Without AI, your personalized messaging may be alienating customers

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Innovative technology is redefining what you need to do to appeal to today’s highly demanding consumers – from meeting their ever-higher expectations of convenience to developing deep emotional attachments. IBM Watson Commerce has developed a thought-provoking POV that outlines the recent, dramatic market changes and how they impact your ability to deliver a fulfilling customer experience.

We asked several industry luminaries to offer their insights on the topic as well and will be sharing them in a series of posts. In this one, Andrew Busby, Founder & CEO of Retail Reflections reflects upon the importance of knowing your customers and developing stronger relationships with them through personalized interactions.


Do you receive the same untargeted emails that I get on a regular basis? The ones trying to tempt you with the latest and greatest product or vacation that someone believes might interest you?

As a retail analyst, I rely on facts and logic to assess what’s going on in the market. But as a typical consumer, I respond as you do to the barrage of messaging that inundates me every day: I’m irked by inappropriate solicitations. Among these are the annoying personalized pitches that really aren’t personal at all.

Maybe you already own that fantastic new barbeque grill they’re trying to sell you, or you’ve just arrived home from that amazing vacation in the Bahamas. Sound familiar? This old style of consumer personalization is clunky, crude and frankly, a bit of a pain in the neck.

Never were truer words spoken than “no personalization is better than bad personalization”. It turns customers off brands.

But good news is coming. Just around the corner is a world where brands not only recognize you, but know your wants and needs, often before you do.

Sound a little intrusive? It shouldn’t, or rather it won’t. Not when you are on the receiving end of real value. And to achieve value, it needs to be focused 100 percent in the moment of what customers either want or need — not last week, not yesterday, not even an hour ago.


Everyone’s a VIP

More businesses could take a page out of the airline industry book. You need to fly around the world to get gold status. Like airline carriers, you first must identify your most loyal customers, then reward them with more personalized experiences like upgrades and pre-boarding. Everyone likes to feel valued.

If your technology lets you analyze your content and offers, you can predict which audiences will be responsive to what types of content and when they might be most likely to take action.

The hospitality industry is the same. Think about the satisfaction you feel when you arrive at your favorite hotel or restaurant to be greeted by name with a warm welcome. But what of that is good news? How are brands going to deliver this new world of customer recognition and reward?

Artificial intelligence (AI) has been with us for a good number of years now, although it sometimes feels as if the gestation period has been a little protracted. But the equivalent of the 1960’s space race is here now, with brands waking up to the idea that they really do need to know their customers – and show them that they care.

Competition, both online and offline, is fiercer than ever before. Consumers aren’t just far more discerning, they’re also more demanding and have much higher expectations. How can you deliver the happiness these discriminating consumers desire? By adding AI to your arsenal of strategic tools.

AI is the Holy Grail for getting to know your customers on the most intimate, personal level. It learns what makes them tick…and it’s learning more all the time. Fortunately, your current technology systems are probably already collecting reams of data about user behaviors and preferences, both online and in-store. And each time a customer interacts with you, you obtain additional valuable input that can be analyzed to help create a personalized, omnichannel experience.

By implementing AI, you’re better able to provide relevant communications to your customers who will start to appreciate that you’ve made their browsing – and their buying decisions – easier and more valuable. When you better understand and serve up what they need, that’s what drives the loyalty that keeps them coming back.

Show me you know me, and I’ll open my front door. Show me you care, and I’ll even invite you in.

Learn how AI can help you better personalize customer relationships in IBM’s inspirational POV, Deliver happiness: Engage, convert and fulfill your way to a differentiated customer experience – again and again.


Founder & CEO of Retail Reflections

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