THE BOTS ARE COMING: HOW COMPANIES CAN BALANCE AUTOMATION WITH THE HUMAN TOUCH
Technologies such as machine learning and artificial intelligence are changing the way businesses operate, enabling more automation and deeper analytics. But nowhere are robots more compelling than in the digital workplace. From 24/7 customer service and fewer human errors to less dependency on people to generate revenue, it’s no surprise businesses are embracing them.
A recent report in Raconteur noted that investment in analytics and AI is expected to double over the next two years, reinforcing the arrival (and staying power) of robots. But one risk is that companies may begin to lose the personal connection they have with their customers. Over-reliance on AI can be just as deadly as a failure to embrace this new technology. To strike the right balance, companies can take steps to ensure they reap the full benefits of robots while still retaining the all-important human element. Here are three such measures.
1. Integrate Cloud Communications with Business Applications
By integrating automation and cloud communications capabilities with key business applications, organizations can provide employees and bots with easier access to customer information, equipping them to deliver answers faster and more accurately. Organizations can also then use the combined data analytics to identify customers’ pain points and the obstacles they encounter in the customer journey. This knowledge provides a path toward faster customer service and more targeted, effective sales and marketing activities.
Accordingly, it will be interesting to see which sectors embrace marketing automation the most in the future. The financial services industry, for example, can use automation marketing in a wide variety of different ways, and therefore it will be intriguing to identify how campaigns change as a result of these developments. Early findings seem to suggest that automation marketing can work well in the finance sector when communications are highly personalized and so as the technology continues to grow, only time will tell what is in store.
Additionally, a more holistic view of the customer experience empowers businesses to determine the points at which bots can best serve the customer’s needs and when a human interaction is more likely to deliver the best outcome. Thus, in a twist, smart deployment of robots can actually deliver a more human-like experience in every interaction.
2. Shift Lower Level Tasks to Bots
While robots can serve many functions across the organization, they are best used for basic tasks. Chatbots are excellent for around the clock service on standard customer questions, including product information, password resets, and order status checks. Offloading these routine tasks allow contact center agents and sales teams to focus more time on more complex tasks that bring value to both customers and the business. In fact, research shows that 68% of consumers like the concept of the 24-hour customer service that robots provide. They cite the ability to get answers to simple questions, the immediacy of responses, and convenience as the main benefits of chatbots.
3. Use Human Interaction for High-Touch
While bots can help businesses manage high volumes of inquiries more efficiently, they also free employees to spend more time on the kind of customer interactions that yield high value outcomes. For example, an already disgruntled customer who received a damaged or incorrect product is more likely to be soothed by personal attention from a human than a robot. Likewise, customers still value the recommendations salespeople can make, especially on complex purchases.
While robots look like they’re here to stay and offer organizations a number of advantages, humans are still a very necessary part of the customer value chain. Along with speed and accuracy, customers still expect personalization which suggests that a thoughtful combination of artificial intelligence and human interaction will bring the best of both worlds to customers.