Mark Blanchard, Global Head of Experience Design at Havas, described the amazing capabilities of AI and how it can be used to build valuable customer experience.
At the outset of his keynote presentation at the 2017 Customer Experience Leadership Forum held in Boston on November 2, Blanchard said, “We’re going to talk about this virtuous cycle that’s emerging, powered by the data we get about people using AI technologies and data from their interactions with the experiences we build. We can provide more valuable experiences when we know the personality of the individual customers touching our brands. If the personality information provided by something like Watson Personality Insights were embedded into a brand experience, and we could provide some sort of value exchange to the customer and offer that as a way in, imagine the kinds of experience that could unlock.”
“We can provide more valuable experiences when we know the personality of the individual customers touching our brands.”
“Everyone knows AI is disrupting entire industries and business models, but it’s also profoundly transforming how customers expect to engage with brands,” said Blanchard. The modern customer has three expectations of brands:
• Understand them as an individual and give them a personalized experience, since they’re providing personal data.
• Make every interaction matter.
• Show them you’re for real (responsive, authentic).
“The other customer expectation is to have a valuable experience that proves to them your brand is worth buying from. The most successful companies achieve value by wrapping pure data into a best-in-class, personalized, customer experience,” he explained.
“Good experience design works like a ratchet. When one company finds a good design solution for a customer need, it quickly sets the bar for the entire industry,” stated Blanchard. “Some examples include mobile check deposit, which was started by a regional bank; video-chat claims processing; and ‘shopping the look’—searching for apparel for a particular purpose such as mountain climbing or a cocktail party.”
“Good experience design works like a ratchet. When one company finds a good design solution for a customer need, it quickly sets the bar for the entire industry.”
According to research by Marketing Week, 83% of CMOs believe customer experience is more central to their role than it was five years ago. A study by The Economist found that 88% of CMOs see themselves owning the end-to-end customer experience by 2020, and 45% of CMOs rank personalization among the top three tech trends with the highest impact on marketing organizations.
AI can help power a personalized experience in the following ways:
• Understanding—AI systems can understand imagery, language, and other unstructured data like humans do.
• Reason—AI can reason, grasp underlying concepts, form hypotheses, and infer and extract ideas.
• Learn—With each interaction, an AI system develops and refines its expertise, so it never stops learning.
“Today, most AI systems are assembled from individual services (APIs versus custom-built) composed to build new capabilities. These are delivered in the Cloud and are billed as pay-per-API call. AI is proficient at language understanding (such as speech recognition, topic classification, summation, and translation), emotional intelligence (such as personality analysis, emotion detection, consumer values and needs), computer vision (such as object recognition, facial expression detection, motion analysis), and knowledge discovery (such as entity extraction, relationship extraction, content retrieval and ranking),” said Blanchard.
“All this AI firepower combined with traditional customer service techniques create a virtuous cycle of personalized marketing: Cognitive data personalizes cognitive media and content that builds cognitive experience that generates more cognitive data. The benefits for brands and customers include personalization at scale, streamlined customer experience, authentic brand expression, and content and media efficiencies. As a bonus, we receive insights to drive product innovation. Content can be dynamically fine-tuned and delivered on the fly to individuals who are showing up in your brand ecosystem,” he said.
“The benefits for brands and customers include personalization at scale, streamlined customer experience, authentic brand expression, and content and media efficiencies.”
Blanchard ended by presenting the following recommendations based on his company’s experience:
• Be overt and transparent. Explain how AI powers the experience and what the value exchange is with the brand.
• Collapse the traditional user journey. Bypass traditional wayfinding or information gathering to help users achieve their goals faster.
• Find your (virtual) brand voice. Your chatbot needs to be an authentic expression of your brand. Spend more time crafting its voice.
• Play back cognitive user data to the user. Let users see the profile you’re building of them, and let them update it.
• Future-proof your content taxonomies. Include tags that let AI systems personalize content based on personality, mood, values, etc.
• Be ethical. Find a human analogy for what you’re trying to do with AI. If it feels wrong for a human, don’t do it with AI.