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AI and its Place in E-Commerce
Anna Cole, Director of E-Commerce Operations, User Experience and Merchandising, Carhartt
Technological Impact on Customer Experiences
By Diane Magers, CEO, Customer Experience Professionals Association
With all the technology advances, we find that organizations that focus on human experiences to understand what customers need and want as well as their feelings about our brand’s services and products. Information technology and digital data provide us with insights into the experiences of memory and human connection that were not prevalent earlier. Today, technology helps us to track and understand all of the touch points and integrates huge amounts of information. The ability to interpret more information about the human body through facial recognition, body language recognition and emotional measures for confirmation with the use of technology helps in developing solutions and services for the customers.
Technological Trends Related to Customer Experience
We shouldn't think of technology as being the answer to experience. Technology is an enabler of creating great experiences. It helps us build and deliver better value for the customer, the employee and the brand by creating simpler, easier, faster and more personalized experiences. It can also inform us about what we should continue to change or innovate, but more importantly, the why.”
So, technology is crucial for business growth as it provides value to both the customer and the organization. It enables interactions, provides intelligence and provides insights and analysis. The opportunity for organizations that work in ‘cylinders of excellence’ or silos is that technology and customer intelligence will provide more holistic view of the complex interplay between customers and brands. Whether your customers visit a retail store, shop online, talk with sales person–all of these interactions are enabled with technology and provide vast amounts of rich information.
We shouldn't think of technology as being the answer to experience. Technology is an enabler of creating great experiences. It helps us build and deliver better value for the customer, the employee and the brand by creating simpler, easier, faster and more personalized experiences. It can also inform us about what we should continue to change or innovate, but more importantly, the why.
The importance of operational and interaction data can now include many more factors that drive experiences including sentiment analysis, digital body language, facial and emotion tracking all gives us an insight into how brands can build their interactions to meet those the customer’s needs. All that rich information is gathered to get a 360-degree view of the characteristic traits of the customers. Many organizations are analyzing and using customer intelligence to define the impact of experiences and using machine learning, Chatbots, and Artificial Intelligence to help reduce effort, provide personalized service and enable more engaging interactions. Although technology is a highly valuable factor in customer experience, we can’t forget the human elements in our design of our experiences.
Personality Traits that Shape Leadership
I started my career as a clinical psychologist so my focus has always been about the human behaviour, personality, emotions. A trait that is evident in all the members of our association customers is the desire to connect the dots that let them look at all the touch points a customer has with a brand holistically. Customer experience professionals know that technology can enable fabulous experiences, but in the end, the human element and the customer’s perception of the experience is what drives their behaviour–to buy more, stay longer, or tell others about their experience with your brand. If you think about you last interaction with a brand, was it memorable? How did you feel after the interaction? Will you go back to interacting with the brand? All of these behaviours–as a result of an experience–are what impact our brand’s sales, costs, social presence and brand presence in the marketplace. In this fast-paced world, it is critical to deeply understand the customer's mindset and their behaviour that drives brand’s business performance.
Valuable Advice to Fellow Executives
Customer experience has a huge impact on every organization. There are many critical factors for creating great customer experiences including design thinking, building more collaborative working teams, or a council that is representative of a cross-functional, enterprise decision making. The ability to manage and leverage all the available customer intelligence and data, turn it to insights and define actions that will improve or optimize the experience is critical. Technology can help us achieve better customer experiences but in the end, it is the human experience and needs that we must care for.