How about immediate customer feedback, efficient customer support and personalization?
May 28, 2019 6 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
If there’s one thing that AI can’t do, it’s be human. But that's not necessarily a bad thing because, even the least sophisticated bots today can analyze massive amounts of data in seconds, spit out mathematical results and continue those tasks nigh on forever. Moreover, the most sophisticated 21st century robots can:
So, while AI tools can’t technically be human (they are still robots, after all), they can do a lot of things only humans could once do. And bots' sophistication is hardly limited to self-driving cars or board-game world championships: Human or not, this technology can be used to build healthier, longer-lasting relationships with customers.
1. Immediate custom feedback
One very human experience is giving and receiving feedback, quality feedback. You go to the doctor, and he or she examines you, then diagnoses what’s wrong.
You take a test, your teacher grades it and tells you how you did. You compete in a 100-meter sprint, win, lose or end up somewhere in the middle, and get a medal to prove it. People love this kind of feedback (mostly because we hate uncertainty). Reason: It’s definitive, easy to understand and makes us feel good about ourselves.
In fact, most of us love feedback so much that we’re willing to work harder when we receive it, according to research by the Harvard Business Review.
But what about your customers?
Well, consider chemoWave, a mobile app which helps cancer patients navigate their challenging journey. Users can update their symptoms and conditions, gain personal health insights and share updates with chemoWave’s “Care Team,” all thanks to the AI behind the app.
Here’s how the founder of chemoWave, Matt Lashey, put it when I interviewed him by phone: “If it weren’t for AI technology, we wouldn’t be able to provide our customers with the kind of immediate, custom feedback to their symptoms and behaviors that our users need and crave.”
So, take a lesson here: Your customers want feedback just as much as the next person -- on their progress, their correct or incorrect use of your product and how they might quickstart their results. AI, therefore, because it analyzes your customers' efforts and provides them real-time, user-based feedback, can create just the experience that those customers want and strengthen your business's brand-user relationship.
2. Efficient customer support
In customer support, it’s hard to beat the human touch. Most people just want to talk to a real person and they want to do so as quickly as possible -- that hasn’t changed (yet). But you can still use chatbots to answer simple, commonly asked questions with a little more flair and personality than an FAQ page provides. And you can also use this technology to speed up human customer-support interactions by having your bots collect account information, ask pertinent questions and record answers before a call even happens.
The truth is, a shocking 96 percent of consumers say customer service is a critical factor in determining how loyal they are to a brand, according to a report by Microsoft. If you’re going to keep customers around for the long term, you can’t afford to neglect customer support. But you also might not be able to afford a full call center of dedicated reps.
With AI, you might not have to choose. Massive brands like Sephora, Spotify, Staples and the Wall Street Journal already use chatbots to build better relationships with their customers in one way or another. And customer support is one -- if not the -- primary way to do that.
3. Subtle personalization
Some marketers have overdone personalization so much that Neil Patel called for “De-Personalization” on his blog in 2018. Wrote Patel: “Have you ever received an email from someone with your name on it and thought to yourself, ‘They didn’t send this email just to me. Who does this person think they’re tricking?’"
Added Patel: "The reality is that everyone knows your emails are going to a large group of people, not just them. So using [individual recipients' names] feels disingenuous.”
In other words, too much personalization can do the opposite of building a strong relationship with your customers -- it can feel disingenuous and bizarre.
But a subtle bit of personalization powered by bots -- sending interest-based special offers, offering birthday discounts or using behaviorally triggered email sequences -- can all work not only to build a healthy relationship with your customers, but also increase your conversion rate and business revenue.
VWO, for instance, saw a 149 percent increase in its conversion rate when it implemented behavioral ad-targeting. Just don’t overdo it. A little AI-based personalization goes a long way!
No, AI can’t be human. Not yet, at least. And it’s hard to predict how far the machines will go and what they’ll be capable of within even this next decade. But one thing’s for sure: The more sophisticated they become, the more capable they’ll be of helping business owners like you build meaningful relationships with your customers, brand your business and increase long-term retention. And right now, the above three tactics are ripe and ready to be used.