Customer service in the news – w/c 24th September
This week – the growing importance of voice-command software, why businesses should introduce smart technology sooner than later and what customers really expect from brick and mortar retailers.
Voice-command tech is on a run
The public has adopted smart tech into their lives at an accelerating speed – allowing the AI industry to hit one milestone after the next.
Amazon is no newcomer to the industry, with a 67 per cent smart speaker market share in Europe in 2017, and knows how the game works. You either stay on the ball and improve your products or fall behind.
At an event in Seattle the tech giant has recently announced more than a dozen new Alexa devices including satnav and microwave and two brand-new speakers, as well as the upgrade of three of its existing Echo speakers.
Alexa already has the capacity to carry out more than 24,000 tasks and Amazon is now also putting Alexa on the road with Echo Auto. The voice-command device connects to Alexa via a smartphone app and controls to the car’s stereo system, navigate calls, monitor traffic updates, performs simple tasks like turning lights on and off and acts as a satnav.
On the home front, the tech biz is bringing out an Alexa-controlled microwave, which enables users to cook without lifting a finger. For example, the device can work out the cooking time by itself by calculating the weight of the meal.
The question is whether these developments will put Amazon ahead of competitors or if other big players in the field have something better up their sleeve. Time will tell.
Read the article here.
AI investments set to grow at a rapid pace
Businesses on a global scale are getting ready to incorporate AI into their processes, which is set to become a reality in the next few years. It is predicted that the field of customer service will see investment of over $2.5 billion, with particular areas of focus being conversational AI, including personal assistants and chatbots, and customer service software.
Research by the International Data Corporation (IDC) also found that spending on smart technology systems generally will reach $77.6 billion in 2022 – more than three times the $24 billion forecast this year.
The time of debating whether to make use of smart tech or stick with traditional customer service methods is running out as more and more businesses invest. Those that want to keep up will need to follow the trend or risk being left behind.
Customers are ready to embrace AI in-store
New research unveiled this week at the Oracle Retail Industry Forum in Hungary looked at how consumers around the world view the place of artificial intelligence and cutting-edge technology in the customer journey – with some surprising results.
Emerging markets such as Brazil, China, Chile, India and the Middle East especially are ready to embrace smart tech – with 57 per cent thinking that in-store facial recognition, virtual sales assistants in fitting rooms and kiosks where you can upload pictures of an item and get recommendations are a great way to win their trust and loyalty.
On the whole, customers want to be treated like business partners – with more visibility of supply chains and the inner workings of businesses. Consumers are also growing wary of sharing their personal data – expecting brands to earn their trust by showing their information is not simply safe but also used in way that will benefit them.
Read the article here.
Can smart tech save brick and mortar stores?
Blending physical and digital spaces is the future of retail and businesses that miss the message will fall behind.
The E-Commerce Times has featured an article giving advice to retailers on how to improve the customer experience in brick and mortar stores. A range of experts offer their insight into what it takes to bring business back to the high street and compete with online retailers.
Consumers are always online, and smart retailers offer them the chance to do the same in store. This could be as simple as offering free Wifi, according to Katie Hickey, marketing manager at Usabilla.
Ed Kennedy, senior director of commerce for Episerver says that smart mirrors in dressing rooms and in-store tablets to search for products and services are a good way to engage customers too.
He explains that anything that speeds up the shopping process will be a hit – be it drones in stores that collect products from shelves for the customer, or automated mobile carts.
Author: Editorial team Future. Customer.