How Analytics & Artificial Inteligence Benefit Business
Today morning I got a call from a travel agent I used services of, long time back, but who lost my details as he never had a CRM then nor he could keep in touch with his customers regularly due to lack of manpower and long-term vision for his business. While speaking to him, it struck me the idea to write this post here with reference to travel business. Although, I have written it with reference to travel business. But, I feel any business in any domain can benefit from it.
There is a growing demand for AI, machine learning and NLP applications. As a result, a tremendous amount of data is being pulled into big data platforms at massive scale. And, as the volume of data grows rapidly, organizations are increasingly seeking intelligent information discovery and analytics platforms. Navigating a traditional SQL database or typing in keywords is no longer enough.
We’re seeing natural language processing, an enabler of AI, becoming an essential technology to many new business functions, from chatbots and digital assistants (think Alexa and Siri) to compliance monitoring, business intelligence and analytics. And with all the unstructured and structured content that exists, such as emails, video and social media content, NLP tools and technologies can bring a business, significant insights by helping to process, analyze and understand all this data. The result is a business that can operate more effectively and proactively.
The breakthrough that’s coming to travel and other services is that speech recognition is hitting human levels of accuracy already. In addition, sentiment analysis and emotion detection is enabling companies to have much more information on their customers to provide them with a tailored response to their queries.
Another upcoming AI-based technology is natural language understanding (NLU) and natural language generation (NLG). This allows for retrieved information from a query to be spoken back to users in a much more natural sounding way and without requiring a human to pad query results with the appropriate wording.
Below are some of the ways in which travel companies can benefit by using AI and customer analytics:
- It gives an opportunity for personalization and predictive analytics to answer the needs of the individual customer, resulting in increased customer acquisition in comparison to competitors, as well as increased customer retention, loyalty, and satisfaction.
- Helps in analysing which customers deliver the highest amount of profit.
- Helps in analysing What customer behaviours/ traits are associated with expansion (upsell) over time.
- Helps in analysing what types of customers provide the most leverage in gaining access to other new customers.
- Helps in analysing What customer/ prospect behaviours indicate that they are ‘low in the buying funnel’ and easier to close than others.
- Providing cold, hard facts about who your best customers are. Its not just about looking at who orders the most but who interacted with your brand, referred their friends, and shared your brand on social media. Analytics would capture all this information, and you can then use it to create more of these super customers by figuring out what attributes they possess and where you could find more people like them.
- AI can help serving customers from across the world as language translation happens on the fly providing fast and good service to all.
- AI helps in serving 24/7 without being dependent on human resources.
- AI helps in prompt resolution with only very few escalations if any.
- AI helps in driving down costs by optimising human resources required in peak to off-peak seasons.
- AI based recommendation engines help in personalisation of messaging on the fly even with new customers on the website/ mobile applications.
- AI based Flight fare and hotel price forecasting can be enabled and Machine Learning can get trained on historical data about millions of fare searches going back several years. This will help in creating a self-learning algorithm, capable of predicting the future price movements based on a number of factors, such as seasonal trends, demand growth, airlines special offers, and deals etc.
- Gartner predicted that 25 percent of customer service and support operations will rely on the virtual assistant technology by 2018.
Every one of above tasks, and many more, can be done more efficiently using artificial intelligence technology that’s available today. Travel marketers who learn which solutions work best, stand to benefit, achieving performance and productivity gains at scale previously unimaginable.