latent trends and anticipate market shifts, organizations are better positioned to make informed decisions and meaningfully customize every customer interaction. With the proper governance framework, GenAI can comprehensively transform organizations into consumer-centric operations that provide superior experiences and deliver sustainable growth.

Michael Ringman
Michael Ringman is the Chief Information Officer at TELUS International and has been with the company since 2012. As CIO, Michael remains focused on driving continuous innovation for both customers and team members, and has built his career on implementing technology services, especially developing public and private cloud solutions for retail, government, technology and finance verticals. Michael holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering and a Master of Science in Telecommunications, both from the University of Colorado.

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