Leverage a Single View of the Customer in Real Time With Generative AI

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It’s been almost two decades since we first heard “data is the new oil” and companies have tapped into that resource ever since, fundamentally changing the way we do business and how we talk to customers on digital channels. Raw data must be refined to realize its full value, but even with limited refining capabilities, it’s no exaggeration to say data changed everything.  Now with generative AI, we finally have the ultimate refinery process — a way to fuel business growth by using a single view of the customer to perceive and address customer needs in real time. The fulfillment of big data’s ultimate potential is a game-changer in its own right.

Before generative AI, businesses struggled to apply data at scale to personalize interactions in the moment while respecting customer privacy and complying with regulatory requirements. The lack of real-time insight made it all but impossible to achieve the right balance, causing significant customer disconnects.

Generative AI makes that balancing act possible, and the business stakes are sky-high, so it’s important to align with the right ecosystem partners to fully leverage cloud assets and real-time data to ensure secure, hyper-responsive interactions now. Here’s a closer look at how you can accomplish that.

Make Sure Your Digital Stack Is Generative AI-Ready

If you haven’t already converted to the cloud, brace yourself because generative AI is making conversations about cloud platforms more relevant than ever. You’ll need great vendors in your digital stack to help you fully leverage this new technology. Cloud platforms are the key because of the speed at which your data can be accessed to communicate in real time, whether via two-way text, chat or emerging voice-first options.

Security is also critical, and since texting is such a popular channel with customers, you can’t afford to leave that option off the table. Everything should be considered because generative AI offers an enormous opportunity, so now is the time to check vendor capabilities and get your digital stack in order.

With the right vendors in place, you can make sure customer communication is carefully managed, real-time data is integrated and processes are compliant with privacy and opt-in rules. Now more than ever, it’s critical to pay attention to workflows and ensure you have an API-driven infrastructure – a clean technology stack capable of taking advantage of all generative AI has to offer.

Get a Single View of the Customer

A single view of the customer is a standard we’ve been chasing for 30 years, and now it’s finally within reach, but data handling processes have to be aligned first. We all have internal processes to handle customer data, and companies work with multiple vendors with their own data-handling procedures. Many of these vendors are communicating on behalf of your brand.

All of the data streams (internal and external) have to be aligned to make sure generative AI’s real-time communications capabilities can serve your customers effectively. So make sure all of the data streams are current and integrated to get a single view of the customer. If a vendor uploads data once a month, that’s not good enough — it has to be fresh to drive generative AI conversations taking place in the here and now.

If you were an early ChatGPT adopter, you got a preview of how frustrating it is to work with outdated data. After the initial release, the free version stopped integrating the most current data, limiting its usefulness. The same thing happens when companies who use generative AI to communicate with customers don’t have cloud platforms with a strong API infrastructure to constantly feed their AI tool fresh data. Generative AI’s value lies in the combination of historical and fresh data.

We no longer have the luxury of time we once had when integrating datasets because the immediacy of generative AI is a core value. So, evaluate all the workflows and processes that touch customer data and make sure you get a single view of the customer for your AI tool. If you’re holding back any part of the customer’s story due to delayed data uploads, you’re doing yourself and your customers a disservice.

Ascend to the Top of the Pyramid

Remember Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs from Psych 101? The concept is illustrated with a pyramid labeled with physiological needs at the bottom, with needs becoming more aspirational as you move toward the peak. The top of the pyramid is self-actualization — a person living up to their full potential.

Generative AI is driving a similar dynamic in digital customer communication. As a founder who was inspired to launch a startup by a negative customer experience resulting from a business not using data I had shared with them, it’s a dynamic I’ve observed closely for years.

Over time, I’ve seen businesses and their vendor partners apply data in ways that meet basic, intermediate and increasingly complex needs as technology evolves. And now we’re reaching a particularly exciting phase because with generative AI, the top of the pyramid is within reach.

Three elements are essential to reach that pinnacle:

  1. Cloud assets with a robust API infrastructure
  2. The ability to operate securely, protecting customer data and complying with opt-in regulations
  3. Access to real-time data

If you communicate with customers on digital channels, you’ll have existing vendor relationships that handle some or all of these elements. You’ve likely learned a lot along the way as you’ve gained access to larger amounts of data and increasingly sophisticated tools to apply it.

Now it’s time to reach for that summit, aligning internal and external workflows to securely integrate data in the cloud as it becomes available. Finally, you can have a single view of the customer, and that gives you the ability to perceive and meet customer needs in the moment.

Tara Kelly is Founder and CEO of SPLICE Software