4 best practices to balance technology and the human touch
What’s more important to the customer experience – the latest technology or the human touch?
They’re both equally important. Sure, cutting-edge technology might be the key to one great customer experience. But when that customer is concerned or frustrated, the human touch is the only way to create an exceptional experience.
“Organizations should strive toward adopting a hybrid model where automation and agents work hand-in-hand, and each play to their relative strengths to support customers,” says Fara Haron, CEO North America, Ireland and Southeast Asia & EVP Global Clients, Majorel.
Ideally, customers can get to the resource they need most – technology or a person – immediately when they need it.
Haron offers these five best practices for getting the balance right:
1. Adopt a hybrid model
“Artificial intelligence, chatbots, and voice bots can immediately solve many customer service problems that companies currently face. With their help, certain processes can be automated, resulting in reduced wait times for customers and a lighter administrative burden on the human service team, allowing them to focus on more value-adding activities,” Haron says.
2. Keep people in charge
You’ll want humans to train AI behind the scenes.
“When it comes to working with AI applications, neither the ‘plug and play’ or ‘set and forget’ methods should ever apply,” Haron says. During the initial training of AI, humans need to employ their skills in selecting the correct training data as well as leverage their relevant expertise in sector-specific and customer dialog best practices.
“The work of the AI must be checked regularly to make sure errors can be corrected and optimizations can take place. It’s up to humans, and only humans, to do this work.”
3. Create a plan
“Why should a technology/channel be introduced? ‘Because it is currently in,’ is not the correct answer!” Haron jokes. Instead:
Start by defining the benefits that the new technology will bring your customers and your company.
Clarify the points of the customer journey when automated dialog with your customers is necessary and appropriate – and those points at which it is not.
Analyze customers and users: Which channels do they use for which purposes; how do they proceed in the relevant channel?
“Only when you know and understand the processes can you automate them to achieve the desired end results,” Haron says.
4. Hire smart
“With bots answering easy questions like: ‘When will my order arrive?’ and ‘How can I reset my password?’ the more involved queries are left to customer service agents,” Haron says.
“Customer service teams must develop deep expertise of the product or service they are representing,” she says. “Companies need to become more proactive in defining and developing skills requirements to make sure they’re hiring the best people for the jobs.”
5. Recognize the potential
AI and advanced technology isn’t just for answering customers’ baseline questions.
“AI that is integrated into customer databases can anticipate likely problems, bring in a suitable employee and provide that employee with all the necessary information — or even work through the matter on its own AI can help record and leverage what customers share about their experiences with a company on social media, and Teams can identify dissatisfied customers without having direct contact with them, and can also usually learn the reason for their dissatisfaction, and then suggest appropriate solutions.”