The Digital Customer Experience Blog

Your source of insights for a successful digital transformation.

Neosperience at Think 2018 – Strengthening Customer Engagement With Artificial Intelligence

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What is the key to building a successful organization in the digital age? It will be discussed at Think 2018, the week-long event organized in Milano by IBM, a real journey through the world of cloud and artificial intelligence.

Dario Melpignano, CEO of Neosperience, illustrates how companies need to use technological innovations to build personal and useful relationships with their customers. The event is scheduled for Wednesday, June 6 at 15:30 with the panel "Strengthening Customer Engagement with Artificial Intelligence".

The disruptive power of the digital transformation has involved - sometimes with overwhelming effects - every industry and internal function of the organizations. The smartphone, at the forefront of this innovative process, has stopped being a simple channel, to become a real proxy of the customer.

The path of change towards digital and emerging technologies has forced Brands to move towards an increasingly customer-centered model. Working on customer engagement means precisely this: delivering personalized customer experiences, overcoming the problems that derive from the fragmentation of tools and channels.

People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care.” With this famous phrase, Theodore Roosevelt had already exemplified the value of the customer experience well before the actual start of the digital revolution. You will never be able to engage and retain your customers if you do not know them in the first place.

As a matter of facts, accelerating digital transformation means adopting a mobile-first approach, identifying insight in real time and using this information to build and strengthen the empathic relationship with the customer. This translates into the development of personalized experiences that retain and increase the value of the Brand.

The future of customer engagement, with a focus on the crucial role of Artificial Intelligence, will be the heart of Dario Melpignano's intervention at Think Milano, in a panel moderated by Dicran Babayantz, IBM Watson Customer Engagement Business Unit Leader Italy.

Here is the complete agenda of the round table:
Wednesday, June 6 from 3.30 PM to 5 PM - Hall III

Campus:
Cloud & Data / Artificial Intelligence for Business

Speakers:
- Dario Melpignano, CEO at Neosperience, "visionary" and Mobile Digital Business pioneer for USA-Europe
- Laura Iacovone, Mktg Professor in Competitive Analysis Consumer & Shopping Behavior and Advertising
- Alessandro De Biasio, Partner and Board Member, Head of Strategy and Innovation Practice The European House Ambrosetti
- Alessia Scarpocchi, Mktg Director Apoteca Natura Strategies & Web Aboca Group

For further information about the agenda and to register, please head to Think 2018 official page.

TNW Conference – How the Softer Side of AI Will Unlock the Power of DCX

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May 24 and 25, 2018, Amsterdam, The Netherlands: the future of technology was there, at the TNW Conference 2018

, the award-winning 2-day European festival dedicated to innovation, marketing, communication, and creativity.

With 19 tracks of content, a huge variety of topics was covered: Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Deep Learning changing companies' businesses; Design thinking transforming our work and helping us solving complex problems: new Marketplaces growing retailers' e-commerce exponentially; Virtual and Augmented Reality making physical and digital objects coexist simultaneously; and many others.

In this wide range of specialties, what are the key insights for the digital experience leaders? Here are the three main trends we have observed.

Artificial Intelligence will turn into Emotional Intelligence
Opening the 'Machine: Learners' track, Cassie Kozyrkov, Chief Decision Scientist at Google, shares her thoughts on the decision intelligence engineering, the emerging discipline that focuses on using ML and AI to improve companies’ businesses.

In a statement, she has captured the attention of the entire audience: 2030 will be the age of emotional intelligence. The Human-AI symbiosis that will take place in the next years will shape the way brands connect with customers across all digital and physical touchpoints, making their relationship closer, personal and intimate.

That will become possible thanks to the ability for Machine Learning and Deep Learning to foster and advance brands' social skills, enabling them to change their communication style depending on what customers’ emotions and reactions are.

If the customer is in a hurry and impatient, or anxious and stressed out, brands will be ready to deliver a different experience than if s/he's calm and relaxed; just like a good seller does when dealing with customers in the store.

Context-aware Artificial Intelligence unlocks the power of Customer Experience
In a world where customer expectations are constantly evolving, 89% of companies believe that customer experience will be their primary basis for competition (Gartner, 2015). That is how Adrian McDermott, President of Products at Zendesk, started what has been one of the most eye-opening speeches of the event.

