- By Sherril Hanson
- February 17, 2023
Redpoint Global recently published research focused on consumers’ feelings and expectations around the usage of AI and machine learning (ML) during brand interaction. Overall, most consumers (73%) felt there is potential for a positive impact on their experiences in a digital setting, even though 45% expressed a lack of understanding of how these technologies are being used.
Dash Research spoke with John Nash, Redpoint Global Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer to talk about best practices for using AI in CX efforts, and to get more detail on the research.
“Redpoint Global provides software that supports data-driven customer experience. As a company we leverage AI and machine learning, and we wanted to get an understanding of what potential expectation gaps might exist and how receptive consumers are to the use of AI during their journey. AI is layered into every consumer’s day-to-day, and there is starting to be an increased level of awareness regarding the technology,” says Nash.
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Fragmentation, Consistency, Relevance, and Frictionless Journeys
“One of the main goals for brands should be to reduce friction during a customer journey,” says Nash. “Companies can do this by making sure customers are provided with relevant messages, offers and personalization. Without that, there is a disconnect and fragmentation in their experience that can lead to a level of mistrust. Relevance must be experienced in the context customers are in and in the cadence that is acceptable to them.”
According to the research, if consumers sense disjointed communication with AI across channels, 76% say they are less likely to trust and continue engaging with a brand.
“Redpoint believes one of the keys to this consistent, relevant experience is to have a ‘single brain’ that can deeply understand and know a customer. A lot of times people are interacting in a channel – could be a mobile app, in store, or at a kiosk and that technology doesn’t really know anything about that person This single brain can help deliver the right message, offer, and support to a customer,” says Nash.
“There is a lot of investment in omnichannel right now, but this investment must be paired with having the volume of customer data and analytics to support the experience customers are expecting,” he adds. “The better the data, including first-party data, the better the relevancy and value to the customer.”
Related Article: Redpoint Global Finds Room for Improvement in Travel Personalization
Convenience, Speed, and Security
Much of the survey data pointed to consumers seeing value in AI to provide convenience and speed to their brand interactions.
- Approximately one-third of consumers see positive CX impact from AI in website, mobile, text/SMS, and in-store interactions, and 1 in 4 consumers also see improvements for email and phone.
- Nearly half (48%) of all consumers say they would interact with AI more frequently if it would make their customer experience with a brand more seamless, consistent, and convenient.
- All generations agree they would be willing to engage with AI more frequently if it would solve problems faster than waiting for a human representative to solve the problem.
- Around 1 in 4 (26%) identify AI’s ability to help brands problem-solve more quickly, regardless of channel, and identify a solution or trigger action as being beneficial to them in their customer journey.
- 54% of consumers think AI can help brands keep personal information safer and more secure.
Nash points out, “Consumers want convenience, and AI can help with this, but consumers want it to be right. This is an area where there is a bit of mismatch with the technology versus expectations. Again, having the right data combined with the technology is key.”
Humans Still Needed in the Mix; Transparency Desired
The survey found 77% of consumers believe positive customer experiences still need an element of human touch, and 58% of consumers say they want companies to be clear about when AI is being used.
Consumers rank chatbots as the most ideal use of AI to improve the customer experience, but 70% prefer human interaction over chatbots. Further, consumers have very high expectations of the interactions between humans and AI.
“Again, this is an area where expectation and reality are not aligning. Chatbots are certainly less costly than a human but might not be a better experience. Some of the frustrations people have with chatbots is centered on the lack of domain knowledge to really understand the customer. It might not know all the service parameters and product information, let alone anything too meaningful about the person,” says Nash.
Personalization for Better CX
The use of AI for personalization is a bit more behind the scenes for consumers. According to Nash, there is a level of acceptance from consumers on the use of technology for this purpose, but it is likely not a fact they really think about – until they are disappointed with something like an offer or recommendation. Redpoint relies on the use AI for a few use cases including product recommendations, next-best action (offer or promotion during the journey), and ML-driven segmentation for clustering. Clustering can support highly personalized customer journeys. Says Nash, “All of these use cases help support the ultimate goal of relevance and less friction during a customer’s interaction with a company.”
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