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Keeping Customer Experience Human

Here’s a question for you: on a daily basis, how many times a day do you think customers yell at an Interactive Voice Response (IVR)?

We’ve all done it. After several minutes of being bounced around from one non-helpful robot voice to another, we find ourselves yelling “Customer Service!” at a machined voice that is clearly not human.

How many exasperated customers each and every day think to themselves while on a call or while conversing with a chatbot yell out loud “Can I PLEASE just get a person to talk to?”

The more diversified a company’s product offerings and customer service solutions, the more likely that company is to alienate their customers with seemingly tone-deaf and irritating non-solutions.

We live in a day and age where customers expect rapid and effective resolutions. The rapidity of these offerings look great on paper, until the customers are asked to provide survey-based feedback where they lambast the company for being robotic and unempathetic.

Does that mean companies should eschew the technologically advanced automated solutions that have become available to them in an effort to be more human? Would that alienate younger generations that want their issues resolved without human contact?

These are questions that permeate Customer Experience (CX) based solutions that are being discussed daily in boardroom conversations.

Let’s take a look at how companies can employ automated and efficient CX without coming across as being unattached and out of touch.

Navigating the Artificial Shift

If a company has the ability to replace contact center personnel with bots and IVRs, it makes sense for the company to do just that while delegating more personal conversations to highly trained human agents.

But what kind of experience does that create for the customer? Even if the customer is able to get their questions answered or their problems resolved, it will be unlikely that they will clamor to social media to applaud the efficiency of a chatbot or an FAQ bot.

When a customer reaches out on social media or even in casual conversation with their friends, they are likely going to say something like “I had this issue. I was really upset about it. Thankfully, this wonderful agent named Becky knew exactly what was driving my frustrations and after talking with her about it, she stepped right in and fixed everything.”

Alternatively, it’s likely that prospective clients or customers will not find glowing reviews of the efficiency of a plug and play bot. Realistically, a customer won’t say “Man, that chatbot really got me” at the end of an interaction either.

Yes, there are times when an Artificial Intelligence (AI) can provide a quick and easy solution. But if that solution is combined with a personal voice, then it becomes so much more visceral and shareable.

The Three Precepts of Artificial and Human CX

It’s a conundrum. On one hand, customers expect instant resolutions which are more easily handled by automated frameworks. On the other hand, a customer can quickly become an anti-ambassador if an empathetic and relevant solution is not offered in the same CX conversation. There exists a collection of precepts that allows companies to embrace both of these approaches simultaneously and effectively.

Human Experience

No matter how great a company’s solutions and resolutions are, there is nothing more powerful than having a human voice that can say, in a non-prerecorded way: “Here is my contact information. Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any additional concerns or questions.”

Customer Expectancy

If a customer has had an issue and that issue has been resolved by a human, then the customer is going to feel much more comfortable reaching back out to the company and asking for a human agent than they would be jumping back into a soley AI based CX where they are blindly hoping a bot can provide a solution.

Lifeloop

It’s pretty much expected that customers are going to share negative experiences than they are positive experiences.

We live in an age where customer retention has a much higher return on investment than customer acquisition. The great thing about customer retention is that while forging forward with the idea that retention can mitigate high acquisition costs, the leverage of retention can be exacerbated by providing a human entity that customers can identify with.

Conclusion

Any company that decides they are above or beyond AI solutions and automated processes in this day and age are fooling themselves into thinking that they won’t get burned by their competition.

Likewise, companies that rely solely on automation and bots are going to alienate customers with their lack of warmth, empathy, and relevance.

This presents a wonderfully unique opportunity where companies that can seamlessly combine the ease of automated processes with a unique and authentic personal touch will rise above their competitors.

Not only will this create a customer return loop, it will also generate an influx of referral based new customers, circumnavigating acquisition costs while bringing in a much warmer and more targeted prospect base.

For an actionable guide on how and when to implement CX automation, download our whitepaper “When and Where to Use Automation in Customer Service.”