The new technologies businesses are implementing today – especially artificial intelligence, machine learning and advanced analytics – are providing companies with previously unimagined insights into their customers’ purchasing habits, needs, and desires.
By taking a machine-first approach to intelligent automation and collecting data from willing purchasers of their products and services, these businesses are leveraging insights derived from intelligent machines. The result: superior experiences based on radical personalization and customization.
In other words, instead of dictating the customer’s experience through guesswork or gut feel, they are reimagining it through real-world, data-derived inputs.
You can already see the impact of these technologies at companies that do more targeted marketing, launch personalized product and service offerings, and offer better customer service. All these improvements have increased revenue and boosted customer retention. But equally importantly, they dramatically improved interactions between businesses and their customers.
Here are how some leading companies are leveraging these technologies to reinvent not only the customer experience but their own businesses.
Fixing the Call Center
Is there a customer alive who has not grown frustrated waiting to speak to a call center operative only to find that he or she cannot help them? Swedish Bank SEB now uses a virtual assistant that can conduct natural language conversations (while analyzing the caller’s mood to enable it to respond accordingly), helping customers with their most common issues. The assistant can ask follow-up questions and, if it cannot help, it automatically routes the call to the right human agent who can.
MetLife supports its call center employees by equipping them with voice analytics software that helps them better understand the mood of callers. The tool also offers them insight into their own mood, helping them keep their cool while providing more considerate help.
More Targeted Marketing
A B2B cloud company, by collecting competitive and customer data and combining that with its own product service and pricing data, has improved its prospect targeting. That has helped its sales force focus on closing rather than on lead generation.
A coffee house chain, by combining weather and location data with customer purchasing history (which its loyalty programs collect by offering rewards), makes personalized offers. This, of course, generates customer loyalty.
New Products and Services
Since the birth of the modern entertainment industry, studios and networks have had to guess what consumers will want. Sometimes they’re right; sometimes they’re wrong. Netflix, by segmenting its audience into ever finer groups, and analyzing each segment’s purchasing history, has begun producing new movies and TV shows based on customer data, not guesswork. The company, formerly a purveyor of other peoples’ content, is now a giant in the industry, winning multiple Academy and Emmy awards.
Personalized Customer Service
When people go on vacation, they want to be pampered; they want to feel special. Royal Caribbean International makes them feel exactly like that by collecting the music, photos and videos on their smart phones (with the vacationer’s permission). It then creates personalized videos and music tracks that are available in the guests’ cabins, making their experience unique to them.
All these advances and enhancements are grounded in data. Companies that make the best use of such data consider first what their intelligent tools need to function optimally, and then how their people can best use the insights they produce.
This is the machine-first approach, and this is what works.
Navin Mithel is managing partner, marketing and transformation at TCS and the co-author of “Using Advanced Technologies to Deliver an Uncommon Customer Experience Every Day” in TCS Perspectives management journal.
About the author(s)
Navin Mithel is the Managing Partner for Marketing Transformation within TCS’s Customer Experience Transformation practice. Prior to TCS, he was in IBM’s Interactive Center of Excellence and Head of Digital and CRM at both Napster Music and Alaska Airlines. In the 2000s he was a founding partner of Ascentium Corporation, a $52 Million Interactive Agency.
Former clients and employers include Microsoft, Alaska Airlines, Napster, Washington Mutual, WatchGuard, American Express, Fluke, Nationwide, Northern Trust, ABS-CBN, TCL Multimedia, BP Castrol, New York Life Asset Management, CIGNA Healthcare, Air Products & Chemicals, Puget Sound Energy, Weyerhaeuser and Group Health Cooperative.