Natalie Calvert says while artificial intelligence has an intriguing upside for customer experience practitioners and leaders, there's an even more exciting resource at our fingertips.
I don’t claim to be an expert on Artificial Intelligence (AI). I’m sure staggering advances are being made replicating people and the potential of AI to deliver customer service in a cost-sufficient way makes it very appealing to customer experience leaders.
But lost in the hype of AI, I think we’re missing the potential of the most exciting trait that your business currently has in its possession: Human Intelligence (HI).
Humans are AMAZING. That’s why AI is trying to replicate us!
Human beings are incredible. Not only are humans amazing at processing information, we can seamlessly do this while communicating with other people. Human Intelligence puts customers at ease, interprets poorly communicated ideas, suggest solutions to problems and ultimately defines what it's like to deal with an organisation.
Perhaps, one day, after much trial and error and many trillions of dollars of investment, scientists will build bots that are able to perfectly replicate humans. But until (and if) this happens, why not make use of the real thing?
Humans are AMAZING. That’s why AI is trying to replicate us! Think about the customer-facing people in your organisation and the things they excel at:
Skilled customer service professionals are so effective because they empathise with their customers. Because they ‘feel their pain’, they are more likely to defuse situations and put customers at ease. All businesses make mistakes, its the empathic staff who fix the problems. This is what creates the customer loyalty which keeps the money rolling in.
Customers don’t always communicate in an efficient way. An effective customer-facing professional is able to break this communication barrier to learn exactly what the customer wants. They do this by adapting their questioning, changing their tone or repositioning their questions. It’s a nuanced art which in my opinion, is also uniquely human.
Adapting to circumstance
Sometimes, customer interactions go in an unpredictable direction. Emotions change - perhaps the customer started off angry, wanting to leave. After defusing the problem, an observant customer-facing professional is able to steer the conversation in a new direction, perhaps solving other problems or introducing new products. It’s an unheralded skill which can be the difference between losing business and upselling additional services, and a huge part of Human Intelligence.
Why is it that despite the staggering advances in computer graphics, we are able to spot a computer-generated special effect in a movie straight away? We may choose to ignore it, preferring to immerse ourselves in the story, but we know it's there. This is because no matter how sophisticated the image, our brains are tuned into authenticity.
AI is intriguing, but it’s Human Intelligence I’m more excited about.
It is the same with technology Yes, a bot may be able to give us answers, but will we want to build a relationship with them? Relationships are critical to successful organisations and so we ignore this aspect of Human Intelligence at our peril.
Will AI ever replicate all of these traits? I’m not sure if it will. But even if it does, why wait that long? We have the real thing at our fingertips so let’s make better use of our people. AI is intriguing, but it’s Human Intelligence I’m more excited about!
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