Have you ever heard the saying “The customer is always right”? Businesses recognize the importance of customer opinion and the impact it has on the sales of goods and services.
The number of customers leaving reviews online has increased and according to a report by BIA/Kelsey and ConStat, 97% of people read reviews before they place an order or make a purchase.
Brands, therefore, strive to satisfy the needs of customers to ensure loyalty and build a layer of trust with them. Hence companies are continuously looking for insight into customers’ thoughts to satisfy them as well as know how they could leverage the insight in making suggestions on services they might require.
Businesses thereby need necessary information to observe experiences customers have with the brand to gauge and predict what they require.
In this era of artificial intelligence (AI), companies no longer need to make use of traditional methods such as customer surveys, questionnaires, focus groups, and interviews to develop an understanding of the minds of their customers as those methods are quite slow and expensive to implement and require an army of analysts to make use of collected information.
Instead, they make use of online reviews as data gathered from them are easily utilized through AI algorithms to ensure that customer sentiments can be predicted in real-time.
Due to the significance of AI in predicting consumer behavior, this article deals with the significance of its application to online reviews and making recommendations.
Businesses are continuously interested in knowing what their customers think, and going through reviews one at a time is a very tedious process. However, with the use of AI customers' attitudes can be easily detected from their reviews and businesses can know immediately if these reviews are good, bad or neutral.
From recent statistics, 94% of customers mentioned that online reviews gave them a reason to avoid some businesses and 64% said they would read Google reviews before visiting a business.
The opinion of other customers influences that of potential customers. Through analysis of the tone and context in reviews, companies would know what to improve and what services to provide to appease their customers and keep them coming back.
Tech start-ups like Spirable, Revuze and more are automating customer experience management to make it more efficient. They use artificial intelligence to analyze customer opinions from multiple sources such as social media, emails, online reviews, surveys, data collected by call centers and many others, online and offline.
They carry out their analysis by monitoring keywords thereby deciphering the context in which it's being used to estimate users' sentiments.
The information provided is used to identify trends and topics from gathered user data, giving businesses information about their customers’ opinions in real-time compared to traditional methods that take much much time to gather information needed and to process it.
Although data privacy has been an issue of concern for a while, recent studies show that customers are willing to trade their data for a more personalized shopping experience.
According to statistics, 74% of customers are deterred when websites are not personalized, 85% of consumers are influenced to buy products from personalized homepage promotions, while 92% of shoppers online are influenced through personalized shopping cart recommendations.
Retailers use previous customer behavior to give recommendations for products and services because it boosts sales.
Aspectiva, Tact and similar tech start-ups use artificial intelligence to identify all product attributes customers are interested in by gathering and analyzing large volumes of user-generated content.
It provides customers with insight to search for, engage and discover products that satisfy their needs.
When customers search, the AI solution identifies product attributes from the product search by adding a data layer to filter products, hence only displaying what customers are interested in.
Simply put, it analyzes user-generated content such as reviews and past shopping behavior to make suggestions.
To obtain high-quality data from online reviews, customers have to develop some sort of loyalty to the brand in question.
Therefore to either give reviews or provide quality responses customers need to feel safe and secure. They require absolute confidentiality and the knowledge that their data will be safeguarded and used appropriately as customers become reluctant to give up information when data is stolen or lost.
In this case, artificial intelligence is once again employed in preventing cyberattacks and data breaches.
Start-ups like ZeroFOX use artificial intelligence to detect deepfake videos and to detect and remove threatening images and leaked credit card information.
Deepfakes are used to superimpose images and videos, combining them to create fake news, hoaxes, misinformation campaigns, and brand impersonations.
These deepfakes elude conventional link, text and file analysis-based security solutions but with the AI solution employed by the security platforms, the time-consuming process of analyzing lots of images and processes is avoided.
Companies that have innovative methods of obtaining customer insight will retain customers, attract more and make more sales.
From personalized suggestions on search bars to understanding the opinion of customers on their products to ensuring their safety, companies develop a layer of trust with their customers.
Artificial intelligence is pushing businesses forward and giving customers a more personal experience than they would have experienced before.
About the author
Pratik Dholakiya is the Founder of The 20 Media, a content marketing agency specializing in content and data-driven SEO and PRmention, a digital PR agency. He regularly speaks at various conferences about SEO, Content Marketing, Entrepreneurship, and Digital PR. Pratik has spoken at 80th Annual Conference of Florida Public Relations Association, Accounting & Finance Show, Singapore, NextBigWhat’s UnPluggd, IIT-Bombay, SMX Israel, SEMrush Meetup, MICA, IIT-Roorkee and other major events. As a passionate SEO & content marketer, he shares his thoughts and knowledge in publications like Search Engine Land, Search Engine Journal, Entrepreneur Magazine, Fast Company, The Next Web, YourStory and Inc42 to name a few. Find him on Twitter @DholakiyaPratik.