AI: the ‘human’ touch improving brand loyalty and customer experience

By Corinne Sklar, CMO, Bluewolf

Companies of all industries and sizes are in the midst of a revolution, driven by connected customers who expect personalised and consistent experiences across every channel. 

Marketers in particular have a major role to play in creating customer journeys, augmented by Artificial Intelligence (AI) and data-driven approaches to meet these expectations. Our own research shows that companies who invest in AI and dark-data for marketing will ultimately outperform their competitors in customer experience, productivity and efficiency.  

In today’s digitally enabled world, there is no excuse for not knowing your customer, and your customers know it. But by the same token, the buying cycle is more complex than ever before – customers are doing their own discovery and search, and this is making it significantly harder for marketers to decipher between intent to buy and general curiosity.

This is where AI presents unprecedented opportunities. The anticipation for how AI can transform business processes is driving investment for early adopters and experimentation, and according to our most recent State of Salesforce Report, within the next 12 months, 24% of marketing organisations plan to integrate AI capabilities into their business – and there are many examples of Australian companies that are doing so.

Fisher & Paykel (F&P) identified early on that it needed to increase brand loyalty.

Appliances are generally an expensive purchase, and the time between a purchases can be years, sometimes decades. Therefore, F&P needs to ensure current customers love them enough to return. To do this, it needed to deliver a consistent, seamless customer experience across every post-purchase touchpoint to make every business transaction simple. 

The first step was to bring all customer data into a single view so F&P can follow the customer journey end-to-end. Initial results are promising, with customer satisfaction increasing by more than 20% in the first 30 days of roll-out. The next step on the journey is AI, which can deliver personalisation at scale.

By adding elements of personality insights or sentiment through AI, touchpoints like email and web can become more ‘human’ and can continue to build on previous customer interactions. According to our research, Australian organisations expect AI to have the biggest impact for converting sales (28%), customer care (18%) and customer satisfaction (15%).

However, personalisation through AI can only be achieved by adding one thing to the mix – data. Data is the life-force that powers AI, and the best marketers know that in order to know your customer, you need to know your data. Yet despite marketers having all the tools they need at their fingertips to acquire new customers and optimise campaigns, Bluewolf’s research found only a quarter (27%) of Australian organisations currently have a complete view of their customers – with  almost half (43%) saying it is because they have disparate systems.

These figures are concerning, and for the marketers out there that haven't yet implemented a data-driven approach to gain a 360 degree view of their customers, it's time to act. Consider working with experts in the space who are able to build actionable plans and processes using AI to analyse data, including unstructured data from social channels, messages, and other web interactions.

F&P’s example shows the power of data analytics and AI. The company’s AI journey is already providing unprecedented understanding of their customers, including their preferences, personalities, and behaviours. Better still, it has delivered clear ROI and business impact.

In the AI-first world, the only best companies are the ones who embrace AI at the core of their marketing and customer experience strategies and tap into their data in order to do so.