October 14, 2022

How to monetize your data with artificial intelligence (AI) & analytics

What does it mean to monetize your data?  Does this mean to sell it to another company?  Although that could be one way, there is much more value in your data.  You can monetize by finding new customers or improving your relationship with your existing customers.  You can also monetize by reducing costs.  The value of this data can be immense.  Even if you recognize your data’s value, it can be difficult to maximize results from it.  To get the most out of your data, you cannot just treat it like a tech component of your larger strategy.  You have to put your data in the driver seat!

Upselling your data

Upselling is not just a way to sell more products to existing customers, it is a great way to sell more relevant products.  If you use data analytics to drive an artificial intelligence (AI) solution, you can suggest products that are complementary to your customer’s purchases and bring value to them.  This can increase customer satisfaction and aid in customer retention.  Plus you have likely sold more products than your customer originally thought they were going to order.  A data-driven approach to sales can increase your customer’s feeling of services provided to them.

A great example of upselling your data is the recommended products section of a retail website.  You have likely seen this on sites like Amazon or Netflix.  Another example is an airline who prompts a passenger that booked a coach class seat to upgrade to a first-class seat as a part of the airline check-in process.  Does your company sell various levels of its products?  If so, make sure you communicate to purchasers of the lower-level products the benefits they would reap if they upgraded to the next level.  Or perhaps you have a free online version of a product.  Consider adding the ability to unlock more features by paying a fee.

The technique of encouraging your customer to add related or complementary products is actually called cross-selling.  I am sure you have encountered this at your favorite coffee bar or even a fast-food drive-thru.  Would you like to add a bakery item to that order?  Can I interest you in a dessert today?  The last time I purchased a phone, Verizon prompted me to ask whether I needed a protective case, a screen shield, and a warranty.

When to upsell

Most of us are familiar with pre-sale upselling, but keep in mind that there are opportunities to upsell at every stage of your customer’s lifecycle.  You can upsell prior to the initial sale, you can upsell at checkout, and you can upsell after they purchase.  Pre-sale upselling is best done with comparison or product pages that list other options.  Your checkout page can inform the customer about options such as volume discounts, personalization options, or enhanced protection.  After purchase you can offer premium support or a warranty.

It is best to follow some upsell best practices.

  • Don’t get greedy – avoid recommending a product or service that is significantly more expensive so that you keep your customer feeling satisfied.
  • Focus on the customer’s needs – remember this is about building a long-term relationship so don’t be pushy or aggressive.
  • Educate your customer – let them make the best choice for themselves by educating them on their options.
  • Create urgency – there are times when offering a discount might encourage the customer to make a decision today.  Only you can decide whether the reduction in profit is worth the more immediate sale.

Improving your customer’s experience

High quality AI through the use of Chatbots can assist in providing great customer support.  If designed properly, chatbots can answer the most common questions without needing the assistance of a live support agent.  This can reduce wait time for the customer who does need live support, as well as decrease costs for the company.  It can also give the impression that your customer service is available to answer many questions even during non-business hours.

Microsoft Azure has a cost effective, easy to use, way to build AI bots through Azure Bot Service.  It provides an integrated development environment with Power Virtual Agents in a fully hosted low-code platform.  You can configure chatbots to engage with customers and employees in a wide range of languages and channels including websites, mobile apps, Facebook, and Microsoft Teams.  If you prefer assistance or guidance, Barnes Business Solutions can help.  Contact us at mbarnes@BarnesBusinessSolutions.com.

To take a look at some of the power of using Microsoft Power Virtual Agents view this click through demo.  Notice how you can easily import items from your website’s current FAQ page to use in the BOT.  You can also integrate the BOT via a Power Automate flow to bring in data from a line of business application.  There are question nodes that can handle both text and speech responses. The bot setup interface makes use of Excel like formulas (called Power FX) to return responses back to the customer.  The BOT can be tested within the development interface and then Published to the channel.

Optimizing Time for Sales Reps

Having an AI-based data-driven business model can benefit your salespeople.  They can easily get facts and figures about your products as well as insights into competitor’s products.  This can arm them with the data they need to be able to make fact-based decisions and decide how to optimize their time by knowing who and when to call on.  The net result for your business will be an increase in sales and decrease in sales cost.

Streamlining your supply chain and logistics processes

You likely realize that managing your supply chain can be a significant undertaking.  What may be a small hiccup can cause cascading effects on the entire process.  Likewise reducing lead times and procurement cycles even a small amount can have immense benefits.   Data can provide you with this edge.  If you use AI and data analytics to look for improvements, you can positively impact the way you conduct business.  You can also be alerted to possible disruptions and even potentially help identify fraud cases.

When deciding how to make the best use of your data, think about how you can provide value to your customers, employees, and the company bottom line!