Cognitive Technologies: The defining factor for next-gen customer experiences

A Walker study says that by 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product behavior as the key brand differentiator. However, a good customer experience itself depends upon a huge number of factors. An omni-channel world has meant that companies find it increasingly challenging to maintain consistent customer experience across multiple channels such as voice, web, chat or email.
While organizations have kept on collecting huge amounts of data from multiple delivery channels, the ability to leverage this data is limited. For example, a 2018 Gartner survey found out that more than 87 percent of organizations had low BI and analytics maturity. This hampers the ability of these organizations to fully leverage the true potential of their data. However, this is changing with the rapid adoption of cloud. Thanks to the capability of the cloud to store massive amounts of data, a huge number of possibilities open up.
Based on the foundation of cloud, cognitive technologies technologies such as AI can be used more effectively. The development of AI or cognitive technologies requires a significant amount of compute power. This is where cloud technologies have played a great role, as cloud not only gives organizations the ability to access huge amount of computing power, but also gives access to huge amount of data, which can be used to train the AI algorithm. Many firms are now using the power of cognitive technologies, thanks to the cloud.

Hyper-Personalization
Thanks to the cloud, the ability of organizations to store massive amounts of data has gone up exponentially. As data now can be centralized in a much more cost effective way, many firms have now fine tuned the way they target their customers. For example, instead of mass spraying thousands of email messages to customers of all types, today, firms can divide their market according to different types on a real-time basis. Cognitive technologies have helped in fulfilling the demand of customers proactively.

A case in point is Myntra. The premier fashion e-commerce portal has successfully perfected the art of personalizing its brand to the specific needs of each customer. Myntra uses the browsing history of its users (what they shortlist, what they buy) to better understand the behaviour. If a user’s decision is more inclined towards a t-shirt or a shoe, then the site serves a personalized page for the user which displays the type of brands that a typical user is interested in. This is very different from a static page serving the same page to every user. This leads to faster discovery of products for the user, which in turn, leads to more sales. All of this is of course, powered by cognitive technologies.

Personalization is another key success factor for making a customer feel valued. This can be best seen in the case of a sector like banking, where most of the technology-led innovations are happening. Consider a bank such as HDFC Bank, which has personalized its approach towards every customer. For example, if a customer prefers interacting with the bank using his mobile device, then the bank can identify that this is the preferred medium for the customer. While this has been possible earlier, AI makes it possible to do it at scale and almost instantly. For example, if the bank observes that a particular customer has not walked into a branch for a long time, but is fairly active on its Internet banking channel, then the bank can instantly serve a display banner on the account page of the customer for higher chances of conversion. This can happen on a real-time basis.

AI’s ability to process transactions at a quick pace is extremely beneficial for organizations. For example, a real-time offer on the fly can be created for a customer who has visited a product page on an e-commerce site multiple times, but has still not purchased the product. In cases like these, the chances of conversion improve significantly.

The power of cognitive
AI’s ability to learn and unlearn from data gives organizations the unique ability to take customer experience to the next level. From personalized alerts to predicting buying behavior, AI can help in creating greater opportunities for organizations.

Personalized recommendations are just one aspect of cognitive enabled businesses. AI-enabled chatbots are being used by every major firm to solve customer queries automatically. As chatbots resolve more queries, they get more knowledgeable and accurate.

Chatbots have been so popular that Gartner believes that 25% of customer service interactions will be handled by chatbots by 2020.

Similarly, Juniper Research predicts that chatbots will be responsible for cost savings of over $8 billion annually by 2022, due to savings from faster customer query resolution, and relatively lesser number of agents. AI-enabled call centers can also route calls intelligently the right agent at the right time, depending on the skill level of the agent and the complexity of the call.

Cognitive based technologies can also be used to strike out potential frauds, as any change in pattern from a transaction point of view can be immediately flagged off.

As one can see, cognitive technologies are truly defining the future of customer service, as they can enable firms take data-driven decisions on a real-time basis.