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Winning the customer satisfaction war with AI

Dec 25. 2018
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By   SPECIAL TO THE NATION

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STEVE JOBS: “You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology – not the other way around”

You might think that customer experience is a new concept for 20th century company like Apple.

Forrester, US giant research company, found that “by 2016, 89 per cent of companies expect to compete mostly on the basis of customer experience, versus 36 per cent four years ago.” This trend, which still increases, is having a high impact throughout every unit of supply chain in business, from products to sales, to marketing, and to customer service. Hence, customer experience is the today’s battle ground to be differentiated from other competitors, but how can a brand capture and quantify any customer experience so that it can improve the customer experience even better than before? However, to quantify, or even just to identify, the “experience” has never been easy.

To improve customer experience, a brand needs to be able to quantify what customer experience is. In the traditional way, a brand will measure it through conducting a survey which comprises of series of questions indicating the level of customer experience at each touchpoint. No matter how well the survey has been designed, it is impossible to reflect every customer experience throughout their whole journey. The survey selects only a few customers and each customer has been selected only in some experiences. One big misconception a bank has is about thinking that customer will satisfy with the service if only the service is fast. However, the speed is the minimum requirement. The quality of services is what customer needs to meet their expectation. The survey captures only a small part of customer experience which cannot be inferred for the whole brand’s perception. The traditional survey could not capture enough information to improve the customer experience for hyper-individualised era. 

Would it be better if we could get some helps from new technologies? 

The traditional customer survey has been conducted for 80 years with a little advancement in setting up questions. However, there are a lot of emerging technologies, i.e. artificial intelligence (AI), which helps the brand tracking customer experience more effectively and more efficiently without having to ask any traditional fatigue survey. One way is to use video to capture customers’ emotions which will reflect the true customers’ emotional states without verbally communicating. Cloverleaf, a US based retailed technology company, launched a shelf-based dynamic display which tracked and analysed customers’ faces for emotional expressions and demographics to adapt the displayed content which stimulates a customer to purchase the product. It has been proven double-digit sale uplift. 

Another way that AI could enhance in tracking customer experience is to turn survey from interrogations to conversations. It allows the brand to capture customer feedback at every opportunity without irritating the customer because the questions will be more personalised and related to customers’ experiences. Pizza Hut Canada uses a special chatbot-like to prompt the more detail and related questions in real time to ask about customers’ experiences and gently reminds them to share their stories. This response is more nourish, more detailed insight, while making the feedback experience a little less mundane and a little more human-like. 

Advanced Technology is not only elevating the capability of measuring customer experience, but it also helps bringing the customer experience into action in near real time. Facebook developed its own algorithm for targeted advertisements on its platform. The advertisements will not only individualise based on demographic and interests, but the algorithm also captures amount of time people spending on each ads and types of ads that would attract each group of customers. The algorithm then analyses and generates personalised ads in the near real time that highly influence customers to purchase any product more. This effective advertisement’s algorithm leads to 49 percent of revenue growth year-on-year in 2017 contributing more than 99 percent of total Facebook ‘s income.

There is no ultimate solution to perfect every customer experience. Technology alone cannot solve customer experience’s problem. It is an enabler for delivering any service beyond any customers’ satisfaction by facilitating the connection between customer and service. Staffs are still the crucial key to create and sustain great interactions with consumers. Excellent staffs together with advanced technologies enable a brand to consistently perform exceed customer’s expectation. Positive customer experience is highly correlated to the likelihood of repeat purchases or brand loyalty. If you can achieve it, the lifetime winner of this battle will clearly be you.

Views expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily of TMB Bank or its executives. 

Contributed by Bussaba Amnueypornsakul and Wipada Chanthaweethip. They can be reached at tmbanalytics@tmbbank.com

 

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