Feel the Customer Love this Valentine’s Day By Providing Great CRM
Businesses can stand out from the crowd on Valentine’s Day by delivering a highly-personalised experience to customers. Valentine’s Day is only one of several retail peaks throughout the year. If companies want to capture the lion's share of the market during these periods when customers are keen to buy, they must stand out. Customer relationship management is a key to building a successful business. It helps drive sales, manage effective marketing and ensure customer satisfaction.
Strategic customer engagement and management can therefore be highly beneficial, but requires an ongoing commitment.
Michael Morgan, General Manager, Business & Productivity Solutions, Empired Ltd. said: “Data is one of the best tools a business has to improve customer relationships. It can provide invaluable insight into both individual customer needs and the business as a whole. But it must be approached in a strategic way as part of a relationship management process. Happy customers equal repeat business and recommendations so it must be a priority for all organisations.”
Empired has identified five ways to ensure your customers love you this Valentine’s Day:
Manage and share your data effectively. Data is a key tool to improve customer relationships, but it must be up to date and accessible. Customers are aware that businesses have a wealth of data available to them and, as a result, expect a certain level of knowledge during interactions. For example, they do not want to have to repeat details of previous conversations or issues. It is vital that customer data is available at all customer touch points throughout the business, regardless of where it originated. This is achieved by implementing a centralised platform that can be updated in real-time and viewed by multiple people at the same time.
Use data to personalise offers and interactions. All customer engagement generates data, which can be used to provide a much more personalised, relevant service to their customers. This both increases the chances of the customer making a purchase and decreases the chances of the customer being frustrated by receiving offers that they have no interest in.
Respect the customer’s channel of choice. It’s important to understand your customers’ preferred channel. Customers expect to interact with businesses when, where and how suits them best. For example, if a customer’s inbound correspondence has consistently been by phone or email, you should respond via the same channel. Having centralised records of all interactions with your customers will help to keep track of their preferences.
Improve response and processing times. Electronically capture and automate your data processing on one platform. Many processes, such as invoicing, have several steps across paper and electronic formats. This can result in unnecessary delays with customer correspondence and a heavy reliance on employees pushing the requirements through the process. Businesses should consider automating their standard processes to improve productivity and processing times.
Listen to customer feedback to drive business improvements. Customer relationships management isn’t just about keeping customers happy in the short-term. Sometimes this means making long-term changes to the business. Using customer interactions and data, businesses can improve their relationships and improve their bottom line. For example, customer complaints should not stop with customer service. Feedback must be passed on to relevant department. If there are issues with a product or service being provided, it is likely to affect more than one customer. By sharing feedback data, a business can assess whether there is a wider issue and address it accordingly. This gives the customers what they really want, and minimises any lost revenue.
Michael Morgan said: “It is important to delight your customers at every opportunity. It can be daunting to think about how you can best manage your data to achieve this but there are tools designed to help organisations manage their customer interactions across all business units. These can offer a good way to ensure you are providing a relevant, personalised and consistent experience across your business departments.”
Chinese Firm Taigusys Launches Emotion-Recognition System
In a detailed investigative report, the Guardian reported that Chinese tech company Taigusys can now monitor facial expressions. The company claims that it can track fake smiles, chart genuine emotions, and help police curtail security threats. ‘Ordinary people here in China aren’t happy about this technology, but they have no choice. If the police say there have to be cameras in a community, people will just have to live with it’, said Chen Wei, company founder and chairman. ‘There’s always that demand, and we’re here to fulfil it’.
Who Will Use the Data?
As of right now, the emotion-recognition market is supposed to be worth US$36bn by 2023—which hints at rapid global adoption. Taigusys counts Huawei, China Mobile, China Unicom, and PetroChina among its 36 clients, but none of them has yet revealed if they’ve purchased the new AI. In addition, Taigusys will likely implement the technology in Chinese prisons, schools, and nursing homes.
It’s not likely that emotion-recognition AI will stay within the realm of private enterprise. President Xi Jinping has promoted ‘positive energy’ among citizens and intimated that negative expressions are no good for a healthy society. If the Chinese central government continues to gain control over private companies’ tech data, national officials could use emotional data for ideological purposes—and target ‘unhappy’ or ‘suspicious’ citizens.
How Does It Work?
Taigusys’s AI will track facial muscle movements, body motions, and other biometric data to infer how a person is feeling, collecting massive amounts of personal data for machine learning purposes. If an individual displays too much negative emotion, the platform can recommend him or her for what’s termed ‘emotional support’—and what may end up being much worse.
Can We Really Detect Human Emotions?
This is still up for debate, but many critics say no. Psychologists still debate whether human emotions can be separated into basic emotions such as fear, joy, and surprise across cultures or whether something more complex is at stake. Many claim that AI emotion-reading technology is not only unethical but inaccurate since facial expressions don’t necessarily indicate someone’s true emotional state.
In addition, Taigusys’s facial tracking system could promote racial bias. One of the company’s systems classes faces as ‘yellow, white, or black’; another distinguishes between Uyghur and Han Chinese; and sometimes, the technology picks up certain ethnic features better than others.
Is China the Only One?
Not a chance. Other countries have also tried to decode and use emotions. In 2007, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) launched a heavily contested training programme (SPOT) that taught airport personnel to monitor passengers for signs of stress, deception, and fear. But China as a nation rarely discusses bias, and as a result, its AI-based discrimination could be more dangerous.
‘That Chinese conceptions of race are going to be built into technology and exported to other parts of the world is troubling, particularly since there isn’t the kind of critical discourse [about racism and ethnicity in China] that we’re having in the United States’, said Shazeda Ahmed, an AI researcher at New York University (NYU).
Taigusys’s founder points out, on the other hand, that its system can help prevent tragic violence, citing a 2020 stabbing of 41 people in Guangxi Province. Yet top academics remain unconvinced. As Sandra Wachter, associate professor and senior research fellow at the University of Oxford’s Internet Institute, said: ‘[If this continues], we will see a clash with fundamental human rights, such as free expression and the right to privacy’.