Unlocking the hidden value of language to drive personalisation – Interview with Assaf Baciu of Persado

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Today’s interview is with Assaf Baciu, the Chief Operating Officer and co-founder of Persado. Assaf joins me today to talk about Motivation AI, language, personalisation and unlocking the hidden value of language in our interactions with customers.

This interview follows on from my recent interview – Design is not design without research – Interview with Alfonso de la Nuez of UserZoom – and is number 432 in the series of interviews with authors and business leaders that are doing great things, providing valuable insights, helping businesses innovate and delivering great service and experience to both their customers and their employees.

Here’s the highlights of my chat with Assaf:

  • Persado has a motivation AI platform. This platform generates the language that inspires every individual to act immediately.
  • This motivation AI platform at a very basic level is unlocking the hidden value of language by ensuring the right words are used at every customer action.
  • 75% of consumers prefer to buy from companies that personalise their experience.
  • According to McKinsey, companies that excel in personalisation will get a bigger share of a $127 trillion pie in the next few years.
  • The problem is that the way companies do their communication and personalisation today costs them over 40% of their conversions. That’s tens of millions of dollars of lost revenue for a typical retailer and can be over $100 million of lost revenue for a financial institution.
  • But they failed to address maybe the most important factor that increase conversion, which is motivation.
  • We know that 70% of the decision to convert comes from this motivation but what they do is they apply one message or language fits all approach. But, it doesn’t fit.
  • Motivation AI is the capability of a machine to identify and make use of factors that drive behaviour.
  • Language is the most powerful tool we have as humans to motivate others.
  • We run machine learning experiments on any interaction with the customer.
  • We are talking to about one or two billion customers annually, and we are able to understand specifically which concepts of language are present in each communication and how people reacted to that. This feeds the machine and grows its ability to understand how to talk to customers about certain things, to drive them, to act immediately, moderated by who those customers are, the profiles of those customers and how they how they respond to different language.
  • This is all done anonymously.
  • We invented a new type of first party data, which is called language affinity.
  • This is a critical aspect of doing personalisation. Language is a critical component of personalisation.
  • To not to take this into account is like trying to clap hands with one hand because you’re trying to do just the product offer.
  • So, we’re helping companies to clap and celebrate their customers with both hands (product and language).
  • Their approach draws on academic research in social psychology from an emotional perspective.
  • Academic research on emotions shows that there are 100 emotions there that are defined and they are called Primary, Secondary and Tertiary emotions. Persado has boiled them down to 15 that makes sense to use in the context of brands communicating with customers.
  • As humans, we always try to motivate others, and this is absolutely natural.
  • We have an ethical AI policy and we are religiously committed to that. You have to apply human oversight every step of the way. It’s just part of building ethically.
  • Because of where the economy is going companies should focus on loyalty.
  • In general, companies make about 15 to 25% more revenue from their loyal customers.
  • Loyalty leaders also grow about 250% faster than their industry peers.
  • The cost of acquisition of customers on social media, for example, tripled the last two years.
  • Companies that they work with include JPMorgan Chase, Verizon, Ally Financial, Marks and Spencer in the UK and Michaels stores in the U. S., which is an arts and crafts company.
  • Ally Financial applied Persada to their digital channels and drove a 57% increase in new investment accounts.
  • Michaels focused among other things on their loyalty programme and we are able to increase engagement by 41%, which translated into significant additional revenues.
  • One of the most important thing we learned during the pandemic lead us to develop a new concept in language. We call it the mindful narrative, which is the ability to add certain words and phrases to make any proposition that is hard to convey (late payments, defaults, or you owe me) in a way that will not be seen as tone deaf by customers in a very tough situation.
  • Assaf’s best advice: Find a way to celebrate your customers by clapping with both hands, which is effectively saying…..think about how you talk to customers and what language you use.
  • Assaf’s Punk CX word(s): (Holistically) diverse
  • Assaf’s Punk XL brand: Michaels
  • Persado has just launched their The 2022 Customer Motivation Report.

About Assaf

Persado Assaf Baciu copyAssaf Baciu is the Chief Operating Officer and co-founder of Persado. Assaf is responsible for the progression and foresight of Persado’s growing product portfolio and oversees the management of all product advancements. Prior to joining Persado, Assaf was Vice President of Product for Upstream, where Persado’s core technology originated. Assaf previously worked for speech and imaging solutions supplier Nuance Communications as a senior director of product strategy, where he was responsible for developing on-demand and mobile solutions. Assaf joined Nuance from BeVocal, following its acquisition in 2007. Assaf holds an MBA from the University of San Francisco and a Master’s in Social Psychology from the Sorbonne in Paris.

Find out more at Persado.com, say Hi to them on Twitter and Instagram @Persado and @Persado respectively and feel free to connect with Assaf on LinkedIn here.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

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