There are more ways to locate and engage customers than ever before. As a result, traditional attempts to personalize customer service and advertising within the enterprise have transformed into more broadly focused customer care and customer engagement in many innovative companies. Along with a shift in the way language is used to engage customers, customer care and engagement strategies need to adapt the way they reach customers. Millennials are amassing spending power and strong purchasing preferences, and with a preference for mobile, are driving online and mobile purchases. Online and mobile purchases continue are on the rise thanks to millennials’ growing purchasing power and preference.
So what are the most effective approaches to personalize customer service and optimize customer engagement in the new purchasing ecosystem? In the ‘Mad Men’ era of advertising, customer engagement meant ads on television or print that used a technique of thinking like the consumer – whether appealing emotionally to youth, sex appeal, beauty or masculinity. Many claim that in today’s advertising world “Mad Men” have been replaced by “Math Men”. The latter being Data Scientists and tech gurus that locate, target, and engage customers through intelligent, automated and optimized strategies.
While Data Scientists can certainly turbo charge the quantitative aspects of business development and marketing and may optimize an enterprise’s customer engagement strategy, making contact with consumers is not an entirely mathematical exercise. In the Mad Men era the two most common approaches to advertising were print and broadcast. In the Math Men era, brands are faced with developing a new media approach that spans print, broadcast, digital, digital-out-of-home, experiential, and over-the-top content. Being omnichannel is a new basic requirement for advertising agencies that serve large enterprises.
The idea of omnichannel engagement is that brands deliver a cohesive message seamlessly across these different platforms. Valuable brands with forward-looking increasingly prefer to use marketing service providers that provide omnichannel services. By developing an omnichannel marketing strategy to personalize customer service, brands can usher potential customers into the funnel via multiple points of contact, increasing the likelihood of conversion.
Here is where Math Men and Mad Men converge. In the era of multiple communication channels, human engagement must be coupled with deep learning for a company’s messaging to be effective. And what do we mean by effective? A brand’s voice needs to be consistent across channels, and it needs to resonate with the intended audience to elicit the desired action.
Any communication – be it live chat, email, social media or traditional media – is two-way. Effective conversation is not as simple as a speaker who talks and a listener who comprehends. Often, the listener is actively agreeing or disagreeing with the speaker’s point before she’s finished talking, and is formulating an appropriate response in real time. Speaker-listener interactions should be seen as a multilayered event in which the act of speech is mediated by many micro-adjustments of acknowledgment, response, and further action occurring in real time.
If human conversation involves so much adaptive improvisation, can we build a bot that’s smart enough to adapt to human conversation, and interact with a customer? The short answer: not really. While marketing and customer service departments shouldn’t be dismantled in place of a bot, these teams must leverage deep learning to succeed. There is great value in doing so. Deep learning can process a myriad of data faster than any customer service or marketing specialist. Repeatedly A/B testing a bot prototype’s speech for positive and negative outcomes can build a system that’s smart enough to increase conversion and sales.
Marketers and customer service teams should look to combining the powers of Math Men and Man Men – not choose between the two. These departments can be served well by leveraging artificial intelligence resources alongside immense, multi-variate data sets to provide accurate, actionable insights to teams on how to craft campaign themes, clear key messages and identify conversion opportunities. Great agencies need to personalize customer service. In doing so, companies will see measurable returns in web conversion rates, average order size, lifetime customer value, retention rates, customer satisfaction, and lead conversion rates. The key is not to view the rise of Math Men as a threat, but instead as a valuable asset to brands that sell online.
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