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CX Tech

Using Public Data to Augment AI

Phil Britt
July 16, 2020

3 minute read

Using public data to augment AI can significantly enhance a company’s CX efforts.

A brand can collect a great deal of information from a customer or prospect via his or her interactions through website navigation, emails, and calls to and from the contact center. Sales information and similar data are all available from a company’s ERP, CRM, and similar systems.

A Harvard Business Review article points out that most organizations fall short in their attempts to leverage AI for CX and for other uses because they fail to move beyond small pilots with the technology to deploy it across the enterprise and thereby realize full return on their technology investment.

The more data the better

To truly get the full return on the investment, organizations can’t rely simply on their own data. AI works better with more information. Roy Atkinson, analyst with ICMI and HDI, said in an interview with SmarterCX: “Most companies, outside of the very big ones, like Google and Amazon, don’t have a lot of their own data. You need more public data from things like the census, local population information, demographics, and other data.”

With that data, an organization can build better personas, enabling it to offer better personalized service to its customers and prospects, which is the basics of providing excellent CX, Atkinson said.

For example, a person might be ordering a type of wireless device for their home. Public data may show signal issues in the customer’s area. With that knowledge embedded in the company’s AI, the website or in-store personnel can recommend a different device, such as one that would better handle any signal issues, Atkinson said.

Sources of public data

There are several sources of public data. Just a few examples include:

  • The U.S. Census Bureau, with data related to population, the economy, and geography.
  • Data.gov, with data on variety of topics provided by federal, state, local, and tribal governments.
  • HealthData.gov, with data on medical devices and environmental health.
  • The World Factbook, published by the CIA, with information on the history, people and society, government, economy, energy, geography, communications, transportation, military, and transnational issues for 267 world entities.
  • The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, with details on unemployment, job openings, inflation, and productivity for the country as a whole as well as by various other categories.

In addition to these sources, there are several publicly available sources for industry, state, and local information that an organization can use to augment its own data to provide better CX.

For example, a company that makes freezers may have several product lines, including large commercial units as well as smaller units for use in small dwellings. Typically, marketing will promote the freezer with the highest margin, according to Atkinson. But if the company has U.S. Census data and AI, when a family from an area with many multi-family units (as shown by census data) searches on the company’s website, they will first see units designed for smaller dwellings, meaning they quickly find what they truly want, rather than wasting time with units that aren’t fits. Respecting a customer’s time is essential in providing excellent CX.

According to Gartner, in 2021, artificial intelligence augmentation will create $2.9 trillion of business value and 6.2 billion hours of worker productivity globally. With these number predictions in mind, companies that find the right public data and utilize it effectively to augment AI will likely see success in their CX efforts.

Interested in more? Check out the following:

Phil Britt
Phil Britt is a veteran journalist who covered various aspects of customer relations, marketing, technology and financial services for 40 years, with his work appearing in several national publications as well as on various websites. A Purdue University graduate, Phil enjoys following Chicago sports teams.
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