Customer Service: Humanity’s Holdout in the Second Machine Age

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A new book by two authors from MIT’s Center for Digital Business heralds what most of us already know, that we’ve automated and digitized ourselves right into a Second Machine Age, a new age where machines aren’t now just able to do work, but also think.

Many worry, and rightly so, that this Second Machine Age will continue to put humans out of work as we discover that anything humans can do, computers can do better and faster. Information gathering and sorting, predictive analytics, sentiment analysis, product troubleshooting – technologies such as IBM’s Watson cannot only diagnose your problem and solve your question, but now understand whether you’ve made an allusion or joke.

Who Cares

As the dividing line between the human brain and the CPU grows thinner and thinner, instead of welcoming our computer overlords and turning over our support queue over to a co-worker whose brain consists of a fourth generation Intel Core i5 processor, humans must showcase the key assets that no computer can (yet) replace. Caring. Humanity. Empathy. Delight.

And there are shining examples of this right now in customer service: a note to a seven-year-old comforting him for the loss of his LEGO Ninjago mini-figure and praising him for saving all his Christmas money to get it; a hand-signed get-well card and honorary HALO helmet sent to a brand fan in the hospital, or the delay of a flight so that a passenger could make the connection to be with his dying mom.

“We have to also preserve great roles for people or the society will suffer,” noted computer scientist and author of Who Owns the Future, Jaron Lanier, in a recent PBS interview.

Holding Out for a Hero

Customers are calling for a more human experience, and are sharing their delight and rewarding brands with their loyalty and advocacy when they receive it. Let’s give them what they want in customer service and remain a holdout in the Second Machine Age.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Tricia Morris
Tricia Morris is a product marketing director at 8x8 with more than 20 years of experience at technology companies including Microsoft and MicroStrategy. Her focus is on customer experience, customer service, employee experience and digital transformation. Tricia has been recognized as an ICMI Top 50 Thought Leader, among the 20 Best Customer Experience Blogs You Must Follow, and among the 20 Customer Service Influencers You Must Follow.

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