Think of the last time you called a customer service line and talked to a human—did it feel like you were talking to an actual person, or was the conversation robotic and simply followed a script? Instead of enjoying a real conversation, too many brand interactions end up feeling impersonal and disinterested. Customers leave the conversation feeling frustrated or belittled instead of satisfied and accomplished.
A lot of the problem comes from turning people into robots. We hire people to interact with customers and then tell them to talk like robots. We treat employees like robots themselves and don’t give them freedom and power to actually meet the needs of customers and understand how to solve their problems. Technology like IVRs and phone trees seem like they will help customers, but they often lead to more confusion and frustration. If a customer wants something that isn’t on the menu, the system doesn’t understand and the customer ends up going in circles.
There’s so much talk about machine learning and AI replacing human jobs and providing an impersonal experience for customers, but the truth is that humans are already providing impersonal experiences! Machine learning will actually improve customer experience and provide a more human experience. Every gap or flaw in human interactions can be fixed with machine learning.
AI is so advanced that we can build better versions of ourselves that are better listeners, put things in context and remember every detail about a customer. Even the best human customer service representative can’t work as fast as a robot or remember every detail of a customer’s interaction with a brand or their preferences. AI can do all that and actually end up providing a more personalized experience than a human. Think again of the last time you talked to a human representative—if it had been a robot, the machine could have listened to your questions, had access to your previous purchases and solved the problem faster than a human. Instead of following a script, the machine could actually meet your needs and help you feel valued and understood.
Today’s customers want fast results, and the best way to provide that is through AI and machine learning. AI isn’t simply another piece of technology that companies must add to please customers—it has the potential to completely change how we interact with customers and provide great service.
It might sound contrary, but machine learning can actually provide a more human experience and leave your company with satisfied customers who know they are more than just a number.
Blake Morgan is a customer experience futurist, keynote speaker and author of “More Is More.” Sign up for her weekly newsletter here.