Human and digital-based interactions in call centres and customer service settings

With the rise of chat bots and AI technologies being integrated into mainstream commercial spaces, customers will be offered new ways and opportunities to interact with brands and customers in new ways. Does this signal the end of the traditional customer service experience and how will it affect the call centre industry or customer service jobs?

The role of digital versus human support in a customer’s interaction – different strengths for different situations
It is important to point out from the outset that there is no one perfect solution. Certain situations require different interactions. For example, simple, repetitive interactions can easily be attended to by chat bots and AI – little emotion is required and the interaction is short. On the other hand, interactions that require more understanding of a complex or nuanced situation will require human involvement – our ability to empathise, reason and negotiate is a crucial and defining skill.

The role of authenticity and empathy
Despite the importance of remaining relevant and integrating new, innovative technologies to enable more efficient business processes, it is also important to acknowledge the role that people play in a customer’s interaction with a brand or company.

A critical part of the customer’s interaction or experience with a brand is the ability of the brand to communicate a sense of empathy or personalisation. According to KPMG, there are six pillars of customer experience – personalisation, integrity, expectations, resolution, time and effort and empathy. Empathy, as KMPG describes, is “achieving an understanding of the customer’s circumstances to drive rapport”. This level of understanding and ability to pick up nuances and tones in a conversation may not be supported by chat bots and AI technologies. This pillar plays a critical role in providing a ‘human touch’.

So when will human interaction still be required?
Customers seek answers from different sources depending on the levels of complexity of the issue they are dealing with.  When humans require more information before making a final decision, or are unhappy with something, speaking to a person is often what is required.  Creating a bond with a person over the phone by showing a level of authenticity and interest in their lives helps build empathy, can diffuse a potentially volatile situation and can also help lead to customer retention – good reasons to retain your customer service support team!

Final thoughts
It’s clear that while there is a role for chat bots and AI to play in streamlining and enabling more efficient business processes, interacting with real humans is also critical in satisfying customer needs. The traditional call centre or customer service officer will still need to play a role in the customer’s interaction with a company.

Find out how ADDCOM can help you deliver outstanding customer service. Whether you work in an office or call centre, we have a range of solutions to help you work more efficiently. Speak to our team today.

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