If you believe the headlines, robots have threatened to take our jobs for decades. However, as machines continue to get smarter, this reality now seems closer than ever.
Last year, Amazon announced that it employs 45,000 robots across 20 fulfillment centers; Yobot the robot ensures customers enjoy conversation-free service at Yotel’s pod hotel in New York; and "chatbots" continue to help businesses deliver everything from online banking to checking in for flights.
With the rise of the robots hitting full stride, it’s hardly surprising that two-thirds of Americans believe machines will take most jobs currently completed by human beings in the next 50 years. But in a world seeing rapid advances in artificial intelligence, what price should we put on human interaction? Here are some things businesses should keep in mind as they begin to adopt AI technologies.
Technology has altered customer service expectations forever
Today’s always-connected consumers are more adept at seeking out their own answers than ever. Mobile apps and support portals provide customers with the tools to access round-the-clock service without ever needing to speak to a person.
Self-service technologies provide customers with what they want while decreasing the business cost of providing one-to-one assistance delivered by a human. For this reason, a growing number of companies are relying on automated solutions to deliver their customer support experiences.
The rising cost of poor customer service
Yes, consumers want to be able to contact businesses through a wider choice of channels. Nonetheless, what they demand even more is that problems are resolved quickly and efficiently, no matter how they get in touch.
A recent study by NewVoiceMedia explored the impact of poor customer service on profits. It revealed that a failure to meet customer expectations convinced 49% of consumers to use a competing product or service.
What’s more, those who switched admitted to spending an average of $511 with a rival over the course of a year. Added together, this means, by delivering poor customer service, US businesses are directly responsible for putting $62 billion per year into competitors’ pockets.
Never underestimate the power of human interaction
Although machine-powered self-service has changed the role of customer support, businesses cannot afford to lose the power of human interaction entirely.
NewVoiceMedia’s research also indicates that seven out of ten consumers are more loyal to a company that provides excellent customer service. And one of the most important aspects mentioned in relation to customer support was the ability to speak with a person when faced with more complex problems.
Of all the consumers surveyed, 58% specified calling as their preferred method of communication with businesses, and 70% said that speaking to someone is the fastest way to solve an issue. These statistics reveal that for many businesses, the core of aspects of customer care are still carried out in the contact center.
Robot-powered customer service should assist humans, not replace them
Most customers are happy to interact with robot-powered service tech if they can solve their problems. As soon as that doesn’t happen, the monetary cost to businesses can become huge.
Though self-service options and automation are dominating a lot of the current conversation about CX, the voice channel is not going anywhere. In fact, when customer service queries get complex or emotional, research by NewVoiceMedia reveals that 68 percent of people still prefer to resolve their issues by talking to a real person over the phone.
Rather than focusing on removing people from customer service conversations altogether, we believe it’s important for businesses to continue to focus on adding value to the voice channel. NewVoiceMedia has introduced a powerful integrated speech analytics solution called Conversation Analyzer, a unified, pre-integrated platform that offers valuable insights into the data captured during customer interactions.
The system uses speech-to-text to transcribe calls and then deliver intelligent content categorization for instant insight into common themes, as well as data visualization for quick analysis and understanding of the classification and the successes and challenges in every conversation. When combined with interaction data from CRM software, businesses can begin to refine how to boost their successes and manage challenges more efficiently.
To learn more about Conversation Analyzer, join our webinar on Dec.13.
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About Ashley Unitt
Ashley founded NewVoiceMedia to exploit the obvious benefits of putting an enterprise-class contact centre in the cloud, and now serves as Chief Scientist, leading the architecture and research teams.
Prior to NewVoiceMedia he spent ten years at Teamphone.com Ltd developing innovative CTI software solutions including voicemail systems, hot-desking products and an open source gate keeper.
Ashley's blog will focus on security, PCI-DSS and general cloud computing issues.
Outside of work he spends most of his time running around after his two young children. You can follow Ashley on Twitter at http://twitter.com/aunitt.