5 ways AI enhances the customer journey

Artificial Intelligence is no longer science fiction. What was once confined to the silver screen à la 2001: A Space Odyssey or Star Wars is now fueling business decisions around the globe. Gartner reports that 59% of organizations worldwide have already deployed AI, and they expect to double the number of projects in place within the next year.

I’ve seen marketers adopt a sort of cautious optimism towards AI—the benefits are clear; but the sheer feat of implementing AI is enough to steer some away, as it often requires sifting through mountains of unorganized data. However, the improvements clients have seen in their marketing strategies, executions and results are worth the effort.

I know it’s not the easiest concept to grasp—and if you’re still not sold, that’s alright. Let’s walk through some of the key benefits AI can bring to the table to holistically improve the customer experience throughout their journey with your brand.

1. Customers feel like you understand them

Machines can crunch enormous amounts of data and do the heavy lifting on data aggregation and cleansing, which enables marketers to spend their time analyzing customers’ behavioral patterns. “[Epsilon] uses machine learning to build profiles and create models that predict what people are going to do, what they’re going to buy, even in some cases what kinds of images they’re going to respond to most strongly,” Epsilon’s SVP of decision sciences Steve Nowlan notes in our recent edition of CORE Content.

This information is invaluable to personalize communications at the individual level. Implementing machine learning can unlock huge untapped potential to personalize across a brand’s marketing channels, connecting marketers with high-value consumers in the process. Plus, with the machines doing the heavy lifting, marketers have time to really dig into those insights to inform their strategy.

 2. Customers receive thoughtful recommendations

We’ve all seen an ad for a product that you’d simply never buy or need—and it’s frustrating. You feel like that brand doesn’t know you at all.

Yes, machine learning algorithms can predict consumer behavior to deliver personalized products, offers, messaging, content and rewards for loyalty members. But the impact is what’s important: when customers receive a brand communication built by one of these algorithms, it’s something they need, rather than a compilation of products with little significance that they easily dismiss.


Enhancing the consumer experience with artificial intelligence

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3. Personalized content creates a “human” connection

Audience development and segmentation take on a new life by adding AI as an

element in the decision-making process. Each profile becomes a segment of one, so you’re treating customers like the unique individual they are, rather than part of a batch-and-blast scheme.

Creative plays a big part in this process as well. Think about colors, campaigns and timing dynamics—they all create an atmosphere for customers to connect to brands. Aligning dynamic creative fueled by AI with different customers is a worthwhile addition to any marketing campaign and can strengthen affinity towards your brand.

4. Customer service is fast and friendly

AI allows marketers to enhance the customer experience with around-the-clock attention. Bots and virtual assistants embedded in websites or apps offer a 1:1 communication channel for brands—one that’s highly relevant and personalized to the individual.

Conversational AI ultimately sits at the intersection of customer engagement and need. Fueled by past behavior, conversational AI can:

  • Greet customers by their first names
  • Ask them if they need any quick problem solving
  • Recommend relevant products based on current chat dialog or their last browsing session or purchase

Marketers can also nurture these customers post-conversion. When someone returns to your site, the insights gained from previous interactions will help brands immediately connect with relevant content.

5. Customers feel supported through each buying stage

Machine learning and AI support natural language processing (NLP), which allows for

organization, optimization and generation of content quickly. From a marketer’s perspective, this saves time and money by processing large volumes of content that can be searchable and intelligently tagged for easy use. From a consumer’s perspective, this helps successfully guide them through the customer journey with ease.

A fractured experience often deters people from continuing to engage with your brand. That’s where AI comes in. AI patterns allow marketers to make decisions on what a customer’s next best action is, so they're constantly building on past interactions to inform what should come next.

You don’t have to go it alone 

Don’t be surprised if you see more and more brands leveraging AI. This shift has come out of necessity; people simply expect more from brands these days. Marketers are pressured to deliver unique and personalized experiences on a dime, and AI can help facilitate those conversations.

Again, marketers who implement machine learning see:

  • Better personalization capabilities at scale
  • Overall improved customer journey

It’s understandable to feel overwhelmed or still have questions. But you don’t have to go it alone. The right partner can help you with the right crawl, walk, run approach to AI. Ultimately, AI is something you should take at your own pace—but staying ahead of the curve will set marketers up for long-term success with customers.