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AI Vs. Humans: The Role of Artificial Intelligence in Customer Experience

By Ron Welty, Founder & Chief Client Officer

From touchscreen checkouts to customer service chatbots, artificial intelligence (AI) has increasingly become a part of the customer experience. Nearly two-thirds of businesses are now deploying AI in their business processes, with 85 percent of customer interactions predicted to be managed without a human by 2020. However, despite the fear that the “robots are taking over,” savvy brands understand that it’s not one-or-the-other. Rather, the combination of human associates and AI appears to be the winning formula for delivering exceptional customer experiences. Here’s how you can leverage AI to improve customer experience.

Give the Customer What They Want

When it comes to giving the customers what they want, a Zingle survey found that many will choose human interaction over AI, as they believe humans are more effective in solving problems and handling their needs. However, 46 percent of Zingle’s respondents said they would choose AI over a human if it meant faster problem resolution. 

Keep in mind that AI is still relatively new, as practical applications of AI only really began to take off in recent years. As AI technology develops, customers will increasingly come to expect AI in their interactions with your brand.

Delegate Routine Tasks

Bots can do many things—answer questions, process payments, order food. According to IBM, AI chatbots can answer up to 80 percent of routine questions for businesses, which helps speed up response times and frees up associates for more challenging inquiries.

There are many case studies of brands taking advantage of AI to accomplish the more mundane tasks at hand. Perhaps one that stands out the most is Anymail Finder. Their two-person team was very limited, but by delegating their frequently asked questions to AI bots, they were able to look and feel like a full-fledged customer support department.

Use Human Emotion

While AI can mimic and even improve upon the actions listed above, the one thing a robot can’t do is convey emotions. This can be both an advantage and an opportunity for brands. It’s great because unlike even your best associate, a chatbot will never become impatient or take a rude tone with a customer. However, the lack of emotional intelligence is where AI falls short. This presents an opportunity for humans to pick up the slack. While robots can deal with quick problems, humans can focus on bringing emotion into the customer experience. After all, it’s been shown that empathy can be a powerful emotion when it comes to improving the customer experience.

Walmart, for example, takes a similar strategy by leveraging AI facial recognition to determine the level of frustration of customers at self-checkouts. When high levels of frustration are detected, customer service associates are then alerted to attend to the customer.

Quickly Respond to Customers

Here’s some depressing news: The average customer will waste 43 days of their lives waiting on hold. Being that the majority of customers expect quick responses from brands, AI chatbots can be the solution to reducing your response time.

For example, Charter Communications determined that 38 percent of incoming customer service requests were for username retrieval and password resets. By automating the customer service process through their AI virtual assistant, Charter decreased the amount of time it takes customers to reset their passwords by 50 percent.

Be Available Around-the-Clock

Customers want to be able to interact with your brand at their convenience. In fact, Zendesk says the majority of customers expect to reach a company 24/7. However, it can be costly to staff associates around-the-clock. 

That’s where chatbots can help. Chatbots aren’t limited by business hours, so your customers can have constant contact with your company, whether they’re online shopping in the middle of the night or if they experience an issue with your product on a weekend.

Create Personalized Experiences

Nowadays, customers have more options than ever before, so it’s important to make them feel special. According to AgilOne, 79 percent of customers expect personalization when they interact with a brand. 

AI can be used to collect data about your customers, such as shopping preferences, browsing history, location, and more. This allows for more tailored, personalized experiences like the ones exemplified by Amazon and Spotify. Through machine learning algorithms, Amazon leverages browsing and purchase history to make personalized recommendations to customers. Similarly, Spotify uses a combination of data from collaborative filtering, natural language processing, and audio analysis to curate “Discover Weekly” playlists for users.

Evaluate Your Customer Experience

As AI becomes engrained in your customer experience, it’s important to ensure your experience design remains flawless. Whether you use voice assistants, chatbots, face recognition, machine learning, or another form of AI, IntelliShop has the solutions to evaluate your customer experience. 

Our mystery shopping programs are designed to give you an honest, in-depth look at your business through the eyes of your customers. Meanwhile, our voice of the customer tools can provide the customer feedback you need to understand your customers’ evolving needs and expectations. We’ll then present our findings to you in a detailed, actionable InSite™ report to create a strategy that focuses on improving your customer experience. Contact IntelliShop today to request a consultation.