This week, we feature an article by David Meerman Scott adapted from the new 8th edition of The New Rules of Marketing and PR to be released on May 3, 2022. He shares how organizations can use data and AI-powered tools to benefit customers. As I write this, I’m using web-based artificial intelligence (AI) transcription software […]
This week, we feature an article by David Meerman Scott adapted from the new 8th edition of The New Rules of Marketing and PR to be released on May 3, 2022. He shares how organizations can use data and AI-powered tools to benefit customers.
As I write this, I’m using web-based artificial intelligence (AI) transcription software called Otter to help me turn recorded audio interviews into a text transcription. As I researched new ideas for this edition of The New Rules of Marketing and PR, I conducted interviews either in person or on Zoom. I recorded the audio of the conversation, which allows me to focus on what my source is saying, so I can ask better follow-up questions. I’m not distracted by the need to produce accurate notes to pull quotes from later.
I upload these audio files to the app, and then Otter’s speech-to-text algorithms quickly generate a quality first-pass transcript of the interview. To ensure that quotes are accurate, I edit to the transcript by simultaneously listening to the original audio and following along in the written transcript.
Behind the scenes, Otter’s digital transcription starts with AI, including automated speech recognition and natural language processing. The software is tuned to interpret the sounds that make up human speech and then match those sounds to the corresponding word in its multi-language dictionary.
That’s just one example of an AI-powered application I use frequently. Artificial intelligence is all around us, helping power many of the tools we use every day.
While AI is being used for customer services applications to benefit companies by reducing costs, there is much more opportunity for it to truly benefit customers too.
I was recently poking around a clothing company website, checking out a few items but never buying anything. Soon after, I received an email: “Exclusive 10% off for you,” with an image of one of the products I looked at earlier and a coupon to get the special discount. This kind of so-called “retargeting” once felt creepy, but now we’re used to the companies we do business with knowing a ton about us and using that information to market to us using AI-powered tools.
In fact, I now hate it when companies don’t use the information they have about me to make my life easier!
For example, the same week the clothing company cleverly retargeted me, I received an email from my insurance company. The subject line was “Your Bill Is Ready for Payment.” Here’s what it said:
Your current bill for your [insurance company name] insurance premium is available and ready for payment online at [insurance company name].com/paymybill. If you are currently enrolled in our automatic payment plan, there is no need to take any further action.
Please note: If a Notice of Cancellation has previously been issued, the payment outstanding shown on that notice must be received by the due date specified on the notice, not by the date shown below, for the policy to remain in effect.
There was more, but they had already lost me. I was super annoyed.
Why the heck doesn’t this silly insurance company link the system that sends billing notices to the system that knows if I have automatic billing? And why doesn’t the email system know if a Notice of Cancellation is in effect for my account? These are simple math and database problems that can be easily solved by a machine. The communications people who wrote this email need to get with the data scientists and customer representatives to create better targeting. I mean, c’mon—insurance is practically the original “big data” business.
In my view, collecting a ton of personal information from customers means we have an obligation to better serve our customers with offers, personalized communications, and more. It’s the human thing to do.
And when we fail to use data to make our customers’ lives better, we’re alienating them. Great customer service is fabulous marketing. Poor customer service is an invitation for people to look elsewhere.
David Meerman Scott is a marketing strategist, entrepreneur, investor and advisor to emerging companies, and bestselling author of 12 books, including Fanocracy and The New Rules of Marketing & PR.
For more articles from Shep Hyken and his guest contributors go to customerserviceblog.com.
Read Shep’s latest Forbes article: Instacart Responds To The ‘I Want It Now’ Mentality
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