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The Digital Part of the (Customer Experience) Business

If you do a quick google search for ‘How to improve your Customer Experience?’, the advice is geared towards digital and technology solutions. An omnichannel experience utilising AI and Chatbots is presented as a universal solution to all CX problems. However, there is a very thin line between enhancing your CX strategy with digital solutions and turning your brand into the most frustrating robot in the world.

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Digitising your Customer Experience

The role of technology in customer experience is constantly changing and expanding. It doesn’t only help us deliver a great experience but also understand the customers. Through data analytics and customer surveys you can discover their needs, habits and emotions. Customer experience and expectations are some of the key drivers in digital innovation.

One of the greatest benefits of utilising digital solutions is data collection. Collecting data and using it in the right way can give your company an insight into the needs of your customers. The data you collect can be used to create a more personalised experience and to improve your products and services.

As your business grows, the amount of data you collect will start to rise exponentially. You can use Artificial Intelligence to help you organise, analyse and manage it. 

Which brings us to the next benefit: easier scalability. Automation can do the time consuming tasks for your employees. This way, they can focus on the customer needs and provide a more valuable experience for them. Similarly technology will speed up the process for your customers to get in touch with your business, if they require assistance.  

However, the technology itself doesn’t create or define customer experience, it enables it.

 

The Pitfall

Technology is great but it lacks the one thing that makes humans so special.

Emotion. 

Customer Experience is all about emotions. It is how we feel when interacting with a product or a service. It encompasses tools, processes and management styles that tangibly put the customer at the heart of a company. Investment into technology and digital solutions won’t bring any benefits if you lose the human touch in your CX strategy. 

Human touch accounts for the edge case scenarios that AI is not able to understand nor deal with. By designing your strategy geared towards the digital side of the business, you may be missing the needs of your customers. 

Creating a bond without any human interaction is impossible and it is through the bond you create with your customers that you build trust and loyalty. Artificial Intelligence lacks empathy and if a customer is in a difficult situation it will not be able to respond appropriately. By design, AI’s main goal is to be efficient. While this may sound good on paper, customers require to be listened to and empathised with when something goes wrong. 

 

Finding the balance

When designing your CX strategy you should always have the customer at the centre of all decisions. Put yourself in the customer shoes and use technology to strengthen the bond with your customers at every touch point in the customer journey. By leaving space for direct human interaction, you are accounting for edge case customer journeys that technology isn’t able to deal with.

Balance

 

Invest in technology suited for your business. Choose software that is easy to use and reduces training time of your employees, letting them focus on the customer. Provide articles that help your staff answer the more difficult questions, and use automation processes to deal with simple queries. 

Ensure you are testing your UX design thoroughly. UX design is a huge part of digital design and if it isn’t designed correctly it will only cause issues. Ensure forms are optimised for specific devices and CTA brings the user to a desired location. Remember to provide ample white space and breathing room in your designs for clarity and ease of navigation. 

While customers like to see technology improvements and omnichannel solutions, 75% desire more human interaction when interacting with different brands. The challenge for all businesses is to create the best of both worlds. The warm experience of interacting with a known local shop owner all done while resting and drinking wine on your sofa!

 

If you want to find out more about how to utilise technology and digital solutions in the right way, sign up for one of our courses today at: https://thecxacademy.org/courses/. 

Does Artificial Intelligence have a role in CX?

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Does Artificial Intelligence have a role in CX?

 

Let’s talk about change. Not many people are comfortable with change. We have our routines, our regular customers, trusted suppliers and, yes, we have our competitors too but we know who they are, where they work from and we like it that way.

But the change that software and technology has brought over the past 15 years is something else entirely. However, when I sit back and realise that it’s the way of the world since time immemorial – I begin to get comfortable with that. Genies and bottles, toothpaste and tubes, there really is no going back now.

There’s no doubting the change is massive. Even for small businesses, globalisation and not localisation is the new norm and technology is having a faster and more dramatic impact on our society than the Industrial Revolution. Is it for better or for worse? – richer or poorer? It doesn’t matter – it’s a fact and that ‘bird’ has flown.

How do we manage all of this change and upheaval? There is talk of robots taking all our jobs and there’s drones in LA delivering everything from parcels to pizzas.

So, is there really a place for Artificial Intelligence in CX? And how should we use it?

Bring it on, we say. But be careful how you use it because it really does have its limitations. For the moment we are still the bosses and let’s not forget that.

‘Cybernetics’ is a word that should provide a part of the solution. It’s the study of people and machines. More formally it is “the scientific study of control and communication in the animal and the machine.”

Without getting too scientific about it, Cybernetics can be a way of using technology to help people do their jobs more easily and better. Take radiology for example, where Artificial Intelligence is used to analyse and detect cancer.

cells on MRI scans. This is not to say there is no Radiologist reading our x-rays but it does say that for such crucial work there is another ‘pair of eyes’ available. A good thing? – Yes!

In Customer Experience, we cannot devolve ourselves from emotion. Emotional drivers are the very foundation of the principles of CX and robots don’t have them! We need to use technology for the right things and at the right time, making it work for us so that we get better, faster and more personal.

Another great example would be how Artificial Intelligence can help us is to analyse dense data for anomalies, integrating multiple ‘voice of the customer’ sources such as survey data, call centre and social data which is key to better insights which in turn output useful predictive data. These are monotonous jobs that machines actually do much better. Once the alarm bell has gone off, we can intervene to diagnose the anomaly, then design a solution and implement that solution. No matter how advanced technology becomes, implementation and effective application is crucial. Companies need to be agile, accept the fact that they get things wrong sometimes and be able to change.

A slightly different example of technology is the use of chat-bots and voice command. These technologies have revolutionised how customers interact with companies, provide great personalisation and are very useful for factual, repetitive tasks and initial customer interactions. Companies like Intercom strike the perfect balance of fast automated solutions and having a human ‘feel’.

The interesting thing is we are comfortable interacting with chat-bots or automated voice systems provided we recognise they are automated. It’s okay to make automation ‘feel’ as human as possible but not a good idea to make the customer believe they are talking to a human when in fact they are talking to a robot. This will lead to distrust and frustration through the process.

Another key to the success of chat-bots and automated voice technology is knowing when  to use them. And from a customer’s perspective, once required, a human can intervene.

Paying a bill online or getting a statement balance is fine for automated technology. But try explaining a disputed credit card charge on your statement to a robot and your experience will soon turn to frustration and anger. These situations require human discretion and good companies give authority to staff to resolve problems. There will always be a need for human intervention in the resolution of a customer issue.

Where companies see social skills and creativity as important assets there is always a need for human interaction. Automated checkouts in supermarkets may resolve Time & Effort issues but what negative effect do they have on the human touch factor of a cashier? I’ve regularly seen people queuing up for cashiers because they know them and receive a friendly comment or small, personalised conversation. These are highly valued interactions by people who may only have few other conversations during the day.

The key to using technology is to make it work for us and alongside us. Getting technology to do the mundane, repetitive tasks is what technology is great at. But if we want Customer Experience to work really well, human intervention and interaction is the key.

Maybe one day an automated checkout will ask me if I had a nice weekend but even if it does, it wouldn’t be pushed going back because of it!