London-based Abaka, which improves financial wellbeing by offering affordable financial advice powered by artificial intelligence (AI), notes that companies across different categories and markets aim to deliver the appropriate messages to their target clients, at the best time, using the most engaging channels.
Traditional approaches to this, focus mainly on the starting point of a product and creating special offers and related actions, and targeting these to a particular audience. This focus may be understood when it’s viewed as part of the ‘four P’s’ (Product, Promotion, Place, and Price) which has been a key focus area of customer interactions.
The introduction of Emtech such as AI, Big Data, and machine learning is beginning to streamline the traditional customer journey and marketing processes. The analysis of large amounts of behavioral and demographic data is providing firms or businesses with a much better understanding of their existing and future (potential) clients. As noted by Abaka, new marketing and communication tools are “evolving” from this and “challenging traditional techniques with Next Best Action coming to the forefront.”
As explained by Abaka:
“Next Best Action (NBA) is where a customer’s recent actions, behaviors, interests, lifestyles and needs can be determined and aggregated more easily. It reverses the more traditional marketing equation and places the customer at the center of everything. Targeting and personalizing actions and the subsequent customer journey to meet [their] needs … [at] that moment. Next Best Action can now provide an opportunity to target customers more precisely with mutually beneficial outcomes for the customer and provider.”
As mentioned in a blog post by Abaka, a simple analogy of this approach would be a concierge at a hotel instead of using a hotel handbook. A concierge is able to personalize the customer’s hotel experience by better understanding what a particular guest does as compared to what other “similar” guests may have done in the past and then assisting them with making better decisions. Whereas a hotel handbook may contain a lot of information but offer no personalization or context that’s required to provide the best services to a customer.
Abaka further noted:
“As data touch points give a more detailed picture of customers, and developing technologies provide a more efficient way of data analysis, so Next Best Action will become a more crucial part of engaging with customers. [This,] as customers demand that their needs, interests, and priorities are understood and are responded to individually rather than as part of a demographic group or defined segment. Next Best Action enables organizations and their brands to focus their communications and build highly personalized experiences unique in the mindset of individual customers.”
“By applying a Next Best Action approach, organizations put the enormous amounts of data they have about each customer to use by creating unique customer journey pathways. [This] improves customer value, brand recognition and driving loyalty and brand advocacy. Tailoring these journeys alongside persona classification and behavior traits means companies can leverage Next Best Action to better forecast and predict leads, conversions, and kpis such as cost-per-acquisition. By more accurately identifying the prospects most likely to convert, companies can optimize their marketing budgets and other resources.”
Within the insurance industry, firms are able to use the appropriate technologies to extract, integrate and analyze a large volume and variety of data in both structured and unstructured formats, Abaka explains. This data may include call-center notes, voice recordings, web chats, and social media.
As noted by Abaka, analyzing customer actions or tracking key life events allow firms to provide new (and arguably better) types of policies or new levels of coverage that match a client’s current or future requirements. This allows insurance service providers to create more personalized, customer-centric interactions that are uniquely designed for each person. This enables clients to move quickly from “awareness” to “action,” with “the most appropriate policy” for their requirements, Abaka noted.
Abaka’s management added:
“At Abaka, we work with leading financial clients and insurance companies [by] creating and supporting their Next Best Action strategies. Using our proprietary AI and machine learning tools we aggregate data and then augment customer data with this to provide Next Best Action recommendations. We support clients through the ABAKA platform to hyper personalize their customer journeys, improve engagement and ultimately improve sales efficiency. As experts in Next Best Action strategies, we help companies place the customer at the center of their communications strategy for the benefit of both parties.”