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Why AI Isn’t the Gold Goose for Customer Service

Why AI Isn’t the Gold Goose for Customer Service

AI Can Help Customer Service

AI is a valuable tool in many occasions and applications within the business world. But it isn’t a magic bullet. You can’t apply it at will in any business area and expect to see statistically superior results.

It’s important to consider what AI is, how it can add value to a situation, and whether it is superior to traditional procedures, methodologies, and activities. This is especially true for an area like customer service.

Let’s consider what AI is in business, how it relates to customer service, and how businesses should beware of its limited uses.

AI Isn’t a Golden Goose (It’s a Tool)

When asking, “What is AI,” we’re not talking about specific, mathematical or engineering descriptions. An AI program’s algorithms and other complexities are helpful to understand in particular settings. What really matters here, though, is understanding what AI is in the context of business.

Seeing AI as the Goose That Laid the Golden Egg is tempting. Over time, it can make all your problems disappear, right? Wrong.

The “Golden Goose” perception is the wrong way of looking at AI. Really — when you break things down, AI is another tool businesses can use. Is it a powerful tool? Sure. Is it a diverse and flexible tool? Absolutely. Nevertheless, it is still a tool.

Tools Aren’t Sentient, and AI Isn’t, Either

AI is a powerful business tool. It can scour the web quickly and provide nuanced answers to complicated questions. Even so, we must remember that, at the end of the day, it is still just a business tool. It requires someone to direct it toward a viable objective to become relevant.

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The New Yorker points this out, saying, “The fact that ChatGPT rephrases material from the Web instead of quoting it word for word makes it seem like a student expressing ideas in her own words, rather than simply regurgitating what she’s read; it creates the illusion that ChatGPT understands the material.”

The publication adds, “In human students, rote memorization isn’t an indicator of genuine learning, so ChatGPT’s inability to produce exact quotes from Web pages makes us think that it has learned something.”

Customer Service Requires More Than Tools

Customer service is a complicated area of business. It primarily takes place after the point of sale, which gives it an “afterthought” overtone in the eyes of many business leaders. However, any exec worth their salt knows quality customer service is essential to sustainable success for a brand.

Customer service is where you create trusting, loyal, and genuinely satisfied customers that you can retain over time. This emphasis on nuanced customer interactions means you need more than just the right tools to offer quality customer support. You need intuition, experience, and expertise. These human aspects are a central part of many customer service interactions.

To be clear, this isn’t always the case. If a customer has a quick question about when a business is open or needs help finding a resource, a chatbot can help. This is an effective way to use AI in customer service, as it eliminates the need for human agents to repeatedly answer the same simple questions.

However, using an AI tool doesn’t address the most severe customer service problems. On the contrary, the more significant purchase or, the more complicated a product, the more critical comprehensive, adaptable human support is to create happy customers.

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Larger Purchases and AI

Companies that deal in larger purchases are well aware of the limitations of AI.  HVACDirect.com is one of these. The e-commerce HVAC retailer has responded by investing in an exceptional customer service model. This offers human support and help from industry veterans with years of in-field experience. It also extends beyond sales questions and includes troubleshooting, installation support, or product questions.

“Too often, investing in HVