The growing role of data science and AI in enhancing the digital customer experience

Realising the importance of enhancing customer experience, companies and brands are leveraging the capabilities of AI, ML, and data science.
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What is customer experience? Customer experience or CX focuses on the relationship between a brand and its customers. It includes every bit of interaction, brief or long, even if the conversation doesn’t result in a purchase. 

Having said that, a few years ago, customer experience meant how attentive retailers were to address customers and their needs in a store. And if this was executed well, the results were: increase in sales, customer acquisition, and retention, thereby strengthening customers’ trust in the brand. 

However, times have changed.

Today, how customers and brands interact with each other has evolved. It’s no longer about just window shopping or browsing through a brand website. Moreover, the pandemic further accelerated the shift towards a more digital world while changing consumers’ online shopping behaviors in the absence of brick-and-mortar retail stores during the pandemic-induced lockdown.

It led to another critical transition, wherein customers, who were earlier the adopters of online shopping, started demanding brands go digital in the age of social distancing.

For instance, they are now increasingly embracing the idea of contactless shopping, where several brands are turning customers’ living rooms into 3D trial rooms using augmented or virtual reality technologies.

These behavioural changes in shopping are likely to stay with us for a long time, possibly forever! Moreover, the brands identified that chatbots and systems backed by artificial intelligence (AI), including virtual assistants, instantly solve the customers’ simple yet relevant issues.

Realising the importance of enhancing the customer experience with changing times, companies/brands are leveraging the capabilities of AI, ML, and data science to elevate the same. 

Let’s look at how.

Focus on relevance

By now, it’s clear that in the current scenario, enhancing CX is vital, and that is possible only if businesses understand their customers’ shopping behaviour well. Moreover, with shopping becoming predominantly digital, speed and convenience are a few other vital factors in meeting rising customer expectations.

Customers today are also more informed and have several choices, unlike the yesteryears. They check out deals on various ecommerce platforms and expect retailers to guess their preferences and interests based on what they have already bought online. It creates increased competition amongst online brands/businesses in an increasingly remote, digital environment. 

That’s why it has become imperative for businesses to focus on the relevance of products and services more than ever before.

In fact, to deliver an excellent experience, all customer-focused business units such as sales, customer service, and marketing are required to work together and efficiently leverage new-age technologies for common goals.

This is where AI-backed data analytics plays an essential role in generating actionable insights for brands. 

Using these datasets, brands will be able to analyse new customers coming on board and repeat customers or retention, identify their choices, and so on. In addition, AI and ML will help them identify day-to-day changes in consumer behaviour like most searched products/services for the day or week, etc. Hyper-personalisation is another area that combines AI and real-time data to deliver content specifically relevant to a customer. 

Thus, to bring more such customer experiences, businesses across sectors are pumping up their data analytics spending. With such a development, brands will even be able to predict and gain an in-depth and accurate understanding of what people may wish to shop in the future - and such data-driven inputs will help them roll out tailor-made products/services.  

Monetise long-tail content 

Simultaneously, data science will enable organisations to monetise their longtail content. Businesses can use data-driven analysis or switch to a predictive analysis model from a rule-based model. Such an approach can help them identify customer preferences, preferred price range, etc., and they will efficiently be able to deliver what the customer wants. This will further lead to increased customer engagement. It’s also that using the power of AI.

Brands can connect with customers on a more personal level, thus improving loyalty and securing their trust not just for now but also for the future. 

All in all, customer experience is a competitive driver for growth, and businesses failing to provide a top-notch CX will be left behind in the global race, where consumer behaviours are shifting within increasingly competitive markets. 

Along with these also come the expectations that require businesses to amplify their core values and products/services offering. More and more businesses are therefore applying data science and AI to enhance customer-brand relationships.

These new-age technologies will eventually help businesses in making much more informed decisions on potential changes to improve products and services. And this is simply going to accelerate with the global AI market predicted to snowball in the next few years - that is expected to reach a market value of USD 309.6 billion by 2025. 

Edited by Teja Lele Desai

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

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