If you’ve ever checked on the status of a flower delivery, chances are you’ve interacted with one of May Ng’s many creations. As the Director of Customer Experience for 1-800-Flowers.com, May helps develop the functionality that addresses customer needs including customer self-service, identity management, online chat, reviews and the site’s overall user experience.
May began her digital career in the late 90s, working at digital agencies and startups because of her passion for tech. She envisions AI supporting a wide variety of customer experiences for most retail companies, especially direct-to-consumer brands.
AI can be used to automate orders, status requests, support order modifications, improve sales recommendations and optimize agent interactions, she says. Long-term, AI can also be used to offer a unified experience across all channels.
Prior to her role at 1-800-Flowers.com, May worked at Starwood Hotels, where she developed several global platforms that supported content for 1,000-plus hotels in more than 40 languages. Earlier in her career she led the International Interactive team at the National Basketball Association (NBA). She helped transform the NBA’s 10 foreign websites into revenue-generating global fan destinations, by focusing on analytics, data and content.
Working at the NBA was an experience that she describes as transformative for learning to excel as a woman in a male-dominated industry. Her experience working for the female SVP who ran the NBA’s digital department provided her with the perfect illustration of what it takes to be a leader.
“Her example of strength and intelligence showed me that women can be respected leaders in male-dominated industries,” she says. “It taught me that anything can be achieved with a strong work ethic and thick skin.”
May believes more women could be brought into, and supported within, STEM industries through initiatives like internships and mentoring, as well as female-led corporate “lunch and learn” events.
“Recognizing women in STEM with initiatives such as Women in AI provides young women with female role models, so I’m excited to be a part of it,” she says.