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IT Services, Contributed

How AI Can Help Improve Customer Experience

October 17, 2019

Movies and pop culture have told us that artificial intelligence (AI) is an ominous future threat. In reality, it’s a valuable tool in our current digital world. Brands are already leveraging AI to provide a smoother, more personalized customer experience. 

Capable artificial intelligence (AI) is no longer just a concept from a science-fiction future; it’s here and we’re living with it. 

In fact, it’s shaping the design and workings of our future technology landscape. Presently, we see it in the context of machine learning and deep learning.  

As defined in Forbes,  artificial intelligence is: “the broader concept of machines being able to carry out tasks in a way that we would consider 'smart.'"

This implies that AI has everything to do with solving problems as humans would. It follows that AI-enhanced technology is working to enhance our everyday lives. 

Given that we spend a whole lot of time on the internet, it would be fair to say that websites are integral to our lives. Have you ever wondered how AI contributes to your favorite brands’ customer experience?  

Below, I’m going to explore five current applications of AI in customer experience

1. Image recognition

When we do our shopping on mobile apps and desktops, we pray for a seamless experience full of recommendations we love. If we’re editing photos, a brightening tool that picks out obscured objects is crucial. 

Both these conveniences rely on AI-powered computer vision and image recognition. Popular apps like Instagram and Snapchat take advantage of this technology to deliver customized content. 

One of the highest-profile uses to date is Apple’s FaceID. Users previously had to unlock their phone with a numeric code or their fingerprint. Now, they can hold their face up to the phone screen and allow the camera to analyze it. 

The phone uses machine learning to plot 30,000 dots onto the owner’s face, which creates a 3D map for security confirmation.

2. Visual Search

Beyond the digital world, AI helps us interact with our physical reality. Visual search allows users to identify objects they’re seeing in real life and find similar ones online.

In visual search, the shopper selects or clicks an image, an image is sent to API, an API analyzes the contents of the image, information on what's on the image is sent back, and then results are delivered.

This is an especially handy feature when shopping for clothes. 

Slyce recognized this and decided to create a visual search-powered shopping application system.

Slyce's visual search handles 1, 2, 3 dimensional images, providing retailers an easily integrated, complete scanning solution.Their software development kit (SDK) for mobile apps helps users find online versions of their favorite styles based on images or barcodes.  

Forever 21, for example, proved the value of visual search. After launching a “Discover Your Style” feature on their web and mobile home pages, they saw a 20% increase in average purchase value. 

Instead of clicking on terms, web shoppers click on pictures that represent the clothes and style of clothes they want. There are even images for smaller components including skirt fits and shirt necklines. 

3. Wearable Technology 

AI-infused products seem to have benefited the wearable industry to a large degree. 

Key players like Apple (Apple Watch) and Fitbit collect data on users’ vital statistics and then provide tailored recommendations. 

In the future, wearable AI products may also help identify health issues including respiratory and cardiovascular disease. Researchers suggest the highly-specific data that smart clothing collects could be a huge boon for healthcare professionals. 

4. Customer Service

According to CIO, up to 80% of customer service interactions are expected to be handled by AI by 2020. 

Laced with AI-powered features, websites are now starting to offer instant online support to visitors with the help of chatbots, emails, and DMs. 

Chatbots integrated with websites are smarter and more intuitive than their previous iterations. 

AI technology allows for personal shopping assistants to help shoppers find what they need.

AI learning techniques have replaced scripted, repetitive replies, allowing chatbots to help users with relevant replies in real-time. 

Brands are using these chatbots to gather personal information about users and their preferences, which then facilitates their sales and marketing acceleration efforts.

5. Information Processing

Websites are employing AI to process large amounts of complex data. The speed advantages of AI-aided data processing allow them to do so more quickly than a team of data experts could by themselves. 

Based on this timeline, businesses can quickly churn data, learn more about their target audience, and establish customized relationships with these people. 

The e-commerce sector is effectively employing AI technology across platforms to enhance customers’ purchasing experience and drive more and more sales. They do this with the aid of improved search results and custom blog content

AI Requires Intelligent Problem-Solving 

Giants in the AI realm like Google, Microsoft, and Amazon have unlocked the superpowers of AI. They’re spurred by a desire to provide an absolutely seamless customer experience. 

Websites and mobile apps with well-implemented AI also have the added benefit of building trust with users quickly. On the other hand, they also present new and dangerous pitfalls.  

In fact, Amazon and Google have recently come under scrutiny for manually reviewing audio snippets collected by their AI assistants Alexa and Siri, respectively. 

Listening for “trigger words,” these tools have been known to accidentally activate and capture information without users’ knowledge. 

Driven in part by new brands prioritizing customer experience in their solutions, AI has progressed rapidly in the last five years. This has passed distinct benefits on to consumers, but it’s also created unique problems that require thoughtful solutions.