Humans vs. Machines – the Future of Communication
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is increasingly being integrated into everyday life. The technology is so advanced that, in some cases, you may not even realize it is there. Whether this scares you or intrigues you, AI is more life-like than ever before – from robots at airports to security at your grocery store.
One industry that is becoming synonymous with the use of AI technology is customer service. Consumers are face-to-face (or voice-to-voice) with chatbots on a regular basis when communicating with brands via their websites or a phone call.
Our future with machines is going to be one of partnership and enhancement, not sweeping replacement.
Big brands such as eBay, Burberry and Whole Foods have all invested in chatbots to provide customer support. As these AI technologies are integrated into more aspects of our daily lives, the perception that machines will one day replace humans entirely is becoming ever more present. This is particularly true of a contact or call center, which has traditionally been the first line of contact for customers.
Overall, however, AI has opened a lot of doors for companies to better connect with consumers. From automatic, real-time voice translation, to analyzing if a customer phone call is good or bad – this technology enables brands to collect and analyze critical insights in order to enhance customer relationships. The ability to better understand and serve consumers is crucial in an era where loyalty is key to retaining customer relationships.
As AI technology continues to evolve, I anticipate that it will become more prevalent in daily life at work and at home. Therefore, it is up to all of us to find and strike the right balance in the relationship between humans and machines.
Finding Opportunity Amongst the Challenges
A good customer experience is vital in order to maintain brand loyalty. So much so that, despite concerns surrounding AI, the evolution of personalized and programmatic communication in the online space has raised expectations across the board. It is more important than ever before for a business to accurately demonstrate that it knows its customers and can tailor their experiences accordingly.
The use of AI chatbots is just one example of how our communication with brands has dramatically changed in recent years. For example, SnapTravel, the online travel booking assistant, uses a Facebook Messenger bot that helps people find deals on hotels and flights. Users simply input their travel city and dates to receive recommendations and can book their accommodations right in Messenger. This shift in how we interact with brands means that more often than not, there is a piece (or multiple pieces) of technology that now sits between us and who are we talking to.
While advances have been made in technology, it’s important to remember that limitations still exist. We’ve all experienced the pain of trying to call our bank or utility provider only to be greeted by an automated voice that will make us wait in a queue. And now we are at the point where even the “person” we are talking to is a digital platform with the advent of chatbots and virtual assistants. Companies claim that this automation of communication with the customer is making their journey much more efficient and streamlined. Is that really the case, though, or are companies putting up a barrier to their customers?
While this increased separation from the customer has presented challenges for brands, it has simultaneously brought forward huge opportunities. And, the opportunities aren’t necessarily replacing the human workforce with automated platforms or robots.
Enhancement, Not Replacement
To capitalize on the phone conversations that businesses and their customer service staff have with customers, brands will in fact need to adopt AI and Machine Learning. Unfortunately, Chatbots and Voice assistants that are being used by companies as a replacement rather than an enhancement, give the technology a bad rap. However, there are alternative ways to benefit from AI technology.
The next big move for the telecoms industry will be integrating this technology into telephony platforms. AI can truly revolutionize customer service by enabling companies to analyze phone calls and immediately pick up essential data from them. For instance, AI can analyze phone calls to determine the tone of the call – whether it was a positive or negative interaction – and deliver this analysis to managers, allowing them to better train call agents.
In addition, using AI to analyze phone conversations will help companies improve their telephony offerings by providing more personalized service and reducing wait times. With AI, customers can expect to have a more enjoyable experience with their service provider by being directed toward the agent best equipped to deal with their query.
Additionally, these analytics capabilities could also tell the agent who the customer is, what they previously called about and what products they have purchased, giving the agent a 360-degree view of the customer’s Voice interactions with the brand. With the power to improve business agility, efficiency and delivery of the best and most efficient experience to customers, voice analytics will ensure agents are equipped to deal with any query.
Integrating AI into conversations with customers does answer how brands can capitalize on phone interactions particularly – using the technology to make the calls as seamless and helpful as possible to their customers.
It is inevitable that the evolution of emerging technologies like AI will have a significant impact on today’s workforce. Due to this, there’s no denying that some roles will no longer require humans in the future.
However, that’s not to say that a future alongside machines isn’t possible or beneficial. Our future with machines is going to be one of partnership and enhancement, not sweeping replacement. The world is full of complexities we don’t understand, but humans always find a place to live alongside them.