06/02/2023

AI optimises the consumer industry: The balance between technology and human intelligence

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Thomas Schwartz

Consultant, Denmark

ts@compasshrg.com

+45 20 63 25 14

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More and more consumer companies, both B2B and B2C, are starting to use artificial intelligence (AI) to optimise their business. This can be to streamline processes and save resources, but also to improve the customer experience and thus increase revenue.

At Compass Human Resources Group, we have been using AI in recruitment and executive search for many years; primarily through skills and intelligence testing, and we are devoting resources to qualifying the artificially generated outputs through our certifications and experience. This is both to ensure the best match for the company, but also to give the candidate a good experience in terms of personalised feedback on the test results.

Technologies are constantly evolving and the question is how much responsibility do we as business leaders want to leave to the artificial thinking machine? What human intelligence and competence will it take in the future to develop, demand and then validate and qualify the machine generated results?

Traditionally, good merchandising is about creating value for customers. Value at a level where customers are happy with the product, experience or service they have bought from us. So happy that they come back and buy more. And maybe even so happy that they recommend us to people they know.

AI in the consumer industry

AI is playing an increasingly important role in the consumer industry, allowing companies to better understand their customers and markets. By using AI to collect and analyse large amounts of data, companies can gain insights into customer preferences, trends and demographics. This can help make decisions about product development, marketing, pricing and distribution. It can also help identify and understand challenges and opportunities in the market, creating a competitive advantage.

More specifically, AI can help predict consumption patterns by analysing data on past consumption, demographic information and other relevant factors. This can help businesses predict when customers are most likely to buy again, which products or services they are most interested in, and how their buying behaviour might change over time. In this way, the company can better address its customers and their needs and achieve greater effectiveness in its promotional activities.

As competition increases and customers demand more, it has also become more expensive to trade successfully. That is why it is important for businesses to think in terms of optimisation, efficiency and cost-benefit, and this is where AI can play a crucial role. It can help automate routine tasks and increase efficiency and revenue. Collecting and using data has therefore become a necessity for many companies in the consumer industry to survive and grow in a competitive industry.

AI enhances efficiency and contributes to improvements in operations and performance

AI enhances efficiency and optimisation, but it is important to find a balance between using technology and retaining human skills. For example, AI can help automate routine tasks and analyse large amounts of data, but it is still important to have human resources who can make decisions and take responsibility based on this information.

“A chatbot, which many webshops use today, is a good example of a type of AI that can boost efficiency and optimise results in a business. Partly because customers often ask the same type of questions, which the chatbot’s algorithms and data can thus answer quickly and efficiently. This results in (mostly) happy and satisfied customers, but also largely because a chatbot can provide personalised recommendations during conversations if it has access to your customer data. At the same time, it also collects data in contact with customers, further strengthening the basis for qualitative responses. However, it is important to say that behind any automated chatbot setup there are humans who can take over if a given dialogue takes turns or poses questions that the bot is not geared to answer,” Thomas Schwartz, consultant at Compass Human Resources Group, says.

Another important factor to consider is the problems that can arise from leaving too much responsibility to AI. For example, the artificially generated information may be biased or lack understanding of complex situations, which can lead to wrong decisions. Therefore, it is important to have a framework and strategy to validate and qualify the artificially generated results. There must be human skills to set the artificial intelligence the right tasks to begin with, and to validate the work afterwards, before the work is sent out to “live”.

Finally, it is important to take responsibility for the consequences that may result from implementing AI in a company. This may lead to changes in work processes and, of course, organisational adaptations. Therefore, it is important to have a plan for how to deal with these consequences in a responsible way.

Digitalisation has become a fundamental element of companies’ business and future reason for existence. Digital know-how has thus become a priority.

Are digital skills keeping up with digital developments?

Does your company have the right skills?

Implementing artificial intelligence in a company requires specific skills to be able to perform the task in an efficient and responsible way. For example, it is important to have staff with knowledge of machine learning and data analytics who can ask the artificial intelligence the right questions and validate its work before it is implemented in the company. It is also important to have staff with an understanding of business processes and needs who can identify how AI can optimise and streamline these processes.

s implementing AI in a company often requires new skills, it may be necessary to hire external experts or upskill existing staff. There is a growing demand for specific skills such as Machine Learning Engineer, AI Engineer and Business Intelligence Engineer/Analyst in the consumer industry. These may be new positions that have not previously been part of the company or industry but have previously only been part of IT companies.

Can your company meet the challenges of the future?

At Compass HRG, we have seen an increase in demand for roles related to data and artificial intelligence over the past 12 months. These may be new positions that were not previously part of the company or industry but are now in higher demand.

Based on our experience and expertise in recruitment, we have been able to provide sparring and advice to companies looking for the right skills to solve their AI challenges. This has included helping companies identify their skills needs, find the right candidates and advise them on the recruitment process.

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