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The Business Technology Paradox: Balancing AI And Personal Touch

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Updated Mar 28, 2024, 03:42pm EDT

In the last decade, automation in customer service has exploded across the business world. It has always been challenging to provide exceptional customer service with the help of AI. However, there are drawbacks.

While technology has improved customer service efficiency, business owners and leaders should remember that the human interaction between company and customer builds long-lasting relationships.

In fact, according to a Salesforce CRM report, 80% of customers say a company's customer experience is just as necessary as the product or services it sells.

The Evolution Of Customer Service Systems

The history of AI in customer service goes back decades to the 1960s when customer service centers used IVR (interactive voice response) technology on a large scale to interact with customers. Fast-forward to the 2010s to 2020, and AI has exploded as companies use machine learning and artificial intelligence ubiquitously to engage with customers.

According to the Ultimate Customer Services Trends report, 76% of customer experience leaders consider adding generative AI to their support in 2024.

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The Value Of Human Interaction

If you have ever been in the infinite telephone loop when you had a customer service problem and couldn't stop pressing 1 through 9 to get to a human, then you understand the value of human interaction and wouldn't be alone. Nearly half, 49%, of customers don't like using chatbots.

There is something comforting about expressing yourself to another person who can empathize with your problem. In fact, that little confirmation you get that your problem has been solved verbally by another human puts you at ease. This nuanced interaction can not be replaced by a chatbot or AI.

Challenge Balancing Automation And Personal Touch

As a business owner, you must run your operation efficiently. However, when you factor in benefits and other costs, human labor is one of the most significant costs in any business operation. This makes using AI appealing, especially with customer service, but there must be a balance. One consideration you should have when you begin to diffuse AI throughout your business operation is that AI can augment the human elements of a business operation without changing the fundamental aspects of human communication.

As humans engage in more frequent interactions with AI, they will expect these interactions on some level. Still, if you are a firm that values white-glove customer service, you must incorporate the human element where it fits best.

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Best Practices For Human-Centric Automation

There are four strategies that you can use to maintain the highest level of human-centric automation:

1) Train your technology team to employ empathy as much as possible when training AI to interact with human customers

2) Train your staff on the proper ways to use AI as a supplement to their job, but do not allow the technology to run unmonitored entirely

3) When problems cannot be quickly resolved using AI, a human customer service specialist should be brought in to take over the interaction.

4) Minimize wait times when humans trying to interact with your customer service team frustrate the customer.

As the integration of smart technology moves at light speed, it is important for business leaders and owners to move with it. However, it must make sense to integrate technology into your business in a strategic way that maintains the customer experience and allows your business to become more efficient.

Your customers will ultimately judge how you use AI in your business. If you improve the ease of transactions for your customers while maintaining a personal touch, you will have customers for life.

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