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05.07.18 | blog

In an AI World, Live Agents Remain the Key to Exceptional CX

You’ve been hearing about AI, machine learning, automation, and other terms used to describe the wave of disruption impacting industries for a few years now. These technological advancements are no longer “emerging” tech. They have been improved, are now cheaper to use, and seamlessly integrate into current platforms, services, and software. It’s turning the CX industry on it’s head. Imagine this, an AI chatbot that can understand and interpret language, is able to learn and runs through thousands of simulations using your own CX data to perfect and provide exceptional CX with every interaction. No, this isn’t the future. This is the now.

 Looking at it from a holistic view, the automation of repetitive or simpler tasks begins to open a world of possibilities for the frontline customer experience services. The automation of the repetitive or simple will free up bandwidth that would otherwise bog down your customer service frontlines and allow them the time needed to surprise and delight the customers that make it through the chatbot and still demand assistance and resolution. When you consider that most of your customer care frontlines are reactionary, meaning you’re having to service disgruntled customers most of the time, it becomes even more of an imperative to try and build a CX model that delights, that goes above and beyond, that is anticipatory rather than reactive. You’re dealing with an economy which has become defined by two words, “Everything Now”. Automation is but a small component of a diversified CX strategy; it’s not enough. According to Five9’s 2018 Customer Service Index, 54% of consumers surveyed still prefer to interact with companies over the phone. It’s human nature; having someone listen to you, someone be empathetic to your plight, someone allocating their time to you in your time of need. Those kinds of experiences are priceless to your brand and, most importantly, to the customers that define your brand. In short, when a customer calls your company, it’s an opportunity.

AI and automation have clear and tangible benefits, but what about abnormal or extraordinary circumstance not normally found in your AI model or simulation?  How could your model ever account for the extraordinary when it’s built by a system of laws that don’t stray far from the average? They can’t. What happens when a desperate parent calls your brand because they are concerned their family might have been exposed to salmonella by one of your products? What happens when family and friends, worried sick, call your brand, desperate to know the status of the flight their loved ones were on because it was on the news that an engine failed mid-flight? Is AI going to understand the urgency? Is AI going to empathize?  Is AI ready to deal with the extraordinary? The other component to consider is if your current CX live-agent operations are capable of scaling 40% intraday or 250% intraweek when moments like these arise. It’s not a question of if, it’s a question of when.

Building and executing on a CX operation boils down to understanding the intricacies of human behavior. When is it the right time to push for the human-to-human interaction? Customers are more demanding than ever, and your brand has to deliver 24/7/365 through all expected and unexpected channels. Machine learning, AI integration, and automation are the next steps in the evolutionary Darwinism of customer care; they are masterfully-built components of the greater whole. The lesson to remember, however, is that we are fundamentally social creatures and that the need for human interaction is built into our genetic makeup. We cannot allow our natural fixation on technology to blind us to the fact that customers are humans. And where technology ends, your CX should be prepared to “surprise and delight” your customer with an extraordinary experience that truly defines your brand, delivered in a way that can only be done by another human.

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