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BizReport : Trends & Ideas : June 20, 2016

Consumers increasingly interested in AI, virtual reality to improve brand engagement

Consumers are interested in new virtual and artificial intelligence technologies and how they can enhance their relationships with brands and improve customer service.

by Helen Leggatt

Earlier this year, a survey from Nuance Communications into consumer preferences and expectations around customer self-service revealed that a significant number (89%) prefer, and even expect, to have conversational interaction. In fact, for 87%, a positive interaction with a company determines whether or not they will continue their relationship.

Of particular interest is Nuance's finding that 89% of consumers "want to engage with virtual assistants to quickly find information instead of searching through Web pages or a mobile phone app on their own". Nearly three-quarters (73%) said they want their conversations with customer service to be personalized and 64% want customer service to be proactive and include suggestions and reminders.

New research from the Direct Marketing Association (UK) reflects Nuance's findings in terms of brand engagement. They found that nearly half (48%) of consumers are interested in brands using artificial intelligence approaches, such as virtual assistants or chatbots, for engagement.

Among younger age groups the level of interest rises significantly. Almost 8 in 10 (79%) 16-24 year-olds expressed interest and three-quarters (76%) of those aged 25-34. Even among those aged 35-44 interest remains high (62%).

"Current engagement methods often seem clumsy, like 'brand stalking', where items follow a consumer around on web banners," said Rachel Aldighieri, DMA MD. "Instead, consumer data could be used in virtual or artificial intelligence systems. One example could be chatbots, giving brands a better way to use their data and consumers a more meaningful interaction."

Tags: brand marketing, customer service, engagement, technology, trends

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