Most of us interact with A.I. on a daily basis, though we may not realize it. 

It's feeding us Google search results that are relevant to us. It's giving us product suggestions at our favorite retailers. It's helping our health care providers give us the information we need to stay healthy after an illness, or, right now, when there's heightened Covid-19 transmission in your area. 

In short, it's improving the customer experience in a vast number of ways, and customers are getting used to the increased convenience and higher overall standards for brand interactions. 

The statistics prove this out: According to research by Salesforce, 70 percent of customers say connected processes, like seamless handoffs or contextualized engagement based on earlier interactions, are very important to winning their business. In addition, 59 percent of customers say tailored engagement based on past interactions is very important to winning their business.

If you're not thinking about how A.I. will fit into your business model in the next few years, it's time to start. Here's why. 

Customers are demanding the convenience that A.I. can offer. 

A.I. is streamlining the way brands interact with customers, helping them anticipate their customers' needs and give them exactly what they want--almost before the customer even knows themself. 

Take the real-life example of a health insurance company that uses a call center to take hundreds, if not thousands, of both consumer and health care provider calls every week.

That insurance company invested in a service experience A.I. solution that was designed to predict caller intent at a granular level, on the basis of things like recent claims or bills. "As a member calls in, the system empowers the agent by predicting which claim or bill the customer is likely calling about," says Jeffrey Eyestone of CognitiveScale, the company behind this particular A.I. solution. "It also provides simple explanations the agent can relay to the customer explaining why the claim was processed the way it was, accelerating call resolution."

The results were significant: The health insurer estimated a 13 percent reduction in average call handling time, with an annual cost savings of $10 million.  

A.I.'s data unification can provide real-time, trusted insights.

More than ever before, data is key to providing customers with what they need and want. 

From what a customer ordered two years ago, to how they're investing their money, there's more unstructured data available to brands than ever before. 

The problem has always been what to do with it. How do you synthesize it? How do you garner trustworthy, ethical, and transparent insights from it? 

Sophisticated A.I. solutions provide the answer. One forward-thinking Italian bank, as cited in a recent report on A.I. and customer experience by the IBM Institute for Business Value, realized it had mountains of unstructured data that was being stored across multiple platforms, in multiple places. 

By implementing a customer analysis A.I. to "identify, capture, and index unstructured data along with online shopping habits and personal financial arrangements," the organization was able to create detailed personal profiles for each customer. These profiles were then used to create highly personalized marketing campaigns for each customer segment. 

The result? A 10 percent increase in marketing campaign conversion rates. 

A.I. is becoming an increasingly important element of the customer experience, across brands and across industries. As 2021 continues, I believe we'll see more and more companies adopt A.I. solutions to streamline the customer journey.