How AI and ML is Enhancing Customer Experience Across Industries
Retailers—whether e-commerce-focused, brick and mortar-based, or a hybrid of the two—are increasingly embracing the power of intelligent AI solutions to drive satisfaction and sales in real-time. Growing at a CAGR of 40%, the retail AI market is already expected to reach $8 billion by 2024. Let’s take a look at how some of today’s leading retail brands put AI in action for a superior customer experience strategy:
Their Solution: ASOS, a popular e-tailer, uses an AI sizing tool called Fit Assistance to help shoppers find their perfect fit.
How it Enhances Their Customers’ Experience: ASOS’s Fit Assistance uses customer input—including height, weight, age, fit preferences, and more—to suggest an appropriate size in real-time. It pulls garment data and transaction history to help customers determine their sizing based on previous purchases. The tool also shows shoppers what other customers like them think of the sizing suggested by Fit Assistance. ASOS’s application of AI technology not only helps online customers feel confident in their purchases but also minimizes returns.
Their Solution: Neiman Marcus’s AI-powered “Snap. Find. Shop.” tool helps customers find the right product in real time.
How it Enhances Their Customers’ Experience: The “Snap. Find. Shop” solution invites customers to upload a photo of any item—from clothes to shoes, to accessories—and uses intelligent image recognition to serve up Neiman Marcus products that most closely match what they’re looking for. By analyzing visual input to deliver exactly what a customer is looking for in-session, this AI tool takes product recommendations to a new, more personalized level.
Consumer goods companies have a unique opportunity to better understand and relate to their customers via the products they sell—and with AI, they are making this process even more intelligent. Deloitte predicts that AI models will help consumer goods companies to rapidly improve their efficiency, their ability to personalize offerings, and their outcomes, as well as boost customer satisfaction. Let’s discover how top consumer goods providers are using AI to enhance customer experience:
How it Enhances Their Customers’ Experience: By engaging customers around built-in shoe sensors, mobile apps, fitness planning tools, and custom product design functionality, Nike not only creates a highly-tailored customer experience—it also gains a wealth of consumer data that AI models use to enhance products and experiences. One brick-and-mortar Nike store in Los Angeles uses membership app data to determine and continually evolve their product mix based on customer interest.
Their Solution: Coca-Cola has unveiled a series of vending machines powered by its mobile “Coke On” loyalty app.
How it Enhances Their Customers’ Experience: When it comes to vending machines, most consumers don’t have feelings of loyalty—a fact Coca-Cola is trying to change. Its Coke On app released in Japan rewards users with loyalty points when they purchase from a Coke vending machine. Coca-Cola uses AI to optimize its mobile loyalty program to show customers which Coke vending machines are available nearby. It also uses the data to strategically install new machines where customer demand is greatest.
Quick Service Restaurants
Unlike many other customer-facing sectors, the Quick Service Restaurants (QSR) have, at most, few minutes of face time during each customer interaction—and they must utilize every second. In fact, of the 45% of companies that plan to use AI for customer service in the next three years, 55% will do so to optimize the customer experience. Let’s explore how leading quick-service restaurants are using AI tools to rapidly enhance their customer experience strategy:
Their Solution: Smart kiosks that use data from customers’ historic transactions to streamline the order process.
How it Enhances Their Customers’ Experience: BurgerFi, a growing Florida-based brand, has implemented AI-powered kiosks that use facial recognition and sales integration to suggest menu items to customers based on their previous orders. Once the kiosk system is provided with a customer’s photo and credit card information, it automatically pulls their most recent orders as a starting suggestion for their current meal. This speeds up service to please BurgerFi’s customers and also empowers the company to serve more guests than ever before.
Their Solution: As part of its “Subway Digital” efforts, Subway launched a virtual ordering bot via Facebook Messenger.
How it Enhances Their Customers’ Experience: Using friendly language and engaging imagery, the Subway Facebook Messenger bot interacts with users to facilitate their orders at any Subway location in the United States. By relying on AI technology to provide a humanized, personal interaction, the bot quickly determines customers’ location, place their orders at the appropriate Subway restaurant, and even accepts payments via Facebook’s built-in Masterpass system. This creates a streamlined ordering system that delights today’s busy, on-the-go customers.
For the banking industry, increased intelligence leads to reduced expenses—in fact, it’s estimated that AI could save the banking industry $1 trillion by 2030. The world’s top financial institutions are taking note, rapidly investing in intelligent technology solutions with the power to address customers’ most pressing needs while also impacting their bank’s bottom line. Here are the top examples of this banking intelligence in action:
Their Solution: Bank of America launched Erica, its own AI-powered virtual assistant with machine learning capabilities, on its mobile app.
How it Enhances Their Customers’ Experience: Like other virtual financial assistants from Wells Fargo and Capital One, Erica can answer customers’ questions about their accounts in real-time and on-the-go; however, it also uses machine learning models to understand and cater to customers’ long-term financial habits and goals, becoming increasingly effective over time. This intelligent capability makes Erica, and other virtual assistants like it, a solution that customers can rely on for predictive assistance.
Their Solution: JPMorgan built an AI-powered platform for Contract Intelligence (COIN) that streamlines the analysis and review of financial documents.
How it Enhances Their Customers’ Experience: The COIN platform uses AI and ML models to save JPMorgan employees 360,000 hours annually by rapidly reviewing the data on loan documentation and other financial forms. Not only does this allow customers to receive feedback on their documentation faster, but it also reduces loan-servicing mistakes by eliminating the potential for human error. By efficiently automating form filing and document analysis processes from systems of record on the back end, the COIN platform makes banking easier for employees and customers alike.
It’s pretty clear from the above examples that customer experience has evolved in recent years from an oft-overlooked end of the business equation to a hot-button area of focus across all industries. A Walker study predicts that by the year 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator. At the same time, four out of five leaders in customer experience anticipate that their brands will compete completely or near completely on the basis of customer experience in the near-term. While many large businesses are investing heavily in AI and building in-house solutions, many others are partnering with technology experts, such as ZineOne, to leverage AI to make the most of every customer-facing moment.
Whether you are a retailer or a restaurant or a bank, you have to be smart about every minute you spend with your customers to delight them with experiences that will win their lifetime loyalty.