With the ever-increasing cost of human capital and advances in chatbot technology, it’s tempting for corporations to cut corners when it comes to operational efficiencies. However, while AI was meant to be a cost-effective way to eliminate repetitive human tasks, businesses are forgetting one big thing: interacting with humans is anything but repetitive. Instead of improving customer service, chatbots have detached humans from the equation, and that’s not cutting it for most customers. In a recent survey we conducted, 25 percent of millennials would rather spend three hours at the DMV, and more than 50 percent of women would rather wait in line to get groceries than deal with an automated system. That’s a lot of waiting just to avoid the dreaded bot.
Though some businesses may not need an end-to-end customer service team, they can lean into AI technology in integrative ways. A bot can begin a conversation but swiftly hand it off to a human; AI assists humans behind the scenes; or bots operate with human supervision. A bot can be effective for responding to standardized questions, but when the customer has a complicated issue or begins to act with emotion, it needs to seamlessly transfer the customer to a human, period.
When it comes to customer service, businesses can’t forget humans crave being heard. It might seem advantageous to use technology to reduce cost-to-serve and get in front of customer needs, but research shows that ignoring the importance of human interaction could be detrimental to your success.
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