Human Touch: How Brands Should Address AI Within Customer Experience (New Report)

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The title of Merkle’s recent study is “Engagement to Empowerment,” but my biggest takeaway was its insights on the consumers’ worriment and the ensuing adjustments brands and companies need to make.

For starters, 58% of customers told Merkle they’re concerned whether their data, privacy, and identity are being protected with brands’ use of AI, with 57% concerned about the harm from that technology being hacked or hijacked.

“As brands rush headlong into this new, automated future, security and surveillance are consumers’ top concerns,” the study says. “For all the value AI promises to unlock, it would be shortsighted to brush aside these significant (and valid) concerns.”

(Source: Merkle)

Merkle says brands should provide “reassurance and transparency around how AI is used, within a technical and ethical framework.” That obviously will help address those specific concerns, but also gesture toward more human interaction, as Merkle found that brands “overestimate consumers’ preference for digital experiences at every stage of the journey.”

The six critical imperatives for brand marketing professionals focused on the customer experience, as found in Merkle’s research, were:

  • “Understand CX fundamentals from the customer’s point of view”
  • “Use customer data for the customer’s benefit”
  • “Use ethical AI to create convenience and build trust”
  • “Meet the customer’s need for real live human interaction”
  • “Focus on the post-purchase experience”
  • “Access emerging technologies to empower customers in new ways”


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