How AI can help you build valuable long-term customer relationships
Market segmentation has been a key business principle for over 60 years, but is it really the best tool to correctly serve today’s diverse marketplace? Everyone’s wants and needs are unique – not only to themselves, but often in that very moment, as people evolve and adapt to their ever-changing life experiences. What your most loyal customer values today is likely to be different to what they want tomorrow.
According to McKinsey, 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated – so if you’re not speaking directly to your customers as individuals, how do you think they feel? By taking a holistic approach to your customers, you can build valuable long-term customer relationships.
What is a holistic approach?
Put simply, a holistic approach requires you to look at the whole person.
If you segment your customers and website visitors based on traditional classifications such as age, gender or location, you are working with a partial understanding of your clientele, not a holistic one. A 50-year-old male based in London may have more in common with a 29-year-old female in New York than broad classification categories otherwise suggest: they could be employed in the same role in the same industry, they could share a love of rap music and Italian food; they may both seek holidays where scuba-diving is a must. They may be more similar than your segments suggest, but even then, they are not the same.
By delving deeper into who your customers are – taking a holistic approach to each individual – you can provide truly personalised recommendations and services.
How can online companies speak to individuals?
For retail businesses, Shopify estimates that personalisation can provide an extra $2.95 trillion in sales this decade, delivered by “a combination of new technology solutions, and old-fashioned customer service that delivers unique branded experiences.” For a look at common pitfalls of personalisation – and how to avoid them – check out this article.
Relationship marketing needs to be a pillar of your online customer experience. Whilst it’s tempting to take a short-term approach – focused on one-off sales and quick customer acquisition – to boost your bottom line, it’s the long-term connections which help businesses grow, through repeated sales, word-of-mouth referrals and, over their life-time, a much higher value from each customer. Just like in the offline world, lasting relationships are best built on a one-to-one basis.
Highlighting your services and products in relation to your customers’ individual needs and desires is key to building a meaningful relationship with your customers – whether offline or online. But in a fast moving digital world, with tens of thousands of users on your website at any one time, how can you react to each of them and communicate in real-time to give them the best online shopping experience?
Using AI to advance audience insights
Customer profiling and audience segmentation are different – and to do the former at a level that lets you speak in real-time to your online users as individuals requires either an army of customer service agents, or the use of technology.
Artificial Intelligence uses your business experience and insights as the base for guiding principles and testing hypotheses, then builds upon them with constant real-time learning. It can gather data from thousands of online touchpoints and behaviour signals to form an instant picture of each individual user. It also can display content – from imagery and copy, to product listings – relevant to each in real-time. This lets your online presence ‘converse’ with each user, reflecting what they want to see and showcasing your products that best fit their wish list.
By speaking with your customers as individuals, you will see higher conversion and help build long-term valued relationships. A study by Shopify shows online conversion can improve by around 8% when you include personalised consumer experiences on your website, with 74% of consumers growing frustrated by content that isn’t relevant to their lives.
PWC looked at what makes a good customer experience, with around 80% of American consumers saying speed, convenience, knowledgeable help and friendly service are the most important. Their report recommended companies should “prioritise technologies that provide these benefits, rather than adopting new technologies for the sake of being cutting edge.”
Our AI-driven personalisation tools let you offer a human touch – connecting in real-time with your users as individuals on your digital sales platforms, boosting your revenues both in the short-term and by building valuable longer-term customer relationships.
To find out how bd4travel can work for your travel business, get in touch with our team.