You would be hard-pressed to find a place today where you are sheltered from the discussion around the new developments in AI. From boardroom meetings, to dinner tables, to Facebook forums, the role that AI will be playing in society is forefront in everyone’s minds. In human-facing industries some are wondering if it will take over jobs, others are interested in harnessing its powers for furthering their industries, but after some short research involving real humans (and one all-powerful AI bot), the results are in. And no surprises in the battle with the bots – humans win.
When one begins to look at the current advancements in the accessibility and usefulness of AI, such as ChatGPT, it is important to be able to discern the sustainability from the hype. While these technological advancements are groundbreaking, exciting, and revolutionary, in the customer experience industry we need to take a step back and remember who our customers are and what they want.
Our customers and clients are human beings who desire authentic human interaction.
We, at nlightencx., have been asked by many of our friends, clients, and associates about the benefits of using AI in our customer journeys. Over the next few weeks we will be exploring more about the pros and cons, and we will be talking to experts in the industries (maybe you have seen some of our chats with Futureworld International Co-Founder Anton Musgrave already). But to kick things off we spoke to the most important people – the customers.
When looking at the current customer service options available, it can be narrowed down to four basics: Human Interaction, Self-Help, Online Forum, or ChatBots. We took to our social media to see which of these options brought the best service and, most notably, the most joy during interactions. Out of about 100 responses, over 85% found the best service from human interaction, 14% from self-help and FAQs, and only 1% enjoyed interacting with ChatBots.
Now this is not surprising at all – but why is it that we will also err on the side of humans? The answer is just as unsurprising – because we are HUMAN!
While AI might be efficient and to the point, their biggest downfall is that they lack the understanding of human emotion. Their responses, while to the point, are cold. They cannot empathise with what we are experiencing as a customer because they have never experienced anything we have. At best, they can simulate what they have learned through ones and zeros what our experience might look like. While a bot might be able to use the correct language to mimic compassion, their responses are not authentic. You would find as much empathy and human understanding from a bot as you would from a Kenwood mixer user manual.
When ChatGPT, who we shall call Kevin (he said he was okay with this I promise), was asked about the role he sees AI will play in customer service he had this to say:
“It is possible that AI may play a larger role in the customer service industry in the future. AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants are already being used by many companies to provide customers with quick and convenient access to information and support. These tools can handle simple, routine tasks and inquiries quickly and efficiently, freeing up human customer service representatives to focus on more complex and nuanced issues.
However, it is unlikely that AI will completely take over the customer service industry in the near future. While AI can handle simple and routine tasks, many customer service interactions involve complex issues that require human empathy, intuition, and problem-solving skills. AI also lacks the ability to understand the emotional context of a situation, which can be critical in resolving customer concerns.” (OpenAI’s GPT-3 session accessed 7 February 2023)
There you have it in Kevin’s own (assimilated and aggregated) words. The limitations are evident, and it doesn’t take a superbot to figure that out. Kevin went on to explain that AI has limitations with emotional-intelligence, creativity, contextual understanding, adaptability, and problem-solving. So while able to complete some tasks to improve efficiency, the main purpose of AI would be to free up humans to actually engage with customers.
As humans with a gamut of human emotion, our biggest desire is to feel like we are understood, seen, and valued. We want to know that our concern matters, ultimately that we matter. And it is human connection that drives experience.
Customer service through human interaction, and even self-help, are preferred because it involves help from humans who can empathise with a customer, humans that can understand context, nuance, and humans that have emotional intelligence. A human working in customer service can understand the frustration a customer might be feeling, they know the pinch of the economy, they know what it is like to have a bad day, and ultimately they know their own need for human connection and will bring it to any interaction.
To bring the best service to a customer, we need to bring our humanity to the forefront. It is these human interactions they resonate and are remembered by customers.
If you want to look at using AI to take your customer service to the next level, look at how it can be used as a tool to free up your people to do the real work of connecting with your customers.
P.s Just in case you were wondering, this blog was written by a real-life human 😉
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