AI Is Coming Soon. Let’s Start To Get Ready Now.

Original Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

“This is a race. It’s a race to be relevant. The big difference between today and yesterday is speed. You need to be much faster on the execution.”  Arthur Sadoun, CEO of Publicis told the Financial Times in June 2017.

Many luxury showrooms take the time to inspect each received product.  Each piece is carefully removed from its shipping container and painstakingly inspected then returned to its box to wait for the customer to arrive.   Such attention to detail separates your showroom from the competition and makes your clients so very happy. 

Do you take the same care when you collect your customer data?  Do you check the information to make sure it is correct and siloed in the correct slot in your computer program?  Do you enter notes on each visit, carefully recording the points discussed and any information that might help you and your team better know each customer’s unique style and needs?  

Please, if you are thinking it takes too much time, think again.  If you have time to meticulously inspect each order to delight your good customers, why not work to get to know those same customers so well that you will exceed their expectations.  Your data is a prime foundation of your business and, as the world slowly adopts Artificial Intelligence, good data will become your key to delivering great customer service.

Vendors, your data is also key to the growth of your market reach.  You, too, take the time to design and handcraft each beautiful product.  Then your team inspects every item and carefully packages them so all arrive in perfect shape.  Yet, your data systems are not in line with today’s customer’s demands. Delivery changes, before and during the manufacturing process, are hidden from view.  When a product misses its acknowledged delivery date no one knows until the date passes and the reactive “I am sorry call”. This upsets good customers and damages both your brand and the showroom’s.  When vendors leverage their good data proactively they will make life less painful for all involved.

Put simply, today’s available Artificial Intelligence (AI) is not HAL-like but an overlay on Machine Learning (ML).  ML churns the data and makes it available in a form so that when you ask your AI a question it returns your answer correctly at lightning speeds.  Your questions can cover all facets of your business and help you effectively peek into the future. However, to accomplish this your data must be clean, consistent and well-integrated. Remember the phrase, “garbage in and garbage out”?  That has not changed.  

Even the mighty Microsoft had issues getting applicable answers from it AI.  Its retail division crafted a complete AI sales support system and when they rolled it out, the AI notes and suggestions were worthless.  They revisited the data and the AI questions they were asking and hit reset. Now, sales are increasing. Salespeople are easily able to access customer, product and order information.  With AI, a customer’s entire purchasing history and delivery time for each order take just seconds to view, now that the data is clean, consistent and well-integrated.

This journey starts with your teams.  Careful collection of quality, comprehensive data must become part of your company’s culture.  If you can enlighten them on how it will save them time and strengthen their customer relationships and show them how it will allow them more time to do what they do best!

I believe that AI will be a part of successful showrooms in the next five years and foundational in no more than 7.

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