NLI holds the key to customer engagement

Building a closer relationship with individual customers is now a key objective for many organizations. However, those customers are already one step ahead. A decade of overexposure to increasingly aggressive marketing tactics has made them understand the power they wield over businesses that want their data and wary of trusting brands. Instead of engaging directly with an organization users choose to connect with friends, and even strangers, online to crowd source opinion on purchasing decisions. But surprisingly, treat them right and they are still willing to share.

And they don’t ask for much. Research shows that despite concerns over privacy, consumers are still willing to be identified, “like” your product, even give away their Geo-location, providing businesses offer a more personalized, relevant and productive relationship via their preferred communication channel. For marketers the challenge now is how to deliver.

Until recently most of an organization’s understanding of its customers has been drawn up from a myriad of sources such as market research or campaign analysis. Mining unstructured information such as email contact, chat conversations, virtual assistants and even social media has been a time consuming task that does not deliver the depth of detail required to deliver key action points, nor has it unveiled vital information that will enable an organization to engage directly with its customers.

Using Natural Language Interaction (NLI) to analyze the data can deliver far more insight into exactly what a customer is thinking, enabling a business to recognize trends and opportunities that can be used to deliver greater customer interaction in the future. Instead of waiting weeks for detailed analysis, NLI can provide critical business information into a customer’s mindset in days, enabling organizations to constantly refine customer interactions, based on information given by the customer themselves.

How an organization chooses to engage with its customers is also key. Consumers are no longer willing to allow brands to dictate when or where communication takes place. Although the internet is still by far the preferred method by a large majority of customers, smartphones and other mobile devices are rapidly becoming the choice of how people go online. This brings up its own challenges and ensuring that customers find the information they want quickly, no matter how small their screen, is paramount. In a survey carried out by Artificial Solutions 89% of respondents said they would buy from a competitor if they could not get their queries answered online.

Using a virtual assistant powered by NLI can overcome these issues advising, troubleshooting and even cross selling. This not only helps customers find the information they need quickly, improving customer satisfaction levels, increasing sales and building brand loyalty, it also provides yet further customer data that can be analyzed allowing for an even greater understanding of individual customer conversations.

Armed with all this information it is easy for CMOs to demonstrate return on investment in a number of different ways. From reduced calls to a contact center and increased web sales through faster customer self service to tweaking campaigns based on actual customer feedback whilst they are still live. As CMOs move beyond the traditional marketing strategies of the past, NLI can help bridge the gap between serving the needs of the customer and delivering the requirements of the board.

Andy, who lives with his family in the UK, is Chief Marketing & Strategy Officer at Artificial Solutions. A regular speaker at industry conferences and events, Andy delivers insight on the rise of AI, the challenges businesses face and the future of intelligent conversational applications.

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