The marketing game is evolving faster than most could have imagined, thanks in part to the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) – in particular conversational AI. Ambit’s Tim Warren explains how to find that sweet spot between innovation and safety, to protect brand image and keep the trust of customers.
Conversational AI, AI chatbots, have become the smart marketers’ secret weapon, transforming how we engage with customers and building brand loyalty, thanks to real-time, personalised interactions. AI chatbots can answer multiple customer queries immediately, around the clock, with no breaks. In a research study by HubSpot, 90 percent of customers rate an ‘immediate’ response as essential or very important when they have a question.
AI capability means we can do incredible things for our prospects and customers. This goes beyond providing an immediate response. How about educating them about that new eco-friendly polar-fleece that’s hitting your shelves? Help them find their nearest favourite brand retailer? Maybe offer special personalised incentives to your top brand enthusiasts? There’s no limit to the scope of the engaging conversations you can have, and no limit to the creativity of the engagement.
But how do we keep our customers and brands safe and secure in the AI era? We have all seen the examples of chatbots gone rogue – from hallucinating incorrect answers to expressing inappropriate views misaligned with a company’s values – and marketers are well aware of the damage this can cause to a brand.
We also have a responsibility to handle customers’ personal information with the utmost care, and many people don’t realise that once something has been entered into a public generative AI system such as ChatGPT, that input could be used to train and explain answers for others.
Some corporates and government departments are rushing to introduce staff bans on use of ChatGPT. This is due to the risk that data from prompts entered into an open generative AI platform might appear in responses to questions from other users.
A smarter way to use conversational AI
There is a smarter way though. Ambit does not believe in blanket bans. Instead we recommend proactive establishment of policies and procedures to protect data, including communicating clearly to staff what tasks can and can’t be carried out using external tools such as public generative AI.
AI and GPT are very new technologies and there will be some trial and error while marketers and customers work out how to safely use these tools.
Ambit’s advice is to
- Identify the risks and opportunities for your business – create a risks register and review it monthly.
- Determine who in the organisation is responsible for creating policies to guide AI adoption.
- Determine who owns those policies.
- Agree what tasks can and cannot be carried out using external tools. For example, writing a LinkedIn post announcing event sponsorship is fine, but writing anything at all that includes any personal data or information about a customer is not.
- Communicate the policies and guidelines to your team, customers and partners.
By using a trusted provider of conversational AI, and following ethical AI frameworks and guidelines, you will ensure your AI systems play by the rules, minimising any potential biases or unethical outcomes.
It is also important to assign a real person to train and oversee AI chatbots. Digital employees are fantastic, yet they can’t do everything on their own. We still need that human touch and personal connection so a team made up of humans and AI is ideal. The AI chatbot provides lightning-fast responses and automated processes, freeing up time for real people to handle tricky situations, show empathy, and tackle more sensitive and complex customer inquiries.
AI isn’t just a fancy buzzword; it’s a game-changer that unlocks a world of possibilities for marketers, allowing us to improve customer service, elevate customer engagement, and drive brand success. Conversational marketing extends beyond mere sales transactions; it serves as a powerful tool for cultivating customer relationships and fostering unwavering brand loyalty.
So don’t let the potential risks put you off adding an AI chatbot to your team. Recent findings from Twilio’s research reveal that a whopping 90 percent of consumers express a strong desire to engage with businesses through messaging channels. This data underscores the immense potential of conversational marketing in today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape. Companies that fail to capitalise on this trend are overlooking opportunities for driving customer engagement, amplifying brand visibility, and fuelling revenue growth.
By embracing AI responsibly, being transparent with customer data blending the best of human and AI interactions, and using a trusted provider, brands can safely unleash the true potential of AI.
For more tips on how to stay safe in the AI and GPT era, have a look at Ambit’s organisational readiness guide for AI and GPT.