Using AI & Machine Learning to make your work more efficient
04 December 2019
It’s easy to dismiss artificial intelligence and machine learning as just buzzwords, or technology that belongs in the distant future.
But that’s not the case. Here at The Red Fox Group we’re utilising advanced machine learning and artificial intelligence techniques to drive efficiencies for our customers, even in places where you might least expect it.
We’ve recently deployed a new version of the business card scanner in SwiftFox CRM which now utilises some very exciting cutting-edge features.
Optical Character Recognition is a technology that has been around for decades. Computers have long been able to read text and convert it to digitised information. We’ve taken that to a new level by partnering with Microsoft to utilise their Computer Vision cognitive service.
Computer Vision is OCR technology on steroids. It’s enhanced with machine learning models so SwiftFox can now make intelligent assumptions about the nature of objects and characters rather than just trying to map it using simple pattern recognition.
This gives it huge advantages. It can handle blurred text, extravagant fonts, and text at arbitrary angles – even upside down. It's much more accurate because of that. If you’re scanning a business card in real time at a cocktail function, or in the Uber on the way home, this will radically improve the accuracy of text recognition.
But that’s just the start.
Once we have captured the text out of an image of a business card we’re able to use machine learning text analysis to figure out how the data is structured and how it relates to our data models for people and organisations.
We get both Microsoft and Google’s cloud AI services (Microsoft Text Analytics and Google Cloud Natural Language) to analyse the grouped text structures and pass back which data fields each piece of text should map to, and how confident the artificial intelligence is of its finding.
SwiftFox then analyses the results of the two-machine learning models and uses the data that is most accurate to pre-populate data fields.
A very common problem with traditional business card scanning technology is that it has made a lot of assumptions about the text layout – eg most business cards have the person’s title directly after their name. But what if the business name comes after the person’s name? Or their job title comes first? We’re using machine learning to bypass assumptions and are getting far more accurate data back on what information is captured in each piece of text.
This means that when you’re loading a new contact through the business scanner, the chances are really good that we’ve correctly identified which parts of the business card go into the right part of the database. No more accidentally creating new organisations called ‘Managing Director’!
Hopefully this gives you a better idea of how we’re using advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning to make even simple tasks more efficient.
What Disney+ means for your business or organisation
27 November 2019
Why do you care about Walt Disney entering the subscription video on-demand streaming business with their new product Disney+?
Last week Disney+ launched around the world to massive fanfare. Despite some initial technical issues, their competitive prices and excellent catalogue have attracted huge interest. The Star Wars spin-off The Mandalorian alone has proven a massive draw card.
In the week following the Disney+ launch, Netflix app downloads grow 4% year-over-year. It’s early days but it seems there is still a lot of appetite out there for streaming content.
But what happens when consumers hit the wall? What happens when they check their bank balance and start to feel the hit from signing up to more and more subscription services?
Not only do they have to worry about multiple video on-demand services. Here in Australia it’s not unimaginable for someone to subscribe to Netflix, Stan, Disney+ and Kayo Sports. But you’ve now got more and more software moving to a software-as-a-service model (Office 365, Google Plus), common household products (Dollar Shave Club for razor blades, Three Thousand Thieves for coffee), even grocery shopping is moving towards subscription services.
In February 2018 McKinsey & Company found that subscription-based e-commerce had grown by more than 100% a year over the past five years. Surely that is only increasing.
There is a real risk of increased churn and decreasing customer loyalty as more and more purchases are made through subscription services. As the monthly subscription bill rises, consumers are likely to be more ruthless with cutting services that don’t meet their needs.
How is your organisation staying at the top of the subscription ladder?
Smart organisations are increasingly investing in retention or customer loyalty models – a predictive statistical model that takes your data points as inputs and gives every single one of your customers a score that indicates how likely they are to go elsewhere. You can even make a predictive model more powerful by integrating free and commercial external data sources.
Are you harnessing the power of the data you already have about your subscribers and customers? In an increasingly competitive subscription-based market, you can’t afford to not invest in using data to retain your customers.
The power of data for membership organisations
20 November 2019
Membership based organisations have unique business requirements. Not only do they have to invest in recruiting new members, but there must be some level of investment in retention.
Having a system to keep track of information is essential. Every membership organisation will have some sort of ledger to record who belongs to their organisation, be it a simple spreadsheet or full-blown customer relationship system (CRM).
The power of modern technology is providing more and more opportunities for organisations to step up their offering to members, reduce churn rates and increase revenue.
Some of the advantages are simple, even obvious.
Integrating web technologies like a web-based sign up form or app directly to a CRM eliminates double handling of data and saves valuable time. But these integrations can go even deeper.
How many of your members have visited the “cancel membership” page but not yet taken the final step? And how are you targeting these individuals to retain their membership?
Have you thought about integrating external datasets with your membership database? There is plenty of free and commercially available data that can enhance your understanding of what drives your members.
And from there, properly trained data scientists can take a holistic look at your members and build comprehensive retention and acquisition models. Forget untargeted offers that end up wasting your limited marketing budget on customers who were already going to sign up or had no chance of leaving. Target your spend to those you need to acquire as members, or those who are most at risk of leaving.
Does your business or organisation rely on members or subscribers? If so, how are you harnessing the data that is right in front of you for the best returns.