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Thanks to its powerful simplicity, customers may soon spend more time engaged with a company’s AI than talking to their people. That comes with a challenge: each interaction means another customer will be basing their opinion and interest in a company on the AI, just as they now judge by their experiences with human employees. In the same way that a customer can be delighted or angered based on a customer service representative, an AI system will represent a company’s brand and can leave a lasting impression.

Instead of interacting with one person at a time like a human representative, an AI system can interact with an infinite number of people at once, based on the skills built for it. Not only can AI create and maintain a powerful, 100% consistent brand experience through every interaction, but it can also use learning capabilities to tailor that experience to each individual, and rapidly evolve the experience to react to any new product or strategy the enterprise wants to implement. This is a level of control that businesses have never had over their brands – with a new dimension of flexibility as well.

While some companies see these new relationships as simply an evolution to existing value chains, tech-savvy leaders realize that these decisions portend a much deeper strategic shift: to new multidimensional ecosystems that are redefining industries. And, critically, each time an enterprise leverages a third-party platform to support aspects of their business, they are, in fact, choosing the alliance partners they will count on when building their next generation of services. To remain competitive in the long run, every business must begin moving their thinking beyond the short-term gains that digital platforms provide. They must embrace a more holistic strategy that balances tactical IT decision-making with fostering and investing in the digital ecosystems that will encompass their long-term growth. In doing so, businesses will lay groundwork for building their future digital value chains – and better position themselves at the heart of the emerging digital markets that will determine tomorrow’s leaders and laggards in every industry.

These platforms give companies rapid access to pools of customers and, in the process, can drive more sales, improve customer service, or create a better customer experience. But in doing so, they also transform businesses’ value chains in a way that challenges traditional thinking. In leveraging these entry points, businesses are no longer driving customers to many of the traditional touchpoints used to build strong relationships, like their own apps, website, and even retail locations. Rather than fighting this change, forward-thinking companies are taking steps to strengthen their future roles within this context – like making APIs a key part of growing their brand.

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