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Combining AI and Human Intelligence Can Lead to a Seamless Customer Experience

May 22, 2018 Jim Iyoob

Ongoing developments in technology have resulted in artificial intelligence that is capable of mimicking many human behaviors and responses. This increasing capability has been much appreciated by those who manage overloaded call centers. This is not to say that AI is set to take over the call center industry, only that it has been proven to be increasingly beneficial on many levels. The human touch will always be required to keep customers completely satisfied. Call centers must, in essence, use the right blend of human emotion and automation to fully benefit from these recent technological innovations.

The Unintended Cold Response

Though automated systems in call center environments have become more common, many situations still call for the ever-important human touch. This touch must be professional, proficient and empathetic to the customer’s needs. Call centers that rely too heavily on colder automated intelligence in order to cut costs or attain desired results frequently find that the loss of the competent, warm human touch leads to growing customer attrition rates.

Customers may also perceive a cold response in relation to a phone interaction when an AI program becomes outdated. All too frequently, customers become stuck in a loop of repeating responses to an AI system that simply cannot process the information correctly. And a dissatisfied customer today is a lost customer, as there are plenty of options from which they can choose.

Evaluating the proper role of AI in a call center environment as well as the need to update and review the effectiveness of such software is a must in an era where customer satisfaction rates mean everything.

The Best Balance

Of paramount importance is the ability of an AI program to recognize the point in a call indicating that a customer should immediately be transferred from an automated system to a live agent. The more quickly and easily this task can be completed matters as this tends to be the point at which customers begin to be dissatisfied with the level of automated service. Interaction with an empathetic agent is often just the right move.

In order to determine the correct balance between artificial and human intelligence, companies must start with analytics. An automated call center program should be capable of listening to agent interactions, caller queues and gathering additional information. This information, when presented correctly to call center managers, can show where changes in policy, format or wording need to be made.  The right balance means that customers are happy because they feel their needs were truly met.

Past information is Critical for Future Success

Data that is gathered in the background of each and every call can provide invaluable information. With such data, call center managers can figure out what irritates callers, makes them happy, soothes them or drives them completely away. Managers can use this critical data to change automated responses, increase or decrease the number of options available to each caller or even give customers the ability to skip all automation and work solely with a live agent.

As AI increases in intelligence, it can also offer invaluable insights, such as suggestions on which department might be best able to assist customers based on specific indicators. Going even further, some AI technology is advanced enough that it can pair customers with specific needs to the agent who will be most able to assist with each specific issue. Such beneficial use of data only works to increase overall customer satisfaction rates.

The Combination of AI and HI Can Still be Personal

The end goal for every customer interaction in a call center environment should be great customer service, whether the customer is interacting with a human agent or with an automated program. By considering the ways that customer experiences might be personalized, contact center managers often come up with innovative ideas. For example, a system that is able to link a customer phone number to a name and basic information leaves many customers feeling relieved that they were not required to waste time providing information the company already had.

Introduce Human Intelligence to its Artificial Counterpart

While some call center agents might consider AI as an inconvenient eavesdropper listening in the background of every call, others realize just how many benefits are derived from the data gathered. Not only can this data make callers happier, it can also make the workload a little lighter for agents.

Managers that take time to educate call center employees about the benefits and end-results of artificial intelligence have found that agents appreciate and tend to work more willingly with this amazing technology instead of considering it the enemy. Whether these benefits include decreased talk time, an easing of calls during the busiest times of day or automated suggestions about which department might be the most beneficial for each caller, it is certain that both agents and customers can grow to love the AI + HI combination.

As humanity continues to realize the benefits gained from technology, it is becoming easier to appreciate the seamless results derived from the interplay of artificial intelligence and human intelligence, especially when it means better customer service.  

This blog was first published on LinkedIn