More and more companies are utilizing big data, AI recommendations, and chatbots to simplify their customer experiences. This takes a significant load off of customer support representatives, who otherwise end up repeatedly answering simple questions (open hours, mailing addresses, etc). They can then focus on handling more complicated customer sales or concerns that can’t be addressed without a human element.
But we’ve all had that experience where you end up shouting at the voice recognition phone tree because it can’t understand your accent. It’s important that, as we rely more and more on technology to improve the customer experience, we humanize that same technology. While customers don’t want to be transferred from department to department to have an issue resolved, they also don’t want to deal with technology that doesn’t work properly for their needs.
How To Create Humanized Technology
The next logical question, therefore, is how to humanize technology marketing so that it improves the customer experience? With so many different pieces of AI in common use, it’s important to consider each one and understand how to manage it well.
• Chatbots. Chatbots are incredibly common, especially on Facebook. Customers expect a quick response on social media platforms, but also have very simple questions. They want to know if a business will be open at a certain time, where they should send their bill, or how to initiate a return. Chatbots can answer these questions, freeing up representatives to handle more complicated issues.
Chatbots can be simple, programmed only to respond to the most recent question or comment, but the best chatbots can gather data from an overall conversation. If a customer asks both what hours a business is open and how to start a return, the chatbot might determine that the customer wants to return an item in store. It can then let the customer know how to do that, or suggest easy alternatives. That sort of interaction improves the customer experience in a big way.
• Intelligent Forms. Forms are used all over the internet and in many different ways. They can gather lots of important information, but they can also be incredibly frustrating. Forms that are simple just ask a series of questions that the customer answers. More intelligent forms move from one section to the next depending how a customer answers.
They can also give a gentle shake from side to side (like shaking your head “no”) if a question hasn’t been answered. This helps customers understand the best way to get through the form, and may increase the number of completed forms that the business receives.
• Awareness of Ad Density. Often, ads servers look at very shallow data as ads are populated. This means that customers end up served endless ads for the exact same product or service they just purchased. By digging deeper into data, better ads can be made available which are more likely to convert. For example, if a customer has recently gone on vacation, serving ads suggesting photo printing to document a specific event will get better results than (essentially) suggesting the customer rebook the same vacation.
Never Forget the Human Element
If there is a point where AI and technology based tools will replace human customer service, that time has not yet arrived. People are still needed to solve many customer problems and answer many specific questions.
It’s important to remember, for example, that not all users are digitally savvy at the same level. Even some people who are so-called digital natives simply don’t know how to operate their mobile phone beyond the most basic level; some older customers, however, have vast experience with computers and networks, and can work their way around many of their younger counterparts.
This means that it’s important to have a way to reach a person who can help the customer understand an issue and get the help they need.
Another issue to remember is that customers may not understand the problem they’re having or how to describe it. This is particularly true in tech support. The average AI bot can easily handle “I need to reset my password,” but may not be able to handle that classic tech support question: “It’s doing something, how do I fix it?” Sometimes humans are better at teasing out what other humans are talking about.
It’s also crucial that you optimize for mobile. For more and more users, mobile devices (cell phones, tablets, etc) are their primary or only internet access devices. This is even more true in global markets. If you want your AI, form, or chatbot to be useful, make sure that it works on mobile devices just as well as it does on desktops.
AI and technology can absolutely be used to improve the customer experience, but it is important that businesses proceed with caution and awareness of what they’re trying to do. When they are aware of their specific goals around AI and what it should be doing for their company, they will be able to achieve those goals more easily. This will help provide the customer with the best possible experience.