August 28, 2018

Customer Service is about People - not Bots or AI

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Even in today’s hyper-connected world, we become easily dissociated. As we interact more and more with technology, we do it less and less with other humans. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not about to share my nostalgia about the good ol’ days. This only turns into a real problem when we forget about the simple things, like the power of empathy. And when that happens, truly understanding and helping each other become the hardest things.

Customer service solutions: myths and truths

Truth: If you set realistic goals and find a tool that molds and adapts to you, there’s a big chance you’ll achieve said goals.

We acquire new technology when we need extra help, right? But, more often than not, what starts with the search of something to make our lives easier ends up being something we have to adapt to, and not the other way around. This happens because salespeople (no offense ♥️) are very good at seducing us with eye-catching features and cool words like “AI,” “bots” or “machine learning.” Sound familiar? Sometimes it’s OK, but sometimes you can get stuck with massive platforms that have a million features that are impossible to keep up with. Not to mention, the complete lack of empathy.

Myth: Technologies work by themselves.

Another wrong move is thinking that this new tool will function and learn on its own. This is particularly common in the customer service industry, where technology seems to arise as a way to simplify companies’ processes rather than to simplify the lives of their customers. After all, customer service should be about serving customers. A new solution should definitely make your job more efficient, but it will demand a lot of attention and effort to get you there. Just look for technologies that are simple enough for you and your team to handle, without having an IT team around all the time.

Myth: Machines think and assist your customers better than people would.

The last big mistake is the belief that technology will do a better job than a person. This couldn’t be further away from the truth. Without a doubt, a trained human agent is more capable of understanding and solving a person’s issue better that any solution out there. And whoever says the contrary is lying to your face.

Truth: Most of your incoming requests can be grouped by topics and complexity and, therefore, addressed automatically.

Not all of your customers’ issues are big or complex. Actually, in most cases, like the one of the leading provider of the travel industry, Amadeus, more than 90% of requests are related to 6-8 topics and turn out to be your typical frequently asked questions.  This means that with a good automated solution to solve this portion of incoming requests, agents will dedicate their efforts to the remaining cases.

Automated services: the good, the bad and the ugly

As we’ve been in the industry for a while (6 years now!) we’ve come across a ton of companies that failed in their search for intelligent technology. Most of our prospects have done at least one of the following:

  • They’ve hired providers to do the job but then depended on them every step of the way, making it impossible to scale.
  • They’ve acquired the famous “flows and options” bot. These are actually not even bots. I won’t say they’re useless, but they will never understand your customer’s intention.
  • They’ve developed astronomic technologies that ended up failing at the simplest things or turned out to be extremely technical, and not at all user-friendly.

Failing in choosing the right solution costs money, time and frustrations. In fact, it’s not rare for our sales team to hear: “There’s no such thing as AI.” And we get it, it’s the cool new thing that apparently everyone’s doing. This leaves the impression that all AI companies are full of... you know. But don’t be fooled by the bad and the ugly. And please, please, don’t be naive when it comes to your relationship with customers.

Now, if you decide to go and hire a company, you should know that not even a slice of the market’s AI solutions deal with those common questions the same way. It takes a powerful solution to, first, understand a customer’s problem quickly and, second, to solve it in the fewest interactions possible. But in customer service, powerful doesn’t mean more features. Powerful means empathetic, and to experience empathy you need to feel, understand and act. In the end, we’re talking to people, not to other bots.

AI is only half of Aivo (get it?)

We don’t consider artificial intelligence as the most important thing in our products. It’s only a tool that helps people make the most of their time and efforts. And when we say people, we don’t only mean our clients but also, especially, our clients’ customers.

As a matter of fact, our main concerns have nothing to do with technology, they’re are all about people. With AgentBot, our AI-powered chatbot, customer service departments get an easy-to-manage, automatic solution that uses AI to have natural conversations and provide incredible omnichannel experiences. What’s more, AgentBot learns from customers every day and makes knowledge bases evolve thanks to its Training and powerful BI and Analytics sections.

Either if you end up trying our solutions or not, I hope this article was useful to you and your team for when you start considering taking your customer service strategy to the next level.

Are you looking for new ways to improve your CX?

Our customer service solutions powered by conversational AI can help you deliver an efficient, 24/7 experience  to your customers. Get in touch with one of our specialists to further discuss how they can help your business.