Sprint Personalizes Experience to Millions with AI
by Drew Burns
posted on 03-25-2019
The telecommunications industry is fiercely competitive—so much so, that the quality of the customer experience is now equally as important as the product itself. In recent years, the audience base has dramatically shifted online and a large portion of initial research, inquiries and final purchase now happens on a digital channel. It’s a world in which brands are no longer competing with their traditional peer set but are up against the best-in-breed online experience that consumers are accustomed to. As a baseline, every engagement is expected to be intuitive, consistent and personalized to specific needs.
Every brand is now looking for ways deliver on consumer expectations and lead in the category of Customer Experience Management (CXM). Sprint is a great example of a company who adopted cutting edge technology early on and has used it to full capacity to stay ahead of the curve. As an Adobe Experience Cloud customer, they embraced a full suite of content, data and personalization tools—all backed with AI and machine learning capabilities—to not only deliver a great customer experience but also scale it consistently to millions of different people.
A small but mighty team
Personalization is held in high regard at Sprint. They understand that when customers have to make fairly complicated decisions in piecing together devices, plans, services and accessories, the ability to win or retain a customer is decided in the milliseconds. Sprint has to ensure that the right content is served to the right person, at the right time. The team tasked with orchestrating personalization knew that they could never hire enough people to run all the testing and monitoring required to give each user a customized experience with the brand. They understood the best solution was to adopt the latest AI and machine learning tools and leverage it to automate incredibly cumbersome processes.
The outcome so far has been a well-orchestrated symphony. Beginning with a data set that captures all available signals and builds a picture of each individual customer, the Sprint team allows machine learning to determine which piece of content gets served—all done with the optimal timing and device platform in mind. Sprint recently ran a campaign focused on a device upgrade promotion, which was personalized based on the customer’s stage of engagement with the brand. Using Adobe Target (personalization tool) and Adobe Sensei (AI/ML platform) to build and execute a prediction model, the team saw a 43 percent lift in conversion.
The Hive mind
When brands embark on investments in new technology, one of the often-overlooked hurdles is around organizational structure. Sprint has championed an approach dubbed internally as “the Hive” which brings together innovators from across the organization to help the company operate better, faster and more collaboratively. Part of this is a close alignment with the implementation team; when personalization involving AI has a complex setup, having the implementation team build the proper architecture for tools to work properly and in harmony is crucial. It not only enables ongoing experimentation but allows campaigns to be rolled out quickly to millions of users, while driving faster time-to-value with technology investments. As Rob Roy, Sprint’s Chief Digital Officer puts it: “The CIO plants the flowers so that my team can run through them.”
According to Wendy Wen, Sprint’s personalization lead, “The partnership we have with the implementation team is a long-term investment and a highly effective one. We have a designated and talented marketing technology team within our organization, that not only builds architecture for us but acts as a liaison between digital marketing and IT organizations. They are a bridge between the two worlds and helps us align priorities and timelines. Our close relationship with the implementation team been one of the main reasons we are able to fully leverage the entire Adobe Experience Cloud stack and very quickly see value from the solutions. This is sort of a secret sauce that has helped our personalization engine shine.”
The evolving shopper
For any retailer, there is very little separation now between the online and offline experience. Customers will shop in a way that makes sense for them, whether it is buying via a mobile channel, or ordering online with the expectation to pick-up in-store. With so many touch points, it makes the task of creating consistent and relevant experiences ever more challenging. Luckily, rapid advancements in AI and machine learning are now providing a necessary helping hand. Brands like Sprint who have adopted these technologies are a prime example of the outsized benefits it can provide.
Topics: Digital Transformation, Adobe Summit, News, Customer Stories