The advance of Machine Learning (ML) has led to a strong interest in this technology to support decision making. While complex ML models provide predictions that are often more accurate than those of traditional tools, such models often hide the reasoning behind the prediction from their users, which can lead to lower adoption and lack of insight. Motivated by this tension, research has put forth Explainable Artificial Intelligence (XAI) techniques that uncover patterns discovered by ML. Despite the high hopes in both ML and XAI, there is little empirical evidence of the benefits to traditional businesses. To this end, we analyze data on 220,185 customers of an energy retailer, predict cross-purchases with up to 86% correctness (AUC), and show that the XAI method SHAP provides explanations that hold for actual buyers. We further outline implications for research in information systems, XAI, and relationship marketing.
Haag, Felix; Hopf, Konstantin; Menelau Vasconcelos, Pedro; and Staake, Thorsten, "Augmented Cross-Selling Through Explainable AI—A Case From Energy Retailing" (2022). ECIS 2022 Research Papers. 129.
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