Artificial Intelligence solutions can help companies to increase customer satisfaction by providing:

- Automation, which removes repetitive work - think of an answer bot instead of a customer service professional).
- Recommendation, that uses content cues to inform decisions customers make - by offering, for example, the right information and help at the right moment.
- Prediction, able to spot trends that humans can’t see - such the expected customer satisfaction, the probability that a customer will become loyal to your brand, or that s/he will recommend your product to others.

Over the coming years, these three AI-based levers will allow leading companies to:

- Embrace a people-first approach, which means, capturing the customer behind the analytics and beyond purely objective data such as demographics.
- Adopt a growth mindset, by figuring out what their customer segments look like and A/B testing what kind of interactions they should activate across those segments.
- Deliver seamless omnichannel experiences and context-based conversations with customers, to close the gap with customers' habits and make them live comprehensive shopping experiences.

Digital communication will move to dialogue
By 2020, the average person will have more conversation with their bot than with their spouse (Gartner, 2016). What is certain is that, within the next few years, having a bot in your app and website will go from being an optional nice-to-have to an essential must-have.

If misdesigned, however, you’ll have a frustrating user interface that will drive your customers away, explains Purna Virji, Senior Manager of Global Engagement at Microsoft. Convinced that we can do much better than state of the art, she reveals us the key principles of designing conversational AI; those that she calls the "4 C's":

A. Clarity.
Mind your language, create a conversational flow and see what sounds natural. To avoid "robotic" perceptions, write for the ear and not for the eye, as the right words to create engagement and trust are not those beautiful to read but those that are nice to hear.

B. Character.
People prefer a virtual agent with an easy-to-perceive personality: it can be warm, formal, or even funny ... For example, if a customer says “thank you” at the end of a conversation, a professional bot will reply “you’re welcome,” while a more empathic bot can answer “you bet!”, and a very friendly one can say “no prob.”

But be careful: do not fall into the trap of turning the bot into a fake human. The goal isn’t for the customer to think they’re talking to a real person, so it’s best if the bot is easy to get to know, with a specific personality, but still clearly a bot.

C. Compassion.
Stepping into your customers’ shoes and making your user interface better understand and resonate with them is probably the most struggling point for today's bots. Think, for example, of their common reactions to small talk.

Even though encountering small talk is pretty common for a bot, that's where conversation often breaks. Quite simply, if a customer says "tks" instead of "thanks" it is pretty common to see the bot reply "Sorry. I do not understand”. Thus, building small talk scenarios becomes essential to avoid the embarrassing “Sorry I don’t understand.”

D. Correction.
There are lots of ways to correct an error without having to say "Sorry." One possible strategy, which also promotes sales, is to offer alternatives: if a customer asks for ordering red tulips, but these are unfortunately out of stock, instead of saying "Sorry, we are out of stock of red tulips" the bot can reply "We’re out of red tulips, would you like yellow or orange tulips instead?". After all, is that not what a good seller would do?

To conclude, this year's edition of the TNW Conference has given us significant insights that we can bring to the Digital Customer Experience environment. If “the world is machine readable,” as stated by Kevin Kelly, Co-founder of WIRED, during his compelling speech, we can add that it should be the same for customers, and for the way they think, feel and behave towards brands.

But - citing McDermott's words - “Oil has no value as you can’t extract energy from it. The same is for data. They have no value as you can’t extract knowledge from them.

That is why companies need to learn how to use Artificial Intelligence solutions to understand who their customers truly are, and thus build better products and experiences, designed for humans.

Download The 7 Pillars Of The New Customer Loyalty to define the foundations on which to build your engagement and loyalty strategy, create innovative experiences and establish a lasting and valuable relationship with your customers.

MIT Predicts The 10 Breakthrough Technologies For 2018

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When you talk about the future of technology, you have two different approaches. The first one is to look into the distance the way Sci-Fi writers do, working with the imagination to push the boundaries of what the human mind can create.

The second approach is to aim at a closer target, looking at what is already going on. This is exactly what the MIT does with its annual prediction of the 10 breakthrough technologies that will lead the evolution of business and society, starting from today.

The list has been published in the recent March/April release of the MIT Technology Review magazine, the reference point for everyone interested in knowing what’s coming next. This top 10 includes the technologies believed to make the most impact over the next 12 months.

"This is our attempt to alert our readers: These are the technologies that you really need to or should pay attention to next year, and also going into the next few years," MIT Tech Review's editor David Rotman told Business Insider.

