Applying Machine Learning Tools to Customer Experience
The age of big data has fundamentally changed the way we do business. The amount of analytics data we are able to gather now is more than any human could ever hope to process manually. But machine learning tools allow us to process those data points and gain insights that were previously impossible. One of the biggest ways machine learning is being used is to improve business outcomes. You may know that companies like Facebook and Google use large swaths of data about you in order to serve you customized ads, but you might not realize how your business can benefit from the big data revolution as well. In this post, we'll talk about how your business can leverage the power of machine learning tools to improve your customer experience and put you a step above the competition.
A Brief Overview of Machine Learning
Let's talk briefly about what machine learning is, so you can better understand how it uses data to aid you in making business decisions. Imagine you have a list of houses sold in a given area with the price they were sold at, and their square footage. Using regression analysis, a human can create a formula that will estimate how much a house of a given size will sell for in that area. But there are other effects on housing prices. Different areas, condition of the home, style of the home, acreage, and more all go into the prices. To get a more accurate formula, you need to include all these variables. There may even be variables no human would think to add. Suddenly the data and math requirements are too much for a human to handle. But computers are very good at taking a set of data and using it to predict outputs. This process of matching an input with an output from a complex dataset is the nature of machine learning. Now we can discuss how it can be used to improve your customer experience.
Marketing teams already know the importance of customer segmentation on customer experience. Creating buyer personas is one of the first things that a marketing department will do, for good reason. Your customers want to feel as though you are talking to them because it makes them feel more connected to your brand. Machine learning tools can look deep into the demographics and behaviors of your customers and provide you with more accurate segmentation than you can get with traditional methods. This means that you'll be able to more precisely target your customers. The tone and language you use will feel more welcoming to them, and the types of marketing and communications you choose to use will be more appealing to them. All of this results in customers who will have a more positive emotional connection with your brand.
While customer segmentation is vital to getting the right message to the right people and building relationships with your customers, it isn't the only personalization that you should do. People may make up segments, but they are individuals. Your buyer personas can only tell you so much about each individual customer, even with the most powerful machine learning algorithms behind them. In order to better understand each individual in your customer base, you need to go further in your data analysis. If you've shopped at any of the major eCommerce outlets, you've already seen this type of machine learning in action. Every time Amazon recommends a product to you, or Netflix recommends a video, they've used all the unique data they've gathered about you to predict what else you may enjoy. This makes using those sites far more enjoyable than if they were recommending things you have no interest in. Machine learning tools will let you bring that type of experience to your customers as well.
Customer Feedback Analysis
A big area of machine learning is sentiment analysis. This is where an algorithm looks at several sentences and determines whether they are saying the same thing, and whether that thing is good or bad. There are now countless places customers can talk about you via text. Comments on your social media feeds, written reviews of your products, and direct communication with your support staff are some of the largest. Once your business gets past a certain size, having a human read all of this feedback can become overwhelming. Machine learning can help by reading that feedback for you and presenting its findings. This will allow you to improve your products or product selection, address frequent problems that customers have, and monitor the perception of your brand so that you can take action to improve it when needed. In short, customer feedback analysis allows you to better meet the desires of your customers.
It sounds obvious, but in order to provide the best experience for your customers, you have to provide a better experience than your competition is. To do this, you need to not only analyze your own customer feedback, but that of your competitors as well. Machine learning tools come in extra handy here because while you likely have staff monitoring messages sent to (and about) you, having someone monitor everything said about all your competitors is cost prohibitive. Turning sentiment analysis algorithms loose on feedback given to your closest rivals will let you know what they are doing right, and what they are doing wrong. Knowing where they are getting it right will let you know where you'll need to improve your own business so that you can compete with them. Understanding the frustrations customers have with a competitor will also give you the opportunity to improve in that area, or use your existing superiority in that area as part of a marketing campaign.
Embrace Machine Learning for Better Outcomes
We are still at a point where companies who choose to fully embrace machine learning and the tools it can bring to customer service will be able to get a leg up on the competition. Eventually, however, there will come a time when any company who isn't using these powerful tools gets left behind. Like all technological advancements, the businesses that become early adopters see the largest benefits. If you are ready to bring your business into the machine learning age, contact the experts at Yogi today.