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First-class service with AI.
An honest conversation about AI (part 5)
In our final instalment of a week-long conversation about Augmented Intelligence, we’ve reached the final area I wanted to cover - serving your customer. The focus throughout has been that AI is all about you. Not the tech itself or the mechanics of how it functions but the fact that its only reason for being is to help you. To make you bigger, better, faster at the things you prioritise.
We’ve covered a handful of ways in which it can support you as a marketer - learning more about your customers, reaching them more effectively, inspiring them to engage and now closing the loop by serving them better and hopefully starting a longer-term relationship.
So when I use the word ‘serve’ I quite literally mean to give your customer what they want or what they came for. For different types of business that conversion could be a soft measure of consumed information onsite or a survey submission and for others it’s something more tangible like a download or purchase. In its broadest sense, I refer to that as e-commerce because there will be an exchange even if not financial. A great leveller for different brands with different business models and audience types is to flip the question from ‘what does my customer want?’ over to “what does my customer not want’ and this creates a platform to innovate and get your service just right.
What your customer doesn’t want is friction, ambiguity, struggle, too many options, to be misunderstood or to experience a lack of transparency. That’s the brief.
CRO means GROW
AI’s main responsibility when supporting you is to give a better service to your customer. As experts in the field, we talk about CRO (conversion rate optimisation) but that’s the output. If we travel upstream to the why? Its because it will increase performance and make more revenue for the brand. But travel further to the true why? And it’s clear that the origin is to give the customer the best experience possible. Serve them to the maximum of your ability and the rewards follow.
At the front line of this process is the age-old practice of testing. Is A better than B?
Luckily the terms AB or multivariate both infer some simplicity and this is an important point, for the more you change during a test, across both the number of versions and the alterations within each version, the harder it is to track what has been successful. Until AI became one of the key monitoring tools at your disposal scope was quite limited.
AI helps you get around the three major barriers that face brands when trying to get approval to do serious CRO. Firstly the desire for complexity within tests. Often multiple stakeholders have their own mini hypotheses that can be folded into a single solution. Secondly the risk they take exposing large and valuable audiences to what are essentially experiments. And thirdly the revenue at risk by trying.
By augmenting your intelligence you can tackle this with aplomb.
Complexity is covered in a single bound. If your set-up is good enough the AI will create a picture of which elements are succeeding within a single design.
Audience exposure is the next challenge. Tests were traditionally formulaic - to avoid risk we’d test two options with 20% of our visitors with an equal 10% each. The result being the test takes longer to reach enough statistical relevance that your boss or your boss’s boss trust your findings and by only giving two options you don’t know if the other ideas you have stacked up by comparison? AI can power something that we call automated multi-arm bandit selection (only in digital could that be a real term right? FFS). What this means is that if you create four tests in parallel and expose your entire audience to them the AI very quickly starts to back the leaders and then the winner. It’s like watching a horse race where you can shift your bet to the one in the lead throughout so you are effectively never losing.
The second area where AI has transformed CRO is by accurately understanding the financial implications of every struggle within your experience. By putting a monetary value on every interaction you can visualise all the revenue you’re losing. This is powerful in proposing a £5 fix for a £100 problem (who wouldn’t buy that?) but also lets you prioritise the areas that give the biggest benefit to your customer and business first. 51% of companies have already adopted CRO and that will rise to 82% over the next two years. 80% of marketers who already use CRO methods are satisfied with the results and AI is set to boost that satisfaction level to total saturation.
Not enough chat
AI has other benefits in the service phase. We’ve got used to the idea of chatbots now and it’s surprising how often we interact with them not knowing they aren’t human - I’m happy with that provided I get what I need. It’s obvious where efficiencies can be gained when a single bot can have the same type of conversation with a million customers simultaneously but that’s pretty low-level stuff and only paints half the picture. The most transformational area is where it is understood to be augmented intelligence and at its best when mixed with human intelligence. It is proven that salespeople lose most of their motivation during the early repetitive parts of exchange that mostly revolves around exception handling and early fail - it lowers morale and causes burnout. Not only do sales suffer but the business spends more time and money looking after its broken people. It is also known that customers only need a personal touch in the closing stages of a sale mirroring their seriousness.
This insight means that if you are in sales it is imperative that you use AI to automate the areas of your process that can’t be made better by your expertise (or negatively affect you) and focus on the parts that demand your knowledge and experience.
This year 80% of businesses are projected to have integrated some form of chatbot system into their stack and experience saving 30% of customer support costs. Given that more than 50% of customers anticipate that businesses are open 24/7 this is a no-brainer in making sure you’re converting prospects around the clock.
Finally, the idea of great service should go on long past the initial interaction and purchase. So take every opportunity to use AI to combine everything we’ve covered this week to retarget and recontact the new customer with ultra-relevant content, timed to perfection with reasons to return that you know match their behaviour and intent and with all the friction they hated engineered out from the start.
If you missed us continuing the conversation today at 10 am then click here to watch it now
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Ian heads up the experience optimisation (XO) division at Sagittarius, working with all teams and clients across the business and globe.