What does it mean ‘breakthrough’? Scrolling through the previous 17 editions of the list, you can find a few key benchmarks for defining this term: mass commercial use, foreseeable mass commercial adoption and, most of all, the profound impact on our lives.

With the words of Gideon Lichfield, editor in chief of MIT Technology Review, “our annual list of 10 world-changing technologies invariably defies attempts to find an overarching theme. But a look back at the past few years shows a trend: we’re including more and more advances in artificial intelligence”.

There is no doubt that the AI will play - and is already playing - a huge role in the development of many aspects of our lives: the way we communicate and build relationships; how we work and find jobs; the strategy of businesses and organizations; how we take care of our health; the way Brands personalize the customer experience to appeal people's uniqueness.

3D METAL PRINTING

While 3D printing has been around for a while now, printing objects in other materials than plastic has been quite a dream (an expensive one). Now we are moving towards the ability to create large, intricate metal structures on demand; something that could revolutionize manufacturing, a new era for the 4.0 Enterprise.

ARTIFICIAL EMBRYOS

With the embryos, we face a topic hotly debated for its ethical and philosophical problems. And yet the research is moving faster than legislation and political debate. For the first time, researchers have made embryo-like structures from stem cells alone, without using egg or sperm cells, thus providing a new understanding of how life comes into existence.

SENSING CITY

For years we have heard about the smart city, but it is now time for an even smarter smart city. In Toronto, Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs are already implementing sensors and analytics in order to rethink how we build and live cities. Sensing cities could make urban areas more affordable and citizen’s friendly.

AI FOR EVERYBODY

Artificial Intelligence is the next big thing in technology; there is no doubt about that. The only brake to its full application has always been the high costs of development. But now cloud-based AI is making the technology cheaper and easier to use, opening the market to many more companies.

DUELLING NEURAL NETWORKS

Right now the Artificial Intelligence can learn and identify things based on the processed data, but what if it could also have an ‘imagination’? Companies such as Google Brain, DeepMind and Nvidia are now matching two AI systems that can help each other to create original images, and generate something akin to a sense of imagination.

BABEL FISH EARBUDS

Google's omnipresence in this list shows that the company is not ‘just’ a search engine anymore. The Pixel Buds show the promise of near-real-time translation. The technology is still young and clunky, but it could help overcome the barrier of communication in an increasingly global world (in the wake of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy).

ZERO-CARBON NATURAL GAS

The brand new smart city requires a different approach to energy supply and distribution. The answer could be in a new approach to natural-gas plants, made to efficiently and cheaply capture carbon released by burning natural gas, thus avoiding greenhouse emissions.

PERFECT ONLINE PRIVACY

The most urgent issue of the digital era is the use (and abuse) of personal information. As shown by the Cambridge Analytica affair and the GDPR legislation, the road to the perfect online privacy is still long, but blockchain could help to make it faster. Computer scientists, in fact, are perfecting a cryptographic tool to carry out transactions without revealing any more information than necessary.

GENETIC FORTUNE-TELLING

Our destiny is written in our genes. This is science, not science fiction. The study of the genome can help scientists understand and predict diseases and human traits. DNA-based predictions could be the next significant public health advance, but will also pose an ethical problem. Will the next evolution of discrimination be based on genetics?

MATERIALS’ QUANTUM LEAP

What is the next step in the evolution of computing? Quantum computing seems to be the correct answer, as recently shown by the use of a quantum computer to model the electronic structure of a simple molecule. Understanding molecules will allow chemists to design more effective drugs and better materials, but the prospect of a new wave powerful computers comes with a question: What should (and could) we do with so much power?

Photo by Billy Huynh on Unsplash

Download The 7 Pillars Of The New Customer Loyalty to define the foundations on which to build your engagement and loyalty strategy, create innovative experiences and establish a lasting and valuable relationship with your customers.

Neosurance Recognized Twice Among the Best Startups in the InsurTech Industry

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Neosurance, the startup founded by Neosperience and Digital Tech, continues its journey of revolution in the InsurTech world, bringing home two prestigious awards that confirm it as one of the most appreciated players, not only in Italy, thanks to the recent opening of the American headquarters in Sunnyvale .

The 2018, in fact, opens under the banner of the first prize in the "Intelligent Automation" category, won during the MF Insurance & Previdenza Awards 2018, organized by Milano Finanza and Accenture.
Neosurance has been rewarded thanks to the product "Al Volo", a micro insurance solution developed by Axa Italy and based on the Neosurance platform, in which is accumulated the technological experience of the DCX consolidated in a decade by Neosperience.

"Al Volo" comes as a further step in a collaboration born in 2017, when Axa Italy and Neosurance laid the foundations for an ad hoc product for Tiassisto24 - an app that offers car concierge services - offering travel insurance that covers medical expenses for the 25 thousand users of the community.

After being included in the Insurance Factory 2018 Trend Report, on the April 13th came a further recognition of absolute value, with the inclusion in the list, drawn up by StartupItalia! and The European House - Ambrosetti, of the best 10 + 1 startups that have the potential to innovate the FinTech world ecosystem from Italy.

Neosurance, born from an idea by Dario Melpignano - CEO and co-founder of Neosperience, the first Digital Customer Experience Cloud - and Andrea Silvello - CEO and co-founder of Digital Tech - attracted the attention of the most important FinTech players, always looking for innovative solutions.

The technology of Neosurance, in continuous development, is based on artificial intelligence and dedicated to communities and insurance companies, allowing the sale of micro policies in "push" mode. The fulcrum of the value proposition for customers lies in the ability to build a digital customer experience based on contextual, behavioral and emotional information, used in a "learn by doing" approach.

In 2017, Neosurance was selected by Plug & Play to participate in the "InsurTech" acceleration program, and was invited to the important event of the Expo Demo Day in Silicon Valley. The presence on the news continued thanks to the Insurance Nexus IoT Europe Award and the MEDICI Top 21 - InsurTech Award.

Neosurance's path only confirms what has been certified by the Wall Street Journal, which has defined InsurTech as one of the sectors of greatest interest for venture capitalists who want to invest in innovative startups. Even in Italy, where the industry is still young, the recognition of the value of this startup shows - if still needed - the importance of the digital transformation that is revolutionizing the insurance market.

Photo by Caleb Whiting on Unsplash

Psychographics in Marketing: Build a Culture That Drives Their Power

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In advertising, brands constantly use communication appeals to influence the behavior of their target audience. As the science moves forward, marketing professionals improve their knowledge of the more profound pathways of human mind, and how to hit the right buttons in consumers' brain to increase the persuasive power of messages.

In the last years, this approach has also been extended to one-to-one marketing, giving Brands the opportunity to hyper-personalize interactions with every single user based on their distinctive traits: values, attitudes, motives, interests, lifestyles and personality traits. In a word, Psychographics.

This methodology has been employed in many sectors, with very different purposes. In the B2C world, to increase customer purchases and conversion rates, in health education, to encourage and support patient behavior change, up to politics, to influence citizens choices.

And it's just from politics that a question has recently arisen around the methods used by some parties to help elect a U.S. President, finding out through data-science and machine learning techniques what makes each specific citizen tick.

Our purpose is not to dig into the merits of a story that has already been over-discussed, but to think about the consequences of two big issues that it has brought out. On the one hand, the enormous power of psychographic models in predicting the behavior of individuals; on the other, how much these tools can be abused without shared deontological principles and rules.

Supporting and providing an ethical use of psychographic profiling, enabled by AI, becomes even more crucial from now on.

In the B2C world, building a culture that directs and controls the application of these methods is now more important than ever, given the essential need of brands to gain a deep understanding of who their customers are, as people as well as consumers, and so be able to deliver more personalized experiences.

From the suggestion of products and services to the creation of offers, messages, and content, psychographics are perfectly suited to win-win strategies, which open up new opportunities for higher-value, human-centered customer experiences, tailored to the needs, tastes, desires and interests of every single user.

Let’s Make an Example

Think of an online fashion retailer selling branded and own-brand products through its website and app. And think of Maria, a new customer.

In a typical situation, the retailer would know that Maria is a Millennial, lives in New York and in the last months has bought an evening gown and a pair of dress shoes of the spring collection, spending $ 215. She made her purchases on the website, but yesterday she downloaded the app too, following the invitation of a friend.

Now, the retailer will have to ask: What is the next step to keep Maria involved? With that information the retailer can offer to Maria, on her first access to the app, a special discount on the purchase of a garment easily matchable to those she has already bought (adopting a "content-based" approach). Or, the retailer can suggest to Maria a specific garment that is highly appreciated and frequently chosen by customers who share many similarities with her (using a "collaborative filtering" technique).

Now, imagine that the retailer can have access to different types of additional information about Maria. The marketer understands that she is very creative, likes to mix different styles into a single outfit, and prefers variety over routine when she goes shopping. She is always looking for original and uncommon clothes, with which she can stand out and show her unique personality.

With that new information available, the retailer would know that the best way to keep Maria engaged is to offer her, at a special price, a garment from the brand new collection that she would be one of the first people to buy. It will not recommend the most popular clothing matches but propose multiple styles that she can mix creatively. Moreover, it will not suggest the most chosen clothes by users "like her" but will offer something always new and different, to meet her need to feel unique.

So What?

Back to the ethical question: All that is new and different can be used for the good and the bad.

Changing the way Brands connect with customers remains a great challenge. They still lack a profound understanding of "Who" their customers are and, therefore, the ability to think like a customer, as Paul Gillin would say.

This barrier prevents them from creating remarkable personalized experiences, consistent with the distinctive traits of every customer and able to meet inner needs and emotional preferences.

If you keep thinking the old way, you will fail to overcome the challenge, building innovative user models capable of aggregating heterogeneous and anonymized data, and turning them into meaningful insights appears to be the right way forward.

Transparency and value to the customer are fundamental principles that must precede and guide the use of a powerful tool such as psychographics, allowing them to humanize the way brands interact with customers, giving unprecedented relevance to the digital experiences they deliver.

Photo by Oscar Keys on Unsplash

Discover MyPsychographics, based on techniques that have been developed and refined over 100 years of cognitive, behavioral and social psychology.

How Mobile Has Rewritten The Rules – No More Idle Micro Moments

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A few days ago, while waiting for my turn at the post office, I have witnessed the definitive disappearance of the downtime. Do you remember how boring was to carry out some dull activities only ten years ago?

Well, we have now said goodbye to the idle moments. The smartphone is the key to unlock the potential of those moments when we have nothing to do but waiting and waiting. The queue has never been so exciting.

Mind you, we are not saying that we will not be stuck in the waiting rooms in the next future. The digital disruption has changed a lot but, at least till now, we still have to face the boredom from time to time.

What has changed is the quality of these experiences. The random unattractive magazines stacked on the table of the doctor’s waiting room have given way to the smartphone. Thus, we have the whole world in our hands.

We live in the era of the Micro Moments and no idle moments are allowed anymore. Google has tackled this important matter in a recent article published on Think With Google. The post, titled “How mobile became a power tool in idle moments”, starts from the awareness that:

“The smartphone has become indispensable in getting things done. In our latest research, we found that 75% of people say their smartphones help them to be more productive. But it’s more than that. Productivity has an emotional impact as well. Fifty-four percent of people say their phones reduce stress and/or anxiety in their lives.”

And we all know how stressful it can be to stand in line waiting for a turn that never comes.

Mobile quickly delivers results when they’re impatient, provides inspiration at their fingertips when they’re curious, and gives them a personalized experience when they’re demanding one.

Google researchers have identified five typical scenarios when people turn to their phones to fight boredom.

A SPARK

This happens, for example, when something either just pops into your head or you are triggered by something you see.

AN URGENT NEED

This happens, for example, when you suddenly realize that you need something and you don’t know where to get it.

IN-STORE ASSISTANCE

This happens, for example, when you are strolling through the store’s aisles and use the smartphone to look for info, discounts, reviews.

MICRO-PRODUCTIVITY

This happens, for example, when you are stuck somewhere and scroll the list of things to do to move forward.

PLANNING AHEAD

This happens, for example, when you use the phone to plan the next moves in your life, from weekend trips to important purchases.

This is the story from customers’ perspective. What about your Brand? What about your marketing strategy? How can you exploit these micro moments to engage your customers and win their loyalty?

We leave you with a pretty interesting video, highlighting how mobile is impacting the opportunities and challenges for Brand and marketers.

Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash

Download The Mobile Engagement Playbook, a collection of relevant insights that'll help you to overcome the challenges of the digital transformation and grow your business exponentially.

The Digital Customer Experience Blog

This site, published by Neosperience, overviews the advancements of digital customer experience in marketing, technology and society. Neosperience Cloud is the technology platform to create engaging experiences for your customers that drive ongoing loyalty to your brand, and faster paths to purchase. It is the choice of the best companies in the world, Winner of the most prestigious global awards across many industries: Automotive, Communications, Media and Services, Consumer Products, Retail and Distribution, Fashion, Luxury and Beauty, Financial Services, Healthcare, Utilities, Government and Infrastructure, Travel and Transportation.

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