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How Generative AI Can Help You Exceed Customer Expectations

How Generative AI Can Help You Exceed Customer Expectations

Understand the moments where generative AI can provide fast and meaningful enhancements to your small business’s customer experience.

Less than a year ago, it’s probably safe to say that the majority of Canada’s small and medium-sized businesses had never heard of generative AI. Fast forward one year, however, and its role in delivering an outstanding customer experience could make it as commonplace as smartphones and office furniture in everyday businesses.

It’s okay if it feels like this area of technology has evolved so quickly it’s difficult to keep up. Artificial intelligence (AI) has been discussed in business circles for years now, and many small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) have been actively learning about how it can be applied to address their needs. This includes sifting through large quantities of customer data to detect trends and predict future customer behaviours.

Those uses of AI continue to represent an incredible opportunity for SMBs to gain a deeper understanding of what’s going on inside and outside their companies. AI can also turbo-charge processes that were previously manual and error-prone, from analyzing shopping cart abandonment rates to spotting fraudulent transactions. Generative AI, however, brings an additional layer of potential value.

The word “generative” means the ability to produce (or reproduce) based on an input. In the case of AI, this means taking language learning models that have been trained on a large data set of online information.

Algorithms can then use this data and create something, such as a piece of content. Depending on the algorithm and the application supporting it, generative AI can develop everything from written answers to questions in a chat to graphic designs.

These kinds of capabilities are bringing AI into areas that few of us might have imagined it could ever play a role. Generative AI can now act as a complement to those writing blog posts or social media copy, for instance, or helping customer service agents quickly formulate the best response across multiple digital channels at once.

The versatility of this technology helps explain findings in a recent Salesforce survey of more than 500 senior IT leaders where 67% said they’re prioritizing generative AI for their business within the next 18 months.

The urgency to capitalize on the promise of generative AI is probably driven by a need to grow customer relationships and drive revenue, as well as a fear of finding themselves at a competitive disadvantage with other firms in the same sector.

Whatever the reason, it’s time to think through some of the customer experience moments where generative AI can provide fast and meaningful enhancements:

1. Bring greater empathy to automated customer interactions

Chatbots have become a staple of many business websites, and with good reason. Whereas it can be costly and impractical to have people on hand to answer customer questions 24/7, chatbots are always-on. Chatbots are also a great use of self-service technologies if they are trained to address FAQs and common customer complaints.

Where things sometimes break down is the tone chatbots take with customers. A frustrated or anxious customer will only feel worse, for instance, if their interactions with a chatbot feel like they’re trying to get help from a robot.

Generative AI can be developed to offer a more nuanced kind of conversation with customers. Based on what customers say to the chatbot, for instance, algorithms can detect the emotional cues to guide more empathetic responses. Just recognizing that a situation has made a customer upset can help them feel heard and better understood, which puts a company in a position to offer improved service and support.

2. Brainstorm a more dynamic mix of content to choose from

Even the most creative business professionals can only produce a limited number of options. No one is going to write a dozen different versions of a first draft of a blog post, for instance. The same is probably true for designing a graphic element to be shared in a social media campaign.

By offering generative AI tools the right “prompt,” marketing teams can quickly produce extra versions of the same idea that can then be A/B tested. This in turn can help hone how an SMB shows up in a given digital channel, or how an idea can be developed over the course of a marketing campaign.

We’ll still need people to conceptualize ideas and vet what generative AI tools produce, but it’s a force multiplier in terms of quantity that can turbo-charge brainstorming and execution.

3. Summarize large documents and files to accelerate time to action

SMBs are often sitting on a treasure trove of data that they simply don’t have the bandwidth to wade through. There are often reams of data captured in surveys, for example, that aren’t used to their fullest potential because it means parsing a huge number of responses that were written in text fields.

This is another area where generative AI can be an ideal fit for the job. It can digest and produce a quick summary that SMBs can then use to inform important business decisions. It can do the same thing with piles of resumes that may contain information about their next best hire, or even books that could assist employees in their professional self-development.

Generative AI is still new enough that those developing the technology probably have a lot more in store that SMBs can use to exceed customer expectations. This is a time to experiment, consider all the pain points your customers and your business might have, and to begin putting it to work.

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