EDITOR'S CUT

Can AI Help Customers Connect?

As technology evolves, so do customers’ expectations. We’re long past the age of seamless omni-channel communication being a neat feature: it’s the bare minimum. In fact, CMO Council’s research found that customers are going as far as switching brands if their customer experience isn’t frictionless. With digital e-commerce making a huge jump last year due to the pandemic, the gaps in digital CX are even more obvious than before.

 

As Ken Krasnow, VP of omni-channel marketing at Henkel, put it in this month’s Get to Know interview, customers can now jump into your brand’s narrative at any time. It’s the marketer's job to meet them where they are, not the other way around.

 

This sentiment was echoed in CMO Council’s latest webinar with Acquire, “Fearless Innovation at Speed,” where we got to chat with the director of digital technology at United Airlines, Rob Bence. After the pandemic hit the travel industry so hard, even the biggest names in the business had to be agile in order to stay afloat. Bence said that United’s recovery has been all about meeting customers exactly where they are on their “journey”—both literally and emotionally, using a combination of AI and personalized human experiences. The question that guides their process? “Do our customers want this?” A simple question, but not an easy one to answer.

 

 

Related: CMO Council's newest report, Rising Above the Fray, comes out May 11th and will dive into all the ways marketers can utilize self-service to create loyal customers.

 

 

But how would less human interaction create more connected customers? 

 

Research has told us time after time that frustration plays a huge role in whether or not a customer stays loyal to a brand. Through effective AI utilization, marketers can prevent both returning customers and fresh leads alike from needed to repeat themselves across channels. Though this may seem minor in the grand scheme of a marketing strategy, when the customer is made to feel important, heard, and valued, they're exponentially more likely to develop a stronger sense of loyalty to a brand: a win-win for all involved. 

 

Beyond seamless communication, brands across all industries are seeing great ROI when they put self-service at the top of their CX priority list. According to research done for Metrigy’s Customer Engagement Transformation report, 32.8% of organizations were using AI-enabled self-service, and another 34.3% of organizations were planning on doing the same this year. Creating a self-service environment through AI enables customers to get the information they need on their own terms: something that the self-reliant customer expects in today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape.

 

What are your thoughts on creating a more self-reliant customer journey? And how do you think AI can help move that along? Share your insights with CMO Council on our latest survey here, so we can keep bringing you valuable, timely insights as we recover from the pandemic. 

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