In the tech world, there is what they call artificial intelligence (AI). This is simply the ability of a computer program or machine to think and learn.
Most of you may understand the concept of AI but for the benefit of the few who don’t, I will dedicate the next three paragraphs in talking about it, using the smart phone to explain it. For those who understand this concept already and don’t want to be bored with it, just skip the next three paragraphs to the main issue I am addressing here.
From the simple definition of artificial intelligence above, computer programs and computerized machines learn many things but for the purpose of this write up, we will only talk about computer programs learning human preferences as they interact with the said computer program or device.
Let’s look at the smart phone because we all use it. It’s old news that smart phones can suggest words when you are typing. If it is a new phone, any word that you type that is not in the phone’s preferred language dictionary will be auto corrected to a word that is similar and available in the phone’s dictionary. That is the phone assuming that you made a mistake but if go back to the corrected word and write it the way you wrote it before, next time you write the same word, it will not be auto corrected again. The machine will learn that word because the user uses that word.
It doesn’t stop there, you notice that your device sometimes suggests words for you after you type in certain words. Look at this, if you like to tell your friends “leave me mbok” when you chat with them, you will notice that once you start to type “leave me…” your device will suggest “mbok” for you. The device learns your writing pattern and suggests words for you based on your writing behavior. That is an example of AI. Today AI is applied to gadgets, machines, internet platforms, apps, etc and it is used to enhance user’s experience on the device, platform or app or whatever it is being used for.
In business, it’s not just enough to have good customer service. I mean everybody understands customer service now and most businesses are putting much effort into it but we could go further by observing and learning customer preferences and delivering services and sales based on their preferences. Preference here means observed customer behavior.
Check this out, at a restaurant, some eat much others eat little; some need plenty soup for their swallow others don’t; some don’t eat dried fish and stock fish while others savor all these. Now, the manager of the restaurant in collaboration with other workers there could to observe each customer as they come in. From the observations you could for example deduce that the bald guy that comes to eat every evening always order extra swallow, manage soup, does not eat stock fish and kpomo. You may notice another guy who eats little swallow but always ask for extra soup and eats everything in the soup.
With this knowledge from your observations, you could minimize soup for the first guy, give him more swallow so that he doesn’t have to ask for extra and minimize the stock fish you put for him and for the second guy, you could give him more soup, less swallow and more stock fish and kpomo. That way, you don’t lose anything but you gain more by enhancing customer experience. The bald guy gets to eat to his satisfaction without paying extra money, the other guy feels good about how “rich” your soup is. Everyone goes home pleased and satisfied. We all know what happens when a customer is pleased with our service delivery.
This concept can be applied to any business, the idea is to just observe your customers, identify their behavior (preferences) and then deliver your service to him or her based on their preferences with the goal to enhance his or her experience with your service.