How retailers can elevate customer experiences with AI integration

How retailers can elevate customer experiences with AI integration

Digital continues to be the primary avenue for consumers looking to purchase goods. With retailers just a click away, expectations are higher than ever, and consumers expect fast, first contact resolutions when they reach out. AI has proven to be a gamechanger in delivering the experiences customers want. But this hasn’t been without risk – with the growth in AI, bad actors too are using the technology which threatens to derail the customer experience and damage trust. So, how can retailers navigate this landscape of high expectations and risk? Brett Weigl, SVP, Product Management, AI at Genesys, explains.

In a rapidly growing e-commerce landscape, UK online spending reached £8.5 billion in March 2024, a 3.7% increase since last year. Moreover, global e-commerce expenditure could exceed US$7 trillion by 2025. Amid this surge, major retailers are striving to strengthen consumer trust and elevate the customer journey.

Connecting with your favourite brand is only a click away as online shopping has greatly streamlined access to the retail industry. With this new accessibility, consumers also expect swift and efficient resolutions during customer service interactions. Unfortunately, many retailers still struggle to meet this demand. According to the Genesys State of Customer Experience Report released in 2023, only 28% of global consumers rated online retailer’s service as exceptional – a significant decline from 2021.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is poised to solve this challenge and modern retailers are now turning to AI-driven technologies to enhance the customer experience. By leveraging the power of AI, businesses can accelerate service delivery and tailor interactions to individual preferences. Nevertheless, the misuse of AI by malicious actors poses a threat to security, potentially undermining customer loyalty and trust.

In this era of AI, retailers must prioritise certain key areas to enhance customer experiences and safeguard consumer trust.

Deliver highly personalised experiences with AI-driven chatbots

Chatbots empower businesses to provide highly personalised digital experiences to their customers, and they are an excellent way for businesses to provide around-the-clock self-service across all digital channels and customer service at scale. By using AI-powered chatbots, businesses can ensure every customer service request is personalised, intentional and resolved quickly.

Additionally, chatbots can capture information, answer questions, provide basic transactional support and perform identity verification (ID&V) before engaging agents – significantly improving customer experience and orchestrating seamless customer interactions across channels.

AI best practices for securing consumer trust

Knowing that businesses are using advanced security practices to protect the consumer is a critical component of the customer experience. The ID&V process is a standard practice across most industries, ensuring the seamless verification of customer identity and establishing the right to transact. It helps businesses verify a customer’s identity before any confidential information is provided. ID&V ensures customers feel safe and secure when communicating with a retailer.

With the rise of AI-generated deep fakes – where AI video, photos and voice can create a virtual copy of someone’s likeness – companies could find themselves in situations where bad actors are able to evade ID&V and potentially impersonate someone fraudulently. To overcome this and maintain security and trust, businesses need to implement AI to effectively combat these AI-created deep fakes. Retailers can use additional automated predictive signals to detect potential fraud. By using automated two-factor and multi-authentication methods, businesses can effectively prevent identity theft and impersonation – preserving customer trust and information.

Optimising payment security with AI-powered payment processing

When considering the purchasing experience, many retailers rely on biometric-assisted payment processing through services like Apple Pay and Google Pay. However, they can also benefit from AI-powered payment processing. This can help with fraud protection and enables retailers to quickly sift through massive data volumes, identifying potential risks and detecting unusual payments.

Biometric-assisted payment processing and AI powered payment processing provide a safe, secure and seamless payment processing experience. These advancements are essential as many consumers will blame retailers for any payment-related issues they encounter. Any hiccup in the online payments experience can result in an abandoned cart and loss of sale. By offering seamless payment experiences through secure technology, retailers can provide customers with a safe, one-touch experience.

Unifying the customer experience with AI innovations

It’s good business sense for retailers to utilise AI immediately, but companies shouldn’t deploy isolated AI-based solutions that only solve a ‘specific’ problem. This can result in customer frustrations like unhelpful bots or excessive transfers and employees who are limited with insufficient information or training. Retailers need the ability to act as an expert across more than one customer intent.

Rather than multiple products all aimed at addressing individual pain points, a single platform with the AI capabilities to holistically connect and improve customer and employee experiences creates opportunities to build loyalty and drive business outcomes. A few examples of how AI-powered experience orchestration can help organisations scale personalisation includes the capability to understand what customers need before they tell you. Customers’ historic data, partnered with intent signals and behaviour patterns can trigger proactive intervention.

For example, if an airline customer initiates a chat, employees should be able to instantly see the customer has searched the company’s FAQs for information on flight change fees. The agent can then offer help with rebooking or navigating change fees without the customer asking.

Customers also expect to only explain their problem once. They shouldn’t have to repeat themselves again to the next employee they’re transferred to. When experiences are connected, this information follows the customer wherever they go for a fluid, echo-free experience.

Additionally, AI can leverage data from a customer’s journey to predict the best next action to help them meet their goals. It can also direct them to an employee best suited to meet their needs. This means customers are more likely to receive the first-contact resolutions they want – and employees can focus on the areas they do best.

Harnessing AI for unrivalled customer experiences

In today’s competitive landscape, a single negative encounter can tarnish a brand’s reputation. Therefore, it falls upon retailers to leverage cutting-edge customer experience technologies enhance satisfaction while navigating obstacles.

AI has huge potential to redefine customer interactions and foster brand loyalty. Retailers can guarantee heightened levels of customer satisfaction through the strategic integration of this technology into their customer experience framework.

Alongside its benefits, retailers must remain vigilant of potential AI-related risks, such as the proliferation of deep fakes. Businesses must ready themselves to counter evolving fraudulent tactics by sourcing vendors equipped with robust fraud detection capabilities. When deployed effectively, AI can revolutionise customer experiences and safeguard customer loyalty and trust in the process.

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