Telephone surveys are notoriously unreliable. So are email questionnaires. When it comes to engaging consumers in two-way market research, companies are increasingly looking toward chat-based technologies as a potential solution.
Case and point: the Vancouver Canucks. The ice hockey team has started using chat-based technology to capture fan feedback in real-time during home games in the team’s Vancouver stadium.
With consumers today asking for more authentic, personalized experiences, the German apparel manufacturer PUMA recently launched an outdoor campaign that involved audience targeting, programmatic capabilities, and situationally aware screens with hologram technology. PUMA worked with Havas Media and the outdoor ad platform Firefly to design a weekend-long campaign during the 2020 NBA All-Star Weekend in Chicago. Together, the companies outfitted smart media displays with hologram projectors to display 360-degree images of PUMA’s newest sneaker on the roofs of parked cars in front of multiple Chicago landmarks.
One vertical that has been able to integrate voice into customer service in a meaningful way is retail. National retailers like Best Buy, Walmart, and REI Co-op have created skills or teamed up with technology providers to connect with customers through voice-controlled assistants. Some retailers are accepting orders via voice, and others are doling out product information and reviews. What the most successful of these companies have in common is a defined strategy and plans to measure ROI.
It’s important that companies can see who their customers are and what transactions are associated with each customer via voice assistants. This sort of knowledge is necessary for brands to make the channel a valuable part of an overarching loyalty strategy.
Given that voice is currently owned by just a few select companies, it’s important for brands to figure out how they will leverage voice differently from company to company or device to device. Will retail brands keep the same strategy with Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri, or will they find unique ways to take advantage of these platforms across differences?
The trend of moving customer experience beyond the screen has been dubbed “conversational customer care.” It’s still unclear just how many channels are included under this umbrella or how the future of conversational customer care will look. Brands that are dealing with demanding customers can’t afford to sit back and wait for this to play out. Screen-free customer experiences could be the future. They could be just a single touchpoint in the broader context of customer experience strategy. Or, they could just be a passing fad.
But the chances that voice-first customer experiences are a fad seem to be shrinking.
Restaurant chains like Wingstop, Domino’s, Panera, and Round Table have created their own skills to make it easier for people to place orders through voice assistants like Amazon’s Echo and Google Home. But before voice ordering can truly disrupt the restaurant industry, restaurants have to find ways to reduce the friction and eliminate the kinds of errors that lead to the wrong orders being delivered.
Here’s how some of the country’s top restaurant chains are overcoming the challenges associated with voice ordering and developing more frictionless customer experiences.
Conversational AI is a broad term used to describe technologies that automate conversations and personalize customer experiences. With the right systems in place, brands are able to understand, process, and actually respond to voice inputs in a natural way. While voice assistants, chatbots, and messaging services like WhatsApp, Kik, and Facebook Messenger can all be harnessed in a conversational AI strategy, virtual assistants like Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri are the most popular tools adopted by brand marketers today.
Within the hospitality industry, a growing number of hotels are using voice technology to improve personalization with experiences like virtual concierges. Virtual concierges use voice technology to personalize a guest’s stay by offering experiences based on past behavior. For example, virtual concierges can adjust thermostats or place room service orders based on a traveler’s previous preferences. When hotels and other hospitality brands take action based on the insights gathered about guests through their loyalty programs, they improve the overall guest experience.
But brands in a number of industries are exploring loyalty use cases for voice.
Spending on wearables is predicted to hit $52 billion this year, according to forecasts from the research firm Gartner, and spending on smartwatches specifically is expected to increase by 24%. Smartwatches represent the merging of physical and virtual worlds, and they provide marketers with a direct line for reaching consumers.
Here are five examples of how tech-savvy brands can put smartwatches to work and develop better strategies to take full advantage of the new opportunities that exist for reaching consumers through these wearable devices.
If the California Bureau of Cannabis Control’s proposed regulations are passed, state-licensed cannabis businesses will be required to display unique QR code certificates in their store windows. They would need to have their QR codes handy when transporting cannabis as well. In the long term, lawmakers are hoping the regulation will help consumers avoid purchasing cannabis from unlicensed vendors. In the short term, though, the proposed regulation is forcing dispensaries and other cannabis businesses to search for ways to create compliant QR codes for their stores.
Amazon’s convenience stores rely heavily on location technology to track consumers’ movements inside buildings. Cameras analyze shopping behaviors, strategically placed microphones listen to conversations, and information about consumers’ shopping habits is stored in a central database that Amazon can reference for future operational and strategic planning.
“As cashierless stores take off, more and more personal and payment data will be transmitted through phones and mobiles devices and stored in cloud-based software platforms,” says Ruston Miles, chief strategy officer at Bluefin. “This means that hackers will have more network access to this data through vulnerable providers and merchants.”
With the clock ticking on full enforcement of CCPA, businesses are looking at how they can get into compliance—and fast. Technology vendors have been quick to step in and fill that void, launching integrated privacy management platforms with CCPA and the European Union’s GDPR in mind. Most of these platforms can be configured to specific privacy regulations, helping businesses automate their data collection practices and regularly performing risk assessments to determine whether they’re handling personal data correctly.
Here are six examples of tools that companies can use to ensure CCPA compliance.
When it comes to location data specifically, Senior VP of Product Josh Cohen is seeing Foursquare’s partners put more emphasis on the quality of data. The company’s partners are developing more sophisticated understandings of the range of data quality when it comes to location, which means Foursquare has to dedicate more resources to make sure new industry-wide expectations are met.
In 2019, updates to Google’s local search algorithms and changes in the way consumers use mobile devices caused a shift in the way local businesses marketed themselves online. Digital marketing firms have been quick to pivot to meet market demand. As of today, one of the industry’s most influential not-for-profit associations is making a change as well.
Local Search Association (LSA), a not-for-profit association of companies focused on local and location-based marketing, will now be known as Localogy. The name change is part of a larger rebranding effort as the group looks for ways to better showcase its mission to re-invest in the changing nature of local business.
Industry executives are working overtime to help their clients maintain their current marketing practices without running afoul of the latest privacy regulations. Over at Tealium, a firm that specializes in customer data management and protection, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer Mike Anderson is encouraging clients to focus on the customer experience of consent while clearly articulating why they need consumers’ data.
“You can’t build customer profiles if the data isn’t there,” Anderson says. “There’s a level of education needed at the point of consent to show the consumer what value they will get in return when they opt-in.”
The California Consumer Privacy Act has just recently gone into effect, and full enforcement won’t begin for another six months, but companies are already making big changes as they endeavor to ensure compliance.
Under the new CCPA regulations, companies are required to notify users of the intent to monetize their data and provide users with the ability to easily opt out of data monetization. Many companies are struggling to come into compliance, but for businesses that work with multiple technology vendors, the issue is creating even more headaches.