Human-centred digital experiences with machine learning

Mon, 02/03/2020 - 16:19

Digital transformation truly has altered the way we approach online marketing. During this time, we’ve had to realise just how crucial it is to remain as ‘human’ as possible in our marketing efforts. But, with the introduction of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), businesses have invested in intelligent technologies that learn a lot about us. And sometimes, they learn too much.

The question is, when do companies go too far with the data they obtain and how they obtain it?

As consumers come to realise just how much of their data is available online, they’ve felt increasingly blinded by the small print, and have demonstrated great concern about their privacy. That’s why they’re choosing to invest their loyalty in businesses which are transparent and human-centred.

So, how do we employ machine learning in such a way, that we avoid “I know what you bought last summer” marketing techniques?

Consider human needs 

The most obvious starting point is to consider what your user might need or what they are trying to achieve with your service. For instance, what are they looking for and how long are they willing to spend looking for it? More importantly, what problems are they facing most throughout their journey, and how can you solve them? Our 2019 South African Digital Customer Experience Report, for which we interviewed 1 700 consumers, will give you some key insights if you’re in the B2C space.

Once you’ve outlined your customers’ needs, consider your own. Are you looking to increase conversions, have customers build wishlists, or educate them about your services? With this information, we can then determine which tools would work best for your digital strategy.

These are the considerations one should monitor and adjust at all times. Unless you have a holistic understanding of needs and expectations, you’ll have a hard time trying to convert an online user into a loyal customer.

Adding behavioural metrics 

Behavioural metrics in machine learning are those that observe a user’s behaviour throughout their digital journey with you. They consider what a user is clicking on, how much time is spent on a page, interactions per visit, and so on. In e-commerce, for instance, you can use this data to determine which items your customers are looking for, as well as the brands they prefer and their style preferences.

These data sets then feed machine learning algorithms that tailor your customer experiences based on such behaviour. It’s important to remember that you’ve already outlined exactly what your customers need, so there’s no reason to gather more data than necessary. In remaining ‘human-centred’, we should always be transparent and respect brand-customer boundaries.

A great example would be to request users to answer a series of questions before they can navigate through your website. That way, they know you are using their data to deliver personalised experiences. Netflix is a great example of this, as they request users to select the genres and the shows they like most when signing up to create their individual profiles.

Building customer relationships

Without a doubt, businesses are dedicating greater spend on digital transformation that allows for more human-centred digital experiences. Here, we’ll need to consider enhancing digital touchpoints to reflect authentic personalisation and foster customer loyalty. For example, customer data platforms like Tealium assign customer badges based on behavioural metrics, allowing you to group similar buyers. You can then create and feed each group with bespoke experiences, such as tailored promotions and sales.

In an era of instant gratification, customers are also looking to have their questions answered more accurately, and almost instantly. This has caused a significant investment in chatbots, integrating natural language processing (NLP) and sentiment analysis to drive improved customer service, while still retaining a sense of human empathy.

Managing your interactions 

One of the consumer’s greatest frustrations is irrelevant advertising. While your ML gathers data to tailor experiences, your customer relationship management (CRM) systems provide additional insight into who you’re marketing to, what you’re marketing and when to market to them.

The key here is knowing when to stop. Remarketing ads that lose their relevance or are reaching the wrong people are likely to waste your money and cause customers to opt-out of your services. In creating human-centred digital experiences, we should integrate machine learning with our CRM systems to make better decisions and offer improved solutions. 

Your machine learning should be linked to your customer experience platforms. With these platforms, you can set up rules and labels, which act as ‘gatekeepers’ in determining who should receive relevant ads, and when you should stop marketing to them. Paying attention to the management of these interactions is guaranteed to deliver greater value to your customers, and hence, improve ROI.

Machine learning and user experience (UX)

Today, we are also capable of creating individual experiences for every one of our customers, instead of just ‘like-minded’ groups. And, the most crucial aspect of humanising these digital experiences is to integrate effective machine learning with powerful user experience (UX). 

Simply put, the goal is to create customer experiences instead of controlling them. As machine learning software observes patterns and feeds algorithms, UX ensures that users can navigate through your services as naturally as possible. The goal is to optimise your UX efforts just enough that customers believe they are still in control.

For instance, once data has been collected based on a user’s behavioural metrics, that data is then applied to promote items and services to the top of their page experience. However, it’s effective UX that ensures your users don’t even know the difference.

Final thoughts

If it’s not us emphasising the importance of human connection, even in the world of digital, trust us when we say that today, the rest of the internet will. And, if that’s the one ingredient you’re missing in your melting pot of marketing, contact us at Rogerwilco today and learn about our marketing strategy and user experience services. You too could join our many clients, who rely on us to assist them in their journey towards digital transformation.

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