Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

How AI nurtures proactive customer engagement in a 5G-powered world

By Lee Whittington, customer engagement specialist at Pegasystems

5G excitement is shared between consumers and businesses. The worry is that modern businesses who want to leverage 5G’s connectivity potential will treat it just like any other new channel. With many businesses set up in siloes with channels like mobile and email functioning like separate businesses within one company, this may result in important, actionable customer insights getting lost in internal digital bureaucracy.

New technologies like 5G and IoT offer far more than an additional method of conducting traditional brand interactions. They actually introduce and even “gamify” entirely new ways for customers to interact with brands. Like Accenture discovered with its Intelligent Care initiative when it reduced inbound calls by 1.5 million and saw a 26% increase in digital channel use in less than a year, using a more proactive approach helps customer satisfaction flourish.

To fully capitalise on customer’s willingness to share more data using 5G, businesses will need proactive, customer-centric strategies with multiple touchpoints to match the always-connected digital culture that 5G will empower.

Connecting tech innovations with RPA

5G network slicing allows customers to separate 5G bandwidth to prioritise their most used channels for better, faster and supposedly more frequent data sharing. This alone offers brands great personal insight into how customers like to be contacted, and also guarantees an improved service on that channel. That’s not to say that the other channels should be forgotten.

5G-powered IoT devices such as a toaster or exercise equipment may not be as frequently used as, say, a smartphone or smartwatch. But they too enable real-time data input and instant customer interactions at the time that is most convenient to the customer. Any agent should be able to access this information again using a central AI to connect updates across all interactions, no matter which device was used.

Alongside AI, RPA can join the dots between customer touchpoints so that a new sports towel ordered from a connected treadmill will be ready for a customer to pick up when they are alerted from a smartwatch as soon as they are less than one kilometre away from the relevant shop.

Don’t put people in boxes

Traditional interactions aren’t necessarily boring, but businesses need to realise that there are different ways to do things – because customers already are. Building experiences around individuals has proven to be an effective way of engaging customers. But now that 5G is making more possible on the go and even within the home, brands need to rethink their strategies.

Businesses should incorporate features to accommodate the new possibilities. Where previously a customer would need to be where they live to make a payment or arrange a specific time to speak to a customer service agent, this is no longer necessarily the case.

As a result, an important thing to take into account is that the journey will completely differ from customer to customer. User-centric strategies like low-code app development and microjourneys can connect data from all the available devices to tailor-fit the experience to the individual customer for ultimate convenience.

Real-time data and 5G will encourage personalised experiences

One of the biggest barriers to sharing data has been scepticism over how it is used by businesses. By demonstrating the benefit of utilising customer data to optimise convenience for customers, brands can reassure their customers. 5G and real-time data has potential to multiply the opportunities for brands to demonstrate a commitment to making the lives of their customers even easier.

Alongside an always-on, constantly connected approach to customer communications, 5G will enable customers to convert their real-time data into a new source of information for businesses to transform proactive sales into lifestyle improvements.

Armed with the ability to offer appropriate products, updates on existing services and address concerns before they cause a problem for the customer, businesses can reduce the friction to communication and make sure that their customers are happy at all times.

When there is a natural buzz around a new technology, businesses who fall behind on adapting their processes to build them into the customer experience will miss out. Organisations should make sure that 5G is not overlooked as the next opportunity to reach customers on their own terms, on the most convenient channel and in real-time. Once they know how customers want to be contacted, businesses should act on those valuable insights by leveraging the right systems to accommodate a 5G-powered proactive approach.