Not long ago, artificial intelligence (AI) seemed like part of some distant, cyborgian future. Now, everywhere you turn, AI is shaping the way we live.
From algorithms that design our social media feeds to voice-activated technology ready to answer the most mundane of questions (“Hey Siri, what’s the forecast for today?”), AI has crossed over from otherworldly to the here and now. But what about for businesses?
AI can be a huge boon for marketers who have spent decades in the dark, wondering what tactics work and what doesn’t when it comes to their marketing and customer service practices.
As someone who has spent 15years analyzing and improving AI-driven outcomes for businesses, I’ve come up with four tips that companies can use right now to boost their customer loyalty and sales. From my research based on conversation intelligence data, AI has the power to:
Capture Lost Leads in Real-time
According to 2020 data analyzed from hundreds of thousands of phone conversations between customers and auto dealers across the US, dealers only have mere seconds to reconnect with a customer who hangs up because of long hold times.
There are two parts to this truth. Number one: long hold times are bad. Very bad. Customers get frustrated, give up and move on to the next retailer. The second truth? Not all lost connections are lost forever. Once a customer hangs up or a call drops, dealers can still convert that customer – if they’re-engage on the opportunity quickly. But wait five minutes and the window closes. We know this because of, and only because of, AI.
AI’s ability to process real-time data and prioritize lost leads at lightning-fast speeds is unsurpassed. Here’s how it works: AI instantly analyzes billions of bits of conversation data, identifies a lost lead and alerts the seller to call back to take immediate action. AI can also identify missed opportunities during a conversation.
For instance, say a potential customer calls a home services business about her hot water tank that’s having a problem.
The salesperson does all the right things, BUT he forgets to ask how old the water tank is. In this scenario, AI steps in, prodding the salesperson with an alert on his screen, “How old is the water tank?” If a water tank is more than ten years old, it should be replaced— not just repaired. That scenario ends in a higher-margin sale and a more satisfied customer down the road.
Close the Gap Between Sales and Marketing with Combined Signals for More Accurate Lead Prediction
Today, CRM systems largely fail at linking tiny bits of customer data and marketing campaigns together. When businesses rely solely on CRM software, the end-to-end customer experience suffers.
This is where AI comes in. It can track links that customers click on, as well as other customer behaviors, such as texts a customer sent and whether he or she tried to reach a business by phone. All this data is aggregated and examined at a rapid-fire rate to help businesses understand and predict, in real time, which sales and marketing campaigns are working and which aren’t.
When you can quantitatively connect how ad campaigns drive customer actions and how customer service actions drive sales, the experience for the customer improves across all online and offline touchpoints.
Enrich Customer Experience through Multichannel Engagement
Here’s what customers want today: a seamless, end-to-end buying experience. Multichannel cohesion across voice, text and desktop is imperative. And AI can facilitate this brilliantly.
Let’s say you’re looking at hotels online and a chatbot appears in the corner.
You ask the bot, is there any availability in the summer? Do you have an ocean-facing, two-room suite? The bot responds that an ocean-facing option isn’t available at the moment but promises to send a text or to have a customer service rep call when something opens up.
The chat bot, though sometimes awkward to interact with, can assemble crucial pieces of understanding tied to what customers want. The bot can then ask for a customer’s number or email to follow up and the bot can do this at scale. AI can then digest what customer preferences are in one channel and bring that knowledge into the next step.
Increase Seller Productivity through AI Assistants
This is a scenario that happens often in the world of sales. The seller reaches out to a customer by phone, but the customer is busy and can’t talk at the moment. Now, sellers no longer have to see callbacks as an hours-long, exhausting endeavor. That’s because AI can reach out to hundreds of people in a single day.
In the course of each of these conversations, AI can ask some simple questions that help the seller focus more on those interactions that are more likely to lead to sales. I call it “Using the AI as an assistant at scale.”This prioritizes follow up action for higher conversions. And it’s done through the power of AI recommendations.
AI has moved from hype to hyper-real. Every day it’s becoming more indispensable toward improving sales effectiveness and providing workflow assistance. Using AI is a crucial leap forward in boosting sales team performance as well as a company’s bottom line.
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