Artificial Intelligence to Artificial Empathy

In a proliferated multi-channel world, every brand needs to win the heart and mind of the consumer to acquire and retain consumers. They need to set up a foundation of empathy and connectedness.

Artificial intelligence combined with a human-centric approach to marketing might seem a contrarian model. The truth is that machine learning, AI and automation are vital for brands today to churn data into empathetic customer-centric experiences. For marketers, AI-based technology solutions, serve as a scalable and even customizable empathy tool capable of understanding the situation and motive behind consumer interactions. This is the rise of artificial empathy when brands target individual consumer needs and connect with them at a deeper level than mere transactional exchanges.

Artificial empathy and data application

Technology provides us with data and insights about what the customer has done but also nuggets and nuances that help anticipate future needs and requirements. This translates into analysing reams of data to detect wider patterns or evolving in preferences. Businesses cannot just rely on research and data teams to glean what customers are throwing back at them. The need right now is to be active listeners with ears on the ground and an ability to respond in real time.

Data literacy and relevant interactions is the nervous system on how customer experiences need to be woven and executed. Artificial empathy in marketing commences with a consumer-centric perspective and manifests into insights that reflect what data has been elicited by the brand’s customer for meaningful next steps. Artificial empathy now merges data intelligence with AI and predictive modelling tools that operate across extends beyond all moments of truth including websites, store visits, social media or customer service. Some examples:

  • Loyal in-store shoppers who have turned to online shopping.  A shipping or gift wrap offer to adjust the shift of the shopping channel.
  • AI can detect patterns of behavior and alert consumers of price drops or new SKUs for favorite items through notifications.
  • Delayed or wrongly addressed packages get a special offer for the next order.

Artificial empathy and the human touch

The consumer today is always on, digitally. Herein, lies the opportunity to create new and exceptional experiences. While retaining the hearts and minds of the consumers across the experience journey.

Artificial empathy is beneficial to advertisers in understanding how customers emotionally connect to the brand. Insights can be utilized to evolve content and messaging to help optimize campaign performance. Machine learning algorithms combined with consumer behavior can offer suggestions improving campaign performance. Such algorithms can be deployed to fine tune demand forecasting and price sensitivity across target segments along with returning purchase behavior.

Replacing the human element

While artificial empathy can help business create more effective interactions, it cannot replace the  human interaction. The primary requisite that makes AI effective is human insight, contextual awareness, nuances and creativity. The human touch combined with machine intelligence drives greater ROI for targeted campaigns. The interaction between human and machine had drastically increased due to isolation or lesser social interaction since the pandemic. Natural user interfaces such as gestures have drawn a lot of buzz as they prompt humans to control machines intuitively.

Emotions will get automated

Humana Pharmacy used an empathetic AI service to help its call centre teams handle customers more efficiently through emotion analytics. The solution deciphers the emotions of clients through the mapping of behavioural patterns such as a delayed pause, a rise in speech speed, or tempo. The analysis is relayed to the teams as messages such as “speaking a little fast,” or “relate to the customer a bit more”. Such examples of empathetic AI will increase in the future.

The Impact on Marketing

Marketers need to use artificial empathy to create campaigns that are humanized and not just mass targeted. Here’s where artificial empathy can be utilized to comprehend the business needs and harness data that can be distilled in simple terms. Campaigns can then be focused on providing beneficial content to customers after understanding the pain points and challenges of the customer.

Businesses can deploy sentiment technology backed with artificial empathy to comb negative or derisive comments on the digital touchpoints. An overpowering amount of unstructured data can be tough to process. Such technology enables marketing teams to react accordingly with relative ease. It can also be used for product characteristics comparisons. Features and attributes that find favour with the target audience can be introduced or improved. It can also automatically distinguish emotions and attitudes and segregate them neutral, positive, or negative using ML (machine learning) and natural language processing (NLP).

The use of artificial empathy has also started transforming the lead generation process. It can be used to extract consumer insights from sales data. Some AI-powered tools utilize that information to disclose to you more about your prospects and customers. Tools such as ML predictive algorithms and chatbots equip businesses with exclusively designed UI.

The author Dhara Shah is Chief Marketing Officer at Allied Digital Services


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