If you have any sort of artificial intelligence or non-human virtual assistant in your home (Siri, Alexa, Google, etc), you’ve likely given it feedback at some point. When you did, it probably made some comment about how it is learning all the time. And it is.
This technology which seems largely a form of entertainment for most of us is quickly understanding our preferences, our fears, our lack of information in certain areas, and even our buying habits.
Businesses that use this type of technology are getting smarter about their customers. Are you one of them?
You might be surprised to learn that you don’t have to have the budget of Amazon to be able to begin getting some real intelligence about your customers. In many cases, the data and activity history you collect in your interactions with them can be leveraged to make their experience better and thus, increase your revenue.
If this sounds like Sci-Fi, I assure you it’s not. It’s here now and it’s rapidly becoming affordable. Here are a few examples of how “regular” (not just mega-giants like Amazon) are using smart tech.
Newsletters and Content
If you send out a newsletter or email content featuring multiple articles for your audience, you will be much more successful if you only include the content that the recipient finds valuable. For instance, let’s assume you are a wholesaler that serves many industries. Your restaurant clients likely don’t care much about the same content your university food service clients do (although there may be some overlap of interest occasionally).
Let’s say the first two articles when they open your newsletter are on topics that have absolutely no bearing on their business. Hopefully, they will skip over them and find the content that is valuable for them. That’s the ideal scenario.
But, instead, what will likely happen over time is that they will feel like you don’t really know what it is that they want or they won’t think you are relevant to their business and they’ll stop reading your newsletter and possibly unsubscribe.
But that doesn’t have to happen.
Instead, you can use newsletter creation technology that “notices” based on clicks that Customer A likes content on restaurants and Customer B likes university food service. This service will grows smarter over time and will start showing B more university food service articles and A more restaurant ones.
Sure, you could segregate your list on your own based on industry but sometimes there’s overlap. Let’s say both of those clients click on your articles on new offerings. The new offerings content isn’t industry specific so you would have to do a lot of tweaking to figure this out. The smart software as a service recognizes recipient activity and serves up relevant content without you having to sort and tell it to. Thus ensuring your content remains relevant for everyone in a very efficient way.
When someone comes to your site and then leaves, retargeting or remarketing can help you stay in front of them as they travel around the web. For instance, let’s assume a potential customer stopped by your site to look at dresses, they opened a particular item and were looking at it for a bit.
Retargeting can ensure that even if that potential customer leaves your site without purchasing, they’re going to keep seeing that item on other sites with a link back to yours. You’ll pay for this ability but reaching out to them when they are ready to buy will improve your conversions.
Connected Devices and Supplies
Ever run out of something at your business (like printer ink) and because it is critical you need to spend additional money to get it overnighted or delivered? If only you had kept up with the inventory, you could have ordered it as supplies got low, not when there was a critical and costly need. With connected devices that are auto-ship enabled, your device can tell the manufacturer when you need the item and it will arrive with plenty of time to spare.
These devices can also learn over time how much you use and when, and even if there’s a complimentary product you buy at the same time prompting you to reorder that as well.
Smart tech and advanced learning can help you cut costs, improve customer experience, and become more efficient. The cost with some of this tech is minimal. We’ll continue to see this advanced learning through AI and smart tech shape the business scene for even greater efficiencies and improved customer experience.
What do you wish could be better automated or “smarter”?
Christina R. Green teaches small businesses, chambers, and associations how to connect through content. Her articles have appeared in the Midwest Society of Association Executives’ Magazine, NTEN.org, AssociationTech, and WritersWeekly. She is a regular blogger at Frankjkenny.com and the Event Manager Blog.
Christina is an introverted writer on a quest to bring great storytelling to organizations everywhere.