AI: A Hidden Key to Brand Trust and Loyalty

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A new consumer survey shows that many people don’t understand the power of artificial intelligence—but they love the results.

By Bryan Kirschner, Vice President, Strategy at DataStax

Artificial intelligence is something developers are excited to work on. So much so that many enterprises give their AI systems names to better tout their innovations and aspirations to the world (Halo at Priceline or  Michelangelo at Uber, for example).

But, as the saying goes, when it comes to the typical consumer, people don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill; they want a quarter-inch hole. What users really care about is how well your app, website, or customer service process satisfies their goals. They generally don’t care a whole lot about the “how” under the hood.

A new survey, conducted by Wakefield Research on behalf of DataStax, hammers this home. Based on responses from 1,000 U.S. adults, Wakefield found that a majority don’t realize how often they interact with AI in products, services, and experiences.

Take fraud detection. Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of respondents don’t identify fraud alerts from banks or credit card companies as being powered by AI. This is, in fact, a measure of how AI consistently gets its job done so well for the consumer that it fades into the background.

How does AI make your customers feel about your organization?

Imagine a world where customers are surprised that it was even possible to detect potential fraud in real time. Imagine them feeling relief every time a legitimate credit card swipe was approved or resigned to the fact that–yet again this month–there were unauthorized charges on their bill.

AI would be front page news for all the wrong reasons, with stories about the ins and outs of balky systems that are sources of constant frustration–as well as why financial institutions were subjecting customers to such constant aggravation.

This reveals one key question you can ask to accelerate your AI strategy: how will it make your customers feel? And let’s be clear: if you are doing it right, the feelings won’t be about your AI, it will be about your organization.

In the case of fraud detection, it’s a latent confidence you’d have to poke at to bring to the surface (although it would be an obvious and utter disaster in the case of a breach). But consider these sentiments:

You knew just what I was in the mood to watch.

You really saved my bacon with the alternative product recommendation I could get the same day.

You recommended the perfect gift.

Most consumers (64%) don’t give AI the credit  for a song or movie recommendation from a streaming service. But they love the results. Eighty-seven percent find relevant recommendations “highly valuable.”

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Wakefield Research/DataStax

And 60% of shoppers take advantage of relevant recommendations they come across while browsing or shopping online, including 54% of millennials, who call these “a great benefit.” Nearly 3 in 4 (72%) trust a company more when they receive relevant recommendations (including 83% of millennials). And nearly 1 in 5 (21 percent) are “extremely likely to return” after receiving good recommendations (46% of millennials say as much).

Make AI a superpower for your organization

Real-time AI has crossed two critical thresholds. First, best-of-breed tools for delivering top-quality experiences are open source and available as-a-service, on demand, to anyone. But just as important: it has become a powerful determinant of satisfaction and loyalty among consumers.

Thus, turning the tools into a competitive edge requires a vision for how you align what technology can do with the qualitative and emotional brand relationship only you can build with your customers.

Is it “you expand my horizons” or “you never let me down”? Is it “I always get more for less” or “I’m never, ever late”? (Lyft smartly flips the script on this apparent dichotomy by offering a continuum of options from “Wait and Save” to “Priority Pickup.”)

Brands are built by consistently delivering on a promise to customers. Modern AI has the power to pound away at this goal by doing so millions (or billions) of times, as often as every second of every day–while getting better throughout the process. Connecting those dots is how you can make it a superpower for your organization–even though consumers might not give AI the credit for the results.

Learn more about real-time AI here.

About Bryan Kirschner

Bryan is Vice President, Strategy at DataStax. For more than 20 years he has helped large organizations build and execute strategy when they are seeking new ways forward and a future materially different from their past. He specializes in removing fear, uncertainty, and doubt from strategic decision-making through empirical data and market sensing.


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