Trend Watch: Will Artificial Intelligence Be Adopted by the Funeral Industry?
Posted May 4, 2016
4 min read
Artifcial Intelligence (AI) is one of the most commonly used examples of the power of innovation to improve lives. In a world already filled with algorithms and machine learning, AI is the overarching term for technical and specialized processes of advanced machine or computer learning.
The effective use of AI can help direct consumers further down the path to purchase. In other cases, it can help deal with common consumer questions or concerns.
One example of this is Pypestream, a startup focused on connecting businesses with customers in real-time. The new application puts AI to use to create a platform in which businesses can automate customer service, yet still give consumers accurate responses, via text messages, to their questions.
And even Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, has confidence in the machine learning technology that’s behind the Messenger platform that Facebook is launching. The platform will use AI to rely on bots to give live responses to customers. “…The biggest thing that we’re focused on with artificial intelligence is building computer services that have better perception than people,” said Zuckerberg on a call with investors (1).
He believes that bots will be used for customer service and for personal assistant tasks in the near future. “We can build artificial intelligence that can learn from people how to automate a lot of that and make that experience a lot faster for people who want to interact with businesses…” he said, as reported by The Verge.
Is This the Funeral Service Experience of the Future?
AI offers so much potential because it provides a greater ability to deal with data, and it can help deal with the routing (or directing) of information coming from consumers. It also provides the ability to use data to improve a consumer’s experience. The technology is still being perfected, but it’s only a matter of time.
AI could improve the ability to:
- Manage incoming calls and ongoing inquiries
- Draw deep insights from family feedback
- Model or predict more about what consumers may want
- Better recognize how to be better equipped to serve families (staff, services, etc.)
Instead of calling, consumers may use AI for questions or customer service. If done right, it would be like consumers were having an actual conversation with your firm, and no more of your time would be required during the interaction.
Consider some of the many challenges funeral directors have today:
- Managing ongoing requests and interactions with families and in a way that they want to interact
- Gathering timely feedback from families — including the challenge of what to do with the information once it’s collected
- Offering more personalized experiences to families that are becoming more diverse
These challenges also create an opportunity. With the help of robust algorithms that have the ability to gather and analyze data, funeral directors could spend more time focusing on the real problems they are facing. Software already solves many of these pain points listed, but AI could provide the ability to become more personalized in anticipating families’ needs and wants, while helping firms become more operationally efficient.
Becoming More Intelligent
When applied appropriately, AI can help entire industries become more intelligent and process data and information in a more efficient way. For the funeral profession, the question is: will these be new channels to communicate with families in the future?
When a consumer can simply ask a question and get an immediate response, it fulfills the need for instant gratification and it promotes transparency. Only 20 years ago, most didn’t think consumers would use the web to shop or interact with customer support reps. However, in 2015, Cyber Monday sales were greater than $3 billion, higher than forecasters predicted, according to CNBC.com. While ecommerce Cyber Monday sales grew 12 percent, brick and mortar sales dropped 1.5 percent. The trend is expected to continue.
Do you think AI will see similar growth in the future and become the new norm?
How Forward-Looking is Your Firm?
Staying abreast of emerging trends is an important part of running a successful business that can evolve as needed. Drawing insights on emerging trends, such as those included in CRäKN’s latest Consumer Tech Trends Report, can influence how to train staff, how to hire, and where you’ll invest resources in growing your firm. Download the free Consumer Tech Trends Report today to get more knowledge about the top 5 consumer trends to discover how they’re shaping the future of funeral service.
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