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This post is sponsored by Infobip.

Business digitalisation, coupled with a customer-centric culture, have forced brands to take a deeper dive into their communication strategies. Today, brands need to build meaningful interactions with their customers on their preferred platform at any time. That includes adding value to each interaction by tailoring a personalised message and being empathetic towards the customer’s needs and wants.

A study has shown that businesses that have empathy within their culture and towards the customer will have a net positive benefit on their bottom line1. Among the 170 publicly traded companies, the top 10 with outstanding empathy ratings outperformed the bottom 10 by two times on the stock market.

Infobip’s survey – “Connect Like Humans Do: Building Customer Communications that Matter” – found a strong desire from people for brands to use emotion in their communications

Human empathy versus artificial empathy 

Despite the results, the same study has found a decline in empathy over the years.2  This is particularly true for the way customers feel they are treated by companies. Because of this, some companies have started to introduce empathy in their marketing approach – this is the ability to understand or feel your customers’ emotional needs or wants in real-time.

There are two major factors to this: human empathy and artificial empathy. Similar to how human intelligence is different from artificial intelligence – artificial empathy is different from human empathy.

While human empathy is natural, artificial empathy must be learned based on the data collected within the rules or framework set up by a human. This is where artificial intelligence can come in play. More than half of the companies surveyed in a recent study showed increased use of AI and automation in their customer experience during COVID-19.3

These companies leverage artificial intelligence to perform automated decisions based on data collection, analysis, and other factors such as audience or economic trends that may impact marketing efforts. It is often used in marketing efforts where speed and personalisation are crucial.

By integrating empathy into their marketing efforts, marketers can connect better with their customers across different platforms, at a large scale, in a fully automated and data-driven manner.

Tips to becoming an empathetic marketer using AI

Moments, Infobip’s new omni-channel customer engagement hub is equipped with the ability to onboard, activate and re-engage via multi-step campaign automation.

Wear shoes in size C-ustomer: Think and behave from the customer’s perspective to open up new insights. Across channels, different customers respond to different messages – some may resonate with an emotional appeal, some humour, others reasons. With a combination of AI in the decision-making process, businesses can determine the next action that is best for the customers in real-time – whether it is to push an offer, sending appreciation messages to valuable customers, listening to them (and remembering their intent and requirements), or personalised seasonal greetings.

Make them feel special: Personalised messages provide opportunities to not only reach specific audiences, but to shorten the consumer journey by resonating to their exact needs and wants. Nothing turns a customer off more than getting an email that says “Dear (first_name)” – this not only shows that the brand doesn’t care, but it didn’t even have the courtesy to check for validation before a mass blast. With AI Marketing, whenever a prospect or a consumer interacts with your brand, this data is recorded and stored for future optimisation. This automated process makes personalisation easier and more effective.

Moments helps to send automated personalised messages to your customers.

Don’t react, relate: It’s about paying attention to customers’ needs and lifestyle changes. Using the customer’s data collected over time, AI-integrated platforms can build an understanding of your customers and then provide instant responses to serve their wants and needs. Over time, the system will learn how to react in the most relatable manner and watch out for cues to respond automatically. The result is greater brand awareness, more sales, and ultimately, a positive impact on the bottom line.

Focus on helping your customers: No hard sells, just genuine help to make lives better. An Infobip sponsored study found that 65% of companies acknowledge that very few of their customer interactions (0-20%) are being resolved in self-service environments.3 By enhancing your automated customer service channels with AI, this helps to solve your customers’ issues in a more efficient and effective manner. This creates a value-add for the customers, and in turn, gains their trust and loyalty in the long run.

Delivering an empathetic approach on a large scale: When you combine artificial empathy into your marketing materials, it’s like introducing a human component to what can otherwise feel like a very mass-targeted mechanical approach. It makes your brand more relevant and approachable – a key differentiator with your competitors.

Knowledge about what customers want, how they are choosing to interact, and what pain points they are experiencing is particularly essential in an era of economic uncertainty, heightened emotions and unpredictable call volume.

Brands now need to communicate with more relevance, personalisation, and in tune with customers’ needs, while incorporating context and suitability. It may be challenging to do so manually, but with AI technology, businesses can deliver an empathetic customer experience on a large scale in a fully automated manner.

To learn more about Moments and how it can benefit your business, kindly visit the website.

The writer is Kelvin Lim, head of marketing, Infobip APAC (main picture).