Artificial intelligence is everywhere, across every industry—from healthcare research to education to retail and everything in between.
And as AI becomes more pervasive, the public is becoming more used to, and even excited by, it. What used to sound futuristic and maybe even a tad scary is now commonplace, as general consumers grow accustomed to AI as voice assistants, job hunters and more. However, while businesses today are increasingly being expected to provide customers an experience where technology is embedded throughout, there are basic tenets of customer experience that can’t fall by the wayside—or else the business and its bottom line could suffer.
Many companies are turning to AI to cut costs and save time (ultimately, also saving resources). The technology is offloading mundane, routine tasks from the desks of professionals, bringing new ease to everything from hiring to troubleshooting customer issues. While AI is making the behind-the-scenes work at companies today function more efficiently, much of its work is public-facing: AI is communicating with your customers and clients as a chatbot or suggesting prompts and recommendations for how to interact with your business.
That’s a sharp about-face from the longstanding business given that an empathetic (human!) ear is the best way to listen to and interact with customers. And it’s a shift that companies today need to manage smartly.
AI can be an important tool to manage the customer experience—but it shouldn’t be the only tool. An AI-powered chatbot, for instance, can be a time-saver to answer customers’ initial, fact-based questions—but when more depth and nuance is needed to a conversation, humans have to be ready to jump in. And that equation should be replicated throughout an organization’s reliance on technology. Tech like AI can be an enabler of customer success—but it needs to be deployed alongside the human element that has always been the key to effective customer strategy.
Organizations everywhere are navigating what this new tech-human relationship looks like. It will certainly require training, flexibility and a commitment from business to do their due diligence to evaluate AI tools and guard against bias. And it means leaders have to have a willingness to experiment, revisit and reconsider strategy. After all, while artificial intelligence isn’t exactly the new kid on the block, it’s technology that is still rapidly developing—almost by the day! And that is making efforts to create a sound strategy for fusing human and tech talent somewhat of a moving target.
But it’s a target that business leaders today need to keep pursuing—because customers and employees alike both want and expect a tech-fueled experience. And now, it’s up to business leaders to reimagine what that looks like—an exciting, challenging and potential-filled opportunity!
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