Artificial Intelligence (AI) Enables a Personalized Customer Experience at Scale

By February 11, 2021Blog

Guest Authors: Utpal Mangla: VP & Senior Partner; Global Leader: IBM’s Telco Media Entertainment Industry Center of Competency at IBM (utpal.mangla@ca.us.ibm) AND Luca Marchi: Artificial Intelligence Lead – Center of Competence – Telco, Media andEntertainment at IBM (lmarchi@us.ibm.com)

As a client, how many times did you say: “This company really gets me?”. And when that happens, how did it influence your loyalty and the likelihood to do more business with them? Probably a LOT!!!

That’s exactly why customer experience is a KEY competitive advantage for companies in every sector and specifically for those in the telecommunication, media and entertainment industry. Providing an excellent and frictionless customer experience is the best way to reduce churn, improve NPS and increase ARPU through up-sell activities

On the other end, telecommunication, media & entertainment industries have been challenged by digitally native ‘Over The Top’ (OTT) entrants that design their organizations around the concept of superior customer experience. Matching their level of client focus and exceeding expectations is the only way to resist their attacks.

Using AI to understand your customers

AI has proven to be a key enabler in better understanding customers. AI enables companies to better relate with their client in 3 impactful and powerful ways:

  • 1) Derive insights from Big Data: In order to understand your customers, you need data about them. Luckily, we live in the era of big data, where user-generated data, internal and external data, public and private data abound. AI has the ability to ingest, understand and provide actionable insights based on those data. Also, AI models can be optimized and tuned automatically, improving after each interaction.
  • 2) Leverage Context: When making decisions, AI takes into account the context. The user experience is not only based on who the customer is but also on what the customer is going through at this very moment.
  • 3) Scale a personalized interaction: Ideal way to provide a customized experience would be to assign an attendant to each customer, like in a high-end restaurant. That is clearly not feasible, but AI comes to help. Through natural language understanding technology, companies can scale high touch customer support to provide the same level of expertise and engagement to all their clients

Customer experience starts with the Network

When it comes to telco, there is no personalized customer experience that can make up for network failures. We expect services to be up ALL the time. If not, we are ready to switch provider. Expectation of network availability has become even more pertinent in the current COVID environment. Implicit expectation is that networks are up and running 24/7

Telecommunication companies are acutely aware of these expectations. That’s why they are infusing artificial intelligence in their network operations

In fact, machine learning models can leverage network data to proactively get ahead of anomalous network activity and degradations; thereby increasing speed and accuracy of the detection, prevention, and repair of network issues. Artificial intelligence supports network engineers in root cause analysis, repair recommendation and covering the entire problem to resolution process.

AI can also be used to link network and services. Predictive insights proactively monitor and manage end-to-end service quality thus, enabling operators to prioritize actions based on impact to services and customer experience. 

Shaping Digital Re-invention and Personalized Engagement

Making the network available 24/7 is a great first step to improving personal experience, but it is not sufficient. Clients engagement with telco and media companies comprises different touchpoints, most of them digital, and a great experience has to be delivered at every single touchpoint. Hence, digital processes need to be re-designed around the customer experience like many new entrants have done.

Artificial intelligence is a key contributor to digital customer engagement.

In fact, AI enables business platforms to gather and leverage all relevant data emerging from customer interactions, providing a unique and complete view of the customer. This information is then used to support a personalized experience, that means a personal touch in the interaction, the anticipation of the customer needs, the resolutions of problems that have yet to be communicated and the offer of personalized packages.

This goes beyond the simple natural language interaction we discussed before. Most of the time, using virtual agents to provide customer support is the first step in the direction of a comprehensive redesign of the customer experience that needs to be proactive and not reactive and leverage all available information about the customer with the support of data platforms.

Recommended by a friend

Do you know why our friends are very good at recommending us the best TV show to follow or the next restaurant we should pay a visit to? Because they know us very well. Media companies need to achieve that same level of customer knowledge, intimacy & trust to keeping them engaged. More engagement means more screen time, more screen time leads to greater subscription and/or advertising revenues.

Artificial intelligence can turn media companies into a “friend” that recommends the best content. Media platforms already have access to a lot of user data (user profile, content history, payment ability) and they can integrate it with other sources like social media. Artificial intelligence leverages this data to recommend the best content and keep the viewer engaged and satisfied.  

On the other side of the ecosystem, advertisers need to maximize the return on their advertising investment. Media companies can now offer them the ability to show targeted advertising to on digital platforms, for example streaming services, matching the ads with the most receptive viewers, based on the information they gathered about them.

Personalization at scale

A personalized customer experience has a strong value and requires a high touch relationship, making it difficult to scale. Artificial intelligence applied to digital customer engagement has the ability to understand customers leveraging a large amount of data, engage with every customer in a consistent and personalized way and improve the organizations decision-making process over time. As a consequence, customers are pleased, satisfied and more loyal. 

LF AI & Data Resources