Where Does AI Fit into the Customer Experience? How Businesses Can Use the Iron Man Approach to Make the most of People and AI. LegalZoom’s Chief Customer Officer, Ed Arcinue Explains.
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are no longer buzzwords—they’re real, tangible tools that businesses can use to work smarter and more efficiently. Even businesses that rely heavily on the skills of people can benefit from the efficiencies AI provides.
Those in customer-facing roles have started to see gains through AI, though the technology has its limits. While AI and Machine Learning offer opportunities to engage customers in different and automated ways, human beings are still far superior in key elements of engagement—creativity, humor, de-escalation, storytelling, listening and empathy.
To provide the best experience for their customers, companies should find the right balance between human interaction and automation. AI is incapable of replacing person-to-person engagement entirely; instead, businesses should think of AI as the equivalent of Tony Stark’s Iron Man suit—it can enhance the skills and capabilities that humans already have.
Where Does AI Excel?
AI and Automation are currently best used for repetitive processes like Administration, Data Parsing and Analyzing patterns. While humans are essential for emotional intelligence, AI can process data at a much larger scale and speed, meaning it can be a huge help for large, repetitive and complex tasks where consistency and accuracy are most important—the phrase “human error” exists for a reason.
There are concrete, practical applications for this in customer care disciplines. For example, AI can analyze chat and voice-to-text for keywords, patterns and compliance analysis. Looking at that information, AI can present potential content and solutions to enhance a conversation between a customer and a care representative in real-time. Analyzing the effectiveness of interactions, messaging and positioning of these interactions over time, AI can suggest ways to improve customer lifecycle management overall.
While AI can take the load off of admin work, including digital document processing and delivery, it’s truly this analysis of customer-agent interactions that delivers the most value to teams—and it extends across Customer Success and Care to Sales, Product, and Marketing, helping to drive innovation across all disciplines.
Maintaining the Human Touch
Since AI’s ability to analyze human conversation and give recommendations only goes so far—businesses can’t just let AI run wild. Let’s not forget the time that Microsoft turned it’s AI, Tay, loose on the massive audience of Twitter—the AI was unable to filter bad information, and learning from the Twittersphere, it started spewing offensive remarks. Without morality programmed into its algorithms, AI is unable to tell right from wrong—meaning it’s a long way off from engaging in genuine, human conversations.
There’s still so much that people can do that AI can’t—people can tell stories, listen for emotion and innuendo, empathize, understand, and use humor, compassion, and understanding. Most importantly, people can think critically and creatively at the same time, which is essential when it comes to customer experience.
If a customer wants to speak to someone about a challenge they’re facing or even celebrate a business breakthrough, speaking with someone is still the best option. AI is unable to empathize with struggles or share excitement over success, and these shared emotions are critical for relationship-building. Ultimately, most customers want to have a relationship with an organization via people in at least some capacity.
The Best of Both Worlds—The Iron Man Approach
In the world of customer experience, AI is best used in conjunction with people, rather than replacing them in the equation. AI is a tool—for computing power, determining ideal routes and solutions, or analyzing data sets to assist with decision-making. Automation and Machine Learning will only help people do their jobs better.
People connecting with others on an emotional level and wearing the exoskeleton of AI to enhance speed, strength, and information, are a powerful force. When the strengths of people and AI are combined, customers will experience better, more informed and more efficient support from the businesses that serve them.
Read more: Consistency is Key to Customer Experience