The Art of Impersonal Personalization

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If you’ve seen Spike Jonze’s new dystopian film, Her, you’ve gotten an insight into the intriguing field of artificial intelligence. In the world of this story, operating systems are able to evolve to be compatible with the personalities of their users. The needs of human beings are met by machines that come to know them on a deeply personal level, even without bodies or physical interaction—just a chosen voice as a means of communication. These relationships with operating systems are, therefore, simultaneously personal and impersonal. They provide human-like relations without any actual human touch. At first, the concept may seem strange, but it’s really not so far removed from our present reality: Consider call centers. You dial a number, respond to a recorded voice requesting the specific service you need, and then you’re eventually connected to a living customer service representative who works in a department that deals specifically with your query. The future is now.

That’s not to say that all customer service calls can be categorized and automated, however. An extra touch of personalization is really what makes the difference in providing excellent service. An emergency dispatcher needs to use more resources than just public safety software to properly help a distressed caller, just like a representative for a cable company needs to properly assess a customer’s unique situation before deciding to take away that beloved HBO subscription. Phone calls, especially to busy call centers, might not be the most personal human interactions that we’ll ever have, but a caring touch from a service representative in resolving the issue at hand is certainly a step in the right direction. Even the most intuitive computer can’t replicate the satisfying feeling that a real person is taking the time to help solve our problems. A hint of personalization in catering to a customer’s call can really go a long way.

Connor Chan
The Marketing Zen Group
Connor is a college student and intern with four year of hands-on customer service experience.

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