How has customer engagement changed in the AI era?
Customer engagement has changed in the AI (Artificial intelligence) era because latter has changed, and is profoundly changing both the overall relationship (customer experience) and channels through which involvement takes place (customer journey).
In the first case, the widening of the experience proposed by the brand is at the origin of the definition suggested by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) regarding customer engagement, that is "an intimate and long-term relationship with the customer". In the second, it is above all the relevance assumed by digital touchpoints along the purchasing path that has assigned an increasingly central role to artificial intelligence algorithms. Today a discipline has arisen such as Artificial Intelligence Marketing (AIM), which uses Data Driven Marketing systems with which it is possible to extract value from Big Data coming from disparate sources and automate the range offers of the brand. A range in which the automatism coincides with an extreme personalization, precisely because it springs from the same behaviors traced during the digital journey.
Artificial Intelligence Marketing, this stranger in Italy
The AIM, despite its great potential, still struggles to take flight in Italy. At least based on the results of a research conducted in 2018 by the relevant IULM University Observatory, which found, among 128 respondents, a 27% undecided about the future adoption of the AI, a 17% certain not to do so, a 36% in the testing phase and 20% of companies that have partially or evolved artificial intelligence solutions combined with marketing. It is likely that low appeal of artificial intelligence depends on an underestimation of its possible applications or on its reduction to some of the solutions attributable to this area, such as chatbots. In any case, regardless of the level of maturity in our economic fabric, certainly the combination of customer experience and artificial intelligence is destined not only to last, but to redesign the usual business models.
From loyalty to the intimacy of customer engagement
To understand how customer engagement has changed thanks to AI, it is necessary to refer to the loyalty techniques with which in the past the aim was to maintain a stable bond with consumer. Techniques that substantially leveraged on the little that was known of the latter by virtue of the previous purchases made. Not surprisingly, instead, the Economist Intelligence Unit speaks of "intimate relationship". This intimacy arises from the knowledge gained from the various interactions, online and offline, which focus on the customer in connection with the brand. A huge amount of data that arrives both when searching on the web and when entering a store and its presence is detected with beacon technologies or with others such as facial recognition. Already in this phase, it is the artificial intelligence algorithms that make it possible to transform the recorded client movement into information to be used so that from the "intimacy" one passes to the "long-term relationship", to quote the EIU again.
As a friend, towards intelligent customer engagement
The modern Data Driven Marketing architectures, which usually belong to the world of Data Management Platform (DMP), manage to obtain this intimate knowledge since they are able to:
- collect and aggregate transactional, analytical and behavioral data;
- process them, thanks to AI and machine learning, finding connections, patterns, recurring actions;
- convert them into analytical dashboards that are not limited to photographing the status quo, but also have predictive value (predictive analytics);
- transform data set into targeted marketing automation actions such as push notifications when the user is in a certain space or in cross selling or upselling propositions during his online journey.
Ultimately, customer engagement is built by "engaging" the customer with a set of proposals that not only confirm his tastes, but are also able to surprise him, as would a friend who gives something unexpected, yet desired. This is why, today we are increasingly talking about Intelligent Customer Engagement.