Artifical Intelligence or Superficial Customer Service
Customer service and Customer Satisfaction occur simultaneously. Responding to a customer’s needs with intensity, attentively and in a timely manner, ultimately produce the customer satisfaction an organization is seeking. The introduction of Artificial Intelligence (AI) should not be a compromise to the delivery of excellent customer service. Instead, AI should be a catalyst for creating efficiencies and new procedures in which to allow businesses to exceed and anticipate the needs of its customers.
The trend of using AI goes beyond simply creating chat-bots and FAQ’s with complex algorithms. The use of AI needs to be on par with the rise of the "Empathy Economy" or the idea centered around creating more empathy in customer contacts. This concept has shifted the use of AI to increasing the effectiveness of customer service representatives in order to free up more time and increase the empathetic value of each interaction. AI allows businesses to look inward and consider value adding rather than simply cost saving. Labor models that incorporate the saved time and efficiency created by algorithms into their service-oriented culture are causing disruption within their industries. This cause and effect allows industry leaders to leverage these success stories into further developing AI for this purpose.
More importantly the immediacy of receiving feedback from a customer has essentially decreased to zero. The times where a customer had a poor experience, received a survey in the mail days or weeks later, filled out the form and the company acknowledged the complaint weeks after that, are far gone. In today’s mobile first economy, a customer that experiences poor service can offer feedback through social media immediately, sometimes during the interaction itself. More often however, a poor review of an establishment is posted to social media while the customer is waiting for their Uber to arrive to their respective followers and then to their followers. Businesses who are solely dependent on AI to resolve these critical moments of truth, cannot react fast enough to the speed or the virality of 140 characters of bad reputation.
For all of the benefits AI brings to a business in efficiency and value adding, it is important to consider this technology as a tool and not a resolution. Customers will undoubtedly experience service failures from any organization. Besides the tried and true management processes of selecting and training the right talent and then setting clear expectations, businesses should employ AI to make their employees more successful in responding, resolving and empathizing with their customers. Customer service is not a department in the basement of an organization under fluorescent lighting where complaints go to die. Instead customer service is the responsibility of each and every member of an organization from the CEO to the mail room clerk.