Buying experience and customer service “changing through AI” – SAP

Aurel Dragan 19/08/2019 | 09:03

More and more products and services based on AI algorithms are on the market and their use is growing steadily. An SAP study showed that today’s five most important trends in customer experience are AI intermediaries, relevant experiences, consumers become collaborators, communities replace markets, and brand values versus own values.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms are the new intermediaries between companies and customers, say researchers. As the complexity of everyday life causes a cognitive overload, consumers are relying on AI algorithms to receive product recommendations, ignoring conventional interactions. This means that consumers are happy to accept Netflix suggestions for movies and series or Google’s results for searches. 

CUSTOMER SERVICE EXPERIENCE

In their relationships with brands, customers are choosing more and more relevant experiences, delegating the rest to AI assistants. This means that companies need to turn their attention from routine to relevance and brands have to focus on customer aspirations. Any part of the consumer experience that is not relevant, emotional and valuable will be left in second place, where it will be taken over by AI algorithms.

“The product or service itself is becoming less and less important among all the factors that determine customer decisions. Customers want more positive emotions, reassurance, trust-building interactions – in short, experiences. And these experiences need to be personalized; brands can no longer continue with the same ‘one size fits all’ approach. Thanks to the increasing power of data processing, the path for machine learning algorithms has been opened, which is the key to personalized digital experiences,” said Alexandru Jijian, SAP customer experience presales manager for Central & Eastern Europe.

COMMUNITIES REPLACE MARKETS

Technology makes it easier for people with similar concerns to discover each other and organize themselves in an infinite number of digital tribes, increasingly demanding in terms of consumer experiences. For example, over 140,000 digital communities have been formed on the Reddit platform, covering both serious and obscure topics. 

Digital transparency transforms purchasing decisions that were previously seen as personal or aesthetic choices into moral choices. More and more customers are making decisions based on the fact that brands think and act like they do. Digital platforms have created a global awareness of the problems faced by humanity, such as climate change, violence and human rights. 

BUYING EXPERIENCES

The future of buying experiences will be an expression of the deepest human behaviors, fueled by technological advances. With a market value of USD 1.6 trillion, the experiential economy is the new principle governing the business environment today. 

“Experience today is key to companies’ success: how satisfied customers or employees are with our delivered product or the service provided by our company. And, above all, do we know why I feel what I feel about us? How can companies today rise to the highest expectations of both customers and employees? How well do we know these expectations to meet and even exceed, anyway? These are the challenges in the experience economy. In general, companies easily manage operational data: they (costs, sales, deadlines, delivery, quantity, quality) are easier to measure and already part of standard performance reports and indicators, and they are objective, neutral. Experience data should, however, be measured and anticipated on an individual basis and, to add even more complexity, they are subjective: every person, client or employee, feels different. SAP technology facilitates addressing these challenges by integrating experience data (X) with operational data (O),” said Cristian Popescu, SAP managing director.

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