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Balancing AI And Humanity To Improve CX

by Eric Williamson, CMO, CallMiner - December 1, 2020

Balancing AI and Humanity to Improve CX

By Eric Williamson, CMO at CallMiner

Customer experience (CX) is a crucial competitive advantage for brands, and artificial intelligence is emerging as an important differentiator in delivering the best CX possible. In fact, 75% of CX decision-makers believe that advancements to AI, as well as self-service technology, are the most critical factors to future CX success. 

While AI is a powerful tool for improving CX and extracting actionable insights for the entire enterprise, organizations must use caution when over-automating their customer engagements. Now more than ever, customers are looking to connect with another human – not an automated answering service or chatbot. The key to leveraging AI in CX and contact center operations is to use the technology to enhance human connections, not replace them.

Automation and the Need for Humanization

It’s no surprise that not all customer interactions are straightforward – not every interaction involves a customer checking a balance or wondering when a bill is due. While these scenarios are the perfect example of when automation is most useful, when customers bypass self-service and request to speak to a human to solve a problem, it’s almost always because the issue at hand is too complex for the automated system or a chatbot. Customers have unique problems that need to be solved, and there is never going to be a one-size-fits-all automated resolution. 

Emotion adds another level of complexity. In a time when customer vulnerability is at an all-time high – many have lost their jobs, are struggling financially, ill or taking care of a sick loved-one – brands must be acutely aware of how they analyze and respond to certain emotional and vulnerable interactions. Imagine a chatbot or automated answering service trying to interact with empathy, compassion or sensitivity? Or a customer explaining to an automated service that they can’t pay their bill because they lost their job due to the pandemic? 

AI cannot teach itself to portray the characteristics that today’s customers desperately seek from the brands they choose to do business with. 

Simply put: AI cannot teach itself to be human. 

Humans: Made Better with AI

If one thing is clear, it’s that AI should not, and cannot, be used to replace human connection. Instead, the organizations that harness the power of AI to enhance their person-to-person interactions are the ones that are going to be able to deliver the superior CX that customers are looking for, now and in the future.

Here are three key ways that AI can make humans more humane

  1. Detect, harness and reveal emotion: AI can detect sudden emotional changes in tone, aggression or frustration, and provide real-time insights to help human agents deescalate volatile situations and improve engagement outcomes. This could even include automatically routing to a supervisor if a customer service agent is struggling to find a resolution. Further, by leveraging AI to uncover the critical consumer and employee insights, executive decision-makers can transform, improve and shift business strategy from the ground up.  

  2. Help employees and supervisors master their craft: Organizations must continue to invest in their workforce and AI has the potential to help improve CX departments. With AI, organizations can identify areas of improvement in real time or post-interaction and help employees understand where they can change behavior during future interactions in a data-driven way. AI can also help supervisors identify performance trends across every agent that may not have been realized before, using that knowledge to improve department-wide training. AI enables supervisors to be better managers, as well as agents to perform better over time and more effectively connect with customers.

  3. Analyze and navigate complexity: AI can be deployed to analyze the context of a situation, and provide real-time and post-engagement coaching and guidance that results in better outcomes for the brand, customer and employee. In call or chat situations where the customer interaction does not have an applicable script or answer, AI has the power to suggest the next best option based on historical and situational analyses, helping customer service teams navigate complex requests, quickly solve problems and offer solutions that meet customer needs.

AI is a Piece of the CX Puzzle – Not the Entire Solution

There is no argument that customer experience matters – 80% of consumers will stay loyal to a brand because of positive CX, and of consumers that have switched providers since the start of the pandemic, nearly half would have stayed if the brand delivered better CX, or connected with them on a more human level

AI is a key piece to the CX puzzle. It has the power to improve outcomes at the call center or CX-level – strengthening agent performance and enhancing customer experience and satisfaction – but it also has the power to drive enterprise-wide business improvement. By extracting valuable insights from all customer interactions, organizations can make better decisions from the top down, ultimately driving more humane engagements with employees and customers at every level. 

Eric Williamson is CMO of CallMiner, a provider of speech and customer interaction analytics. Williamson has over 20 years’ experience leading marketing programs for major brands, including Acquia, Google, Microsoft, Walmart, Hyatt and more. Williamson leads CallMiner’s global marketing strategy, with a focus on positioning the company as the industry’s number one platform for extracting and operationalizing customer insights to drive transformative business change and value.

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