Ryan LesterRyan LesterApril 4, 2019


One of the biggest challenges for retailers is not getting customers, but keeping them.

Loyal brand ambassadors are the backbone of growth and building long-term interest in a brand is no easy feat. Customers want personalised experiences and services that makes them feel as they are the most important client. A 2018 Bond Brand Loyalty Report found that 87 percent of people say they are open to having various details of their activity monitored in exchange for more personalised rewards and brand experiences. Consumers value convenience, time saved and flexibility and they will shop around for companies that can give them just that.

In addition, customers want white glove treatment should a problem arise. Even one negative experience can have a customer switch their allegiance to another firm. Efficient customer support has become a true competitive differentiator and businesses have an opportunity to stay ahead of the pack if they act quickly.

recent Vanson Bourne survey, found that less than 50 percent of customers considered their recent retail interaction to be excellent or very good, which gives retailers a new goal to meet.

With Customer Experience becoming a key success factor, businesses are turning to new technology solutions to help them quickly scale, improve responsiveness, and increase conversion rates. AI-powered chatbots, for example, are helping retailers be more responsive to requests and can even offer customers a concierge-like experience by providing personalised suggestions based on browse history, previous purchases, etc. While these chatbots are delivering highly intelligent self-service, they are also working behind the scenes for the customer service teams, gathering pertinent information about the customer and the question or issue to help the agents provide quick and personalised support from the get-go.

So how is AI helping retailers build brand loyalty today? Here’s just a few ways:

1. Offering 24/7 Service

Most online shoppers aren’t browsing during normal business hours. And when they have a question, waiting until the next business day to respond could mean losing the sale altogether. Chatbots are helping retailers be available to their shoppers 24/7 – answering the most frequently asked questions with ease and helping to ensure customers are getting what they need while they are ready to buy.

2. Creating a concierge experience

As AI continues to evolve, it’s starting to move away from handling simple questions and into acting as a customer’s personal assistant while shopping – providing personalised recommendations, reminding shoppers of sales to help them save, providing content to help with decision making, and much more. This level of proactivity means retailers don’t have to wait for the customer to engage, but can start building relationships by delivering information at the right time and in the right way.

3. Freeing up human agents

With all this talk about AI, what about the human agent? Individuals still play a pivotal role in the overall Customer Experience – but they are being leveraged in a different, more strategic way. Most customers hate waiting on hold – especially when they are having a problem. AI removes the need for customers with simple questions to clog up the human agent queue and allows customer service teams to spend more time with the customers that need them most. They are not only in a better position to resolve issues faster, but can spend the time to turn a sour experience into a positive one.

So are customers really onboard chatting with bots? The Vanson Bourne study also uncovered that more than half of customers agree that AI is changing Customer Experience for the better. I suspect this number will grow as the technology evolves and becomes more mainstream.

Today’s AI is all about delivering customers an intelligent and frictionless experience throughout their entire journey. When customers feel valued, they continue to come back again and again.

Ryan LesterRyan LesterJuly 19, 2018


Every customer is different – some love exploring new technology, some don’t, and some are indifferent, ready to use it when they need to.

This is why taking a one-size-fits-all approach to customer service rarely works. For example, millennials tend to be more demanding when it comes to customer experience, having grown up with everything at their fingertips. They want to seamlessly navigate channels without breaking their mental or physical strides. There’s no room for anything short of an easy and excellent experience. 

Other generations, on the other hand, may be more patient as they’ve come to almost expect customer service to be a challenge and can be resistant to new ways of communicating. 

So how can organisations serve a diverse user base, without creating massive overheads or hiring staff with specialised roles for different demographics?

Understanding the difference

Recent research produced with analyst house IDC divides people into three distinct areas when it comes to customer support, each with a different attitude to technology: tech laggards, tech compliant folks, and tech leaders.

Tech laggards aren’t particularly fond of adopting new tech, most closely identify with baby boomers, are four times more likely to report a bad experience with customer service. They generally believe that customer support teams don’t understand their questions.

Tech leaders, most closely tied to millennials, are eager to adopt new technology, and will report positive experiences with customer service. Sitting in the middle we have the tech compliant folks – they’re not in love with the idea of adopting new tech, but can they do it easily if they want to, and most closely identify with Generation X.

Research from ORC International suggests that different age groups are engaging with digital customer service differently. For example, only two percent of older generations have even heard the term chatbot, compared to 47 percent of millennials. Of those surveyed, only eight percent of older generations were favourable to the idea of chatbots, compared with 27 percent for younger generations. In fact, 39 percent of millennials believed chatbots would provide better customer service than a human operator.

Uniting the generations

It’s no easy task figuring out how to support different generations of consumers and user types, but it’s by no means insurmountable. Catering to all these separate demographics means knowing who they are, how they want to communicate and doing your best to support channel choice.  

Most customers – across the generational spectrum – engage with brands in various ways. Whether it’s through the phone, via email, on social media, live chat on the website, or a combination, it’s important for brands to be able to provide a consistent and personal experience on each of those channels individually and a connected experience as customers move from one to the next.    

These expectations don’t necessarily correlate to age as much as they do experience. Regardless of what generation you may identify with, once you’ve had a truly delightful Customer Experience with one company, you start asking yourself why ever other company have not followed suit. 

This puts companies in all industries under the microscope and increases pressure to deliver a better experience than not only their competitors, but all companies that are raising the customer experience bar. All it takes is one bad experience to drive a customer away and into the arms of the competition.

With so much riding on Customer Experience, how can companies keep up? This is where Artificial Intelligence comes into play.

The AI-transformed Customer Experience

There’s a lot of hype around AI right now, but it truly has been a game changer for CX.  On the backend, AI can effectively process and analyse the vast amounts of customer data to help identify current pain points in the customer journey and offer actionable insights that help companies optimise around those areas. 

It can quickly gather information on customer preferences and history to help agents offer a truly personalised service experience. And on the front-end, AI-powered self-service solutions like chatbots and dynamic search bars are empowering customers to self-serve where appropriate. This helps move repetitive and simple questions away from the agent and opens them up for the customers who really need (or want) – that human touch.

In the end, the Customer Experience is only as good as the people delivering it. While the generations may want to communicate in different ways, the expectations are quickly becoming the same: fast, simple, and effective service.  Whether that is delivered through a contact centre or via an AI-powered chatbot – the experience needs to be personal and delightful. Different generations may have different thoughts on what good music is, or who had it harder growing up, etc. but one thing we can all agree on is when customer service is everything we want it to be, we all win.

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