Augmented intelligence: predicting the best customer moments

For modern TV audiences, commercials are slowly becoming a fuzzy memory. On-demand television is moving the proverbial goalposts when it comes to how audiences choose to experience television.

There is no longer such a thing as a ‘captive audience,’ with a variety of streaming services providing seemingly unlimited content, ready to watch at any moment. The power has shifted into the hands of consumers, who now knowingly prioritise the services that make it easiest for them to find what they want, when they want it.

This also rings true in our increasingly competitive and global business world. Companies are winning and losing customers based on the quality of the customer experience they deliver. It is what ultimately decides who leads from the front, and who succumbs to total stagnation and falls behind.

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So what does it take to provide superior customer moments?

Data is by far the most valuable resource companies have at their disposal, and it’s what enables them to deliver those all-important, superior customer experiences.

Data helps companies zero in on customer needs and fully understand customers’ preferences, what they intend to look for, and their usual habits. With this in mind, it becomes obvious that the customer experience will only ever be as good as the data a company has available.

It doesn’t matter what state your data is in. The key is to start using it now. Even data that you know is imperfect can be an unsung hero that can still provide your company with actionable insights, while also exposing the data quality issues that point the way for teams to make it cleaner and more robust over time. The saying “done is better than perfect” could not be more relevant for businesses looking to gain a competitive edge with their data.

Time to become ‘intelligent’

Meeting today’s customer demands starts with becoming more intelligent. Intelligent business applications provide companies with in-depth insights into what their customers are looking for, thus paving the way for staff to deliver on these expectations.

Take the cognitive computing approach, for example – it works similarly to the human brain, empathising, learning, and reasoning. Companies which adopt a cognitive-led approach are able to mine vast amounts of data, spot trends and patterns, and predict their customers’ needs before they even acknowledge those needs for themselves.

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Having this level of insight empowers employees to become architects of outstanding customer experiences by consistently anticipating the ‘next-best-action’ and engaging with customers at critical moments in their customer journey. It allows employees to be in the right place, at the right time, offering the right solutions.

BlueWolf’s recent The State of Salesforce Report found that companies using Salesforce who chose to invest in analytics in the last year are three times more likely to see their data as a competitive advantage than those who have not. UK businesses have caught on, with 62% of UK organisations declaring that they would be increasing their investments in analytics over the next 12 months.

Data as a currency

Data is a currency and customers know it. The power customers wield today comes not only from their increased ability to identify which companies will provide them with the best experiences, but also a growing awareness of the importance of their personal data. More customers are realising what it means to trade or share personal information, and are becoming savvier about what they should expect in return.

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How do you foster engagement and encourage customers to share their data? You need to demonstrate that your company can be trusted. Be open and transparent about what customers can expect in return for sharing their data. Failure to make customers feel like a priority at any point in their journey will cause their trust in your company to fall rapidly. It will also cost you the data you need to keep driving your business forward.

The power of effective employee engagement

Trust building, transparency and attention to experiences can’t be delivered without a solid foundation of fully engaged employees who are encouraged by your company’s culture and empowered by its applications. Decision makers should always work to continuously improve the day-to-day experiences of their staff to keep confidence levels in the workplace high.

One way to achieve this is putting an intelligent system in place that acts as a virtual assistant for employees, prompting action with the right information at the right time. This helps elevate employee performance and productivity and offers the potential to deliver significant boosts to employee satisfaction, which translates to happier customers.

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But investing in augmented intelligence alone isn’t enough. Implement systems that provide employees with universal access to information across multiple platforms, from their desktop to mobile phone, to empower them to spend more time with customers and less time on process and data retrieval. Back-end updates may not be flashy, but they have a profound impact on the employee and customer experience.

Don’t be the company that loses out to other competitors. Design experiences that bring out the best in both your customers and your employees. With the right cloud, intelligence, and mobile technologies in place, you can augment the expertise of your staff, enable them to continue to grow in confidence and ability, and keep delivering those all-important moments which prevent customers from tuning out your brand or switching off altogether.


Attributed to Eric Berridge, CEO at Bluewolf, an IBM Company

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...

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Augmented analytics