Artificial intelligence (AI) is now part of everyday life. Digital assistants recognize your voice and respond to your commands. Computers help translate vast amounts of data into better-informed medical decisions. Chatbots offer you help with a human touch.
By 2020, customers will manage 85% of their relationships with businesses without any human interaction. Through machines and software, AI can bring a decidedly human, personal touch while harnessing extraordinary computing power and information troves to better serve customers.
AI is making commerce smarter
AI enables merchants to tailor product recommendations based on purchasing patterns. Advertising can be targeted not only to meet individual preferences but also to appear at the right time and place. Ultimately, it will be possible to bring an enhanced purchasing experience — through digital assistants, analytics, and other tools — free to all customers.
Sales teams can apply AI to Big Data analysis to better pinpoint opportunities, such as determining the best prospects for products. The ability of machines to learn will enable AI to move beyond the analysis of historical data to also perform predictive modeling and potentially to identify broader sets of sales opportunities.
Customers can get answers more quickly and efficiently. For example, Einstein is an AI initiative at salesforce.com that’s helping customer service representatives better serve callers. As part of a cloud-based customer service platform, Einstein routes callers to the best available person for providing support and supplies background to the representative. Einstein helps management as well, by compiling data on wait times, queue sizes, and other details that support improvement of customer satisfaction scores.
Security remains a major AI application and includes the ability to detect and thwart possible fraud attempts. The role of AI in fraud detection will continue to evolve to protect a connected network of businesses and homes from which purchasing can happen automatically.
Beyond the customer
A recent study found IT departments are still the biggest adopters of AI today. However, one third of survey respondents expect that by 2020, AI will make the biggest impact on sales, marketing, and customer service. Another 20% see the largest influence on business functions such as finance, strategic planning, corporate development, and human resources.
That means AI is becoming an agent of change well beyond its public surface, as it reaches more deeply into organizations to affect increasing aspects of the end-to-end transaction chain that drives commerce.
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