Artificial intelligence was the buzzword of business and industry in 2023. Its rapid rise dominated headlines, and it showed no signs that its popularity as a productivity and automation tool in the workplace would diminish.
Not all marketers are on board with AI as a tool for improving customer experience in a world that is constantly changing. In reality, their reactions are a mix of AI fear and revenue excitement.
It doesn’t matter if they like it or not. Many organizations are being forced to adopt AI. Although they recognize the potential for AI to improve employee and customer experiences, many organizations struggle to integrate different AI technologies. There are also concerns about the impact of AI on creativity and autonomy.
AI is not an optional addition to e-commerce. According to Peter Isaacson CMO, call tracking and analysis firm, Invoca.
He told the E-Commerce Times that in 2023 teams would explore AI’s potential, while weighing the risks of a technology which has grown faster than ever before.
Robb Wilson, founder, chief designer and chief technology officer of AI-powered automated conversation platform, warned that retailers and marketers should be worried about the negative effects of AI. OneReach.ai. Some AI solutions have a good conversational ability but are not very adept at solving problems.
“You need to know what you’re going to do and the right tools.” These systems are frequently misused or poorly designed. These systems prevent users from communicating with human agents. This can be frustrating, particularly when people are trying solve complex issues.
In two separate interviews, experts from both fields shared their views on how e-commerce users can embrace AI and not be afraid.
AI Safety and Security: Real Concerns
Business leaders worry about falling behind the competition without AI. Another major concern is how AI manages data. This concern is often pushed aside in favor of the better revenue AI can generate.
Invoca published its “The Status of AI in Digital Marketing”, report as 2023 was about to turn off its lights. The report aimed to reveal marketers’ optimism or apprehension regarding AI marketing technology in the year 2024. The study revealed that 90% of all marketers intend to invest more in AI this year. 2024 will be a pivotal year for marketing AI.
A rush to be the first may have fueled some unfounded self-confidence in their AI abilities to justify the move. Nearly everyone (93%) claims expert or advanced knowledge about marketing AI technology. Nevertheless, respondents also said that a lack AI knowledge was one of the biggest barriers to adoption.
The report shows that marketers are willing to embrace AI despite mixed messages. Isaacson said that it also revealed a fear about the high costs of adopting AI late.
AI Fear blocks adoption
Invoca’s research found that data protection was the biggest adoption blocker in 2024. Isaacson said that many companies want to protect proprietary data. The black-box nature and lack of transparency in many AI tools also does not inspire trust.
He said that companies will pay more attention to the type of AI used in their solutions, as well as where and how their customers’ data is used.
2024 will be crucial in determining how this sentiment — and the reality — may shift, added Isaacson. AI’s presence in marketing departments is increasing, and retailers are becoming more open to taking risks that can lead to increased revenue.
Select Long-Term Success over Short-Term Cost-Cutting
Wilson, from OneReach, recommended that marketers use AI to improve the effectiveness of e-commerce as well as CRM rather than focusing on quick profit. The short-term cost cutting will not have a lasting effect.
“The key action to take at this time is to create an ecosystem that will allow AI to flourish in organizations. He advised that, from a marketer’s perspective, generated content will be a part of this, but as only one piece.
It would be much more impactful to have conversational AI work as a layer of interface on top existing software or processes. Isaacson believes that understanding the motives behind such actions is more important.
Are you just creating content to create content’s sake, or are you saying something worthwhile? One member of the marketing team might have a great idea for a campaign that targets a certain demographic, like middle-aged people with a taste for art-house films.
Use Case Example
The approach can generate samples of campaign copy and images in a similar way to a virtual assistant. Wilson explained that the task is to estimate just how many customers in your customer case will fit this description.
He calls it an intelligent digital employee or IDW, not a digital assistance. It uses relational databases in order to connect the data in tables with information that it can find in unstructured files, such as emails and recordings.
The AI agent could also search through the content that customers have posted on social media. The marketer may even ask IDW for personas in this demographic, and then run “user testing” with generative model models.
This marketing piece may not be reliable. He countered that it’s possible to train models to give useful feedback.
Improved Personalization with Gen AI Skills
Marketers should ignore the fear factors and instead focus on AI in order to change human perceptions of products. Wilson warned that marketers should be alert to unintended outcomes in order to avoid negative outcomes.
Combining generative AI with relational databases allows organizations to mine unstructured information, such as emails and recorded calls, in order to establish connections between departments and datasets. This integration allows them to provide levels of personalization for customers that were previously unimaginable.
Wilson stated that “in most cases, it would be the goal to anticipate customer needs. This, from a perspective of customer experience, is a huge win.”
There are also many ways AI can be used to deceive at different stages in the purchasing journey. He added that marketers must act quickly when consumers are misled unintentionally.
Conversational AI to Enhance Customer Engagement
AI conversation intelligence can enhance consumer engagement with e-commerce. Isaacson, Invoca’s CEO, has seen first-hand how this technology boosts revenue streams.
AI can automate and summarize call transcripts. It can also identify spoken words or phrases, and provide additional context and insight.
Isaacson says that businesses can take advantage of these skills in order to improve customer interaction. These skills can enhance customer engagement on both sides.
This approach is what he believes to be crucial in moderating the usage of generative AI such as ChatGPT. AI offers many benefits, but it is important to have a strategic approach to make sure that it does not detract from customer engagement or place the business in danger.
He said that if this is not addressed, it can result in a compromised experience for customers, which no business should accept.
AI Can Link CX On and Offline
Isaacson predicts that teams will embrace AI in order to increase their CRM and e-commerce effectiveness through the integration of online and offline customer journeys. This will allow for the automation of manual processes, and seamless integration of first-party information into existing systems.
“AI has the potential to revolutionize online commerce by surfacing valuable insight from customer conversations, that would otherwise disappear into a blackhole,” he forecasted for 2024.
Isaacson has also warned AI apprehension can lead to missed business opportunities with competitors gaining the edge.
“With AI, business can offer a personalized experience which effectively merges both the digital and human touch,” said he.
Autonomy and human decision-making processes: Impact on Humans
Wilson says that conversational AI simplifies customer interactions and reduces friction, which is something most brands strive to avoid. Properly implemented automation in call center scenarios can provide product details and update order status.
The scheduler can also be programmed in a manner that mimics the way humans use their time. Human-in-the loop allows bots that are used for high-level problem solving to transfer calls directly to human agents.
Wilson suggests that “conversational AI” can provide agents with an overview of the conversation so far and prompt them with potential responses or follow-up info as needed.
This gives-and-take method of AI-powered marketing, CRM, and operations affects the autonomy and decision-making process of humans. AI should be a curator in this case.
Wilson insisted that a digital worker who is intelligent can summarise massive amounts information and provide humans with the most viable options.
The IDW in an organization is linked to the software solutions of the company. IDWs encompass a variety of data types, including traditional databases and unstructured information such as emails or recorded conversations.
Wilson concluded, “This ecosystem-based approach allows AI to be a reliable ally of humans at all levels making critical decisions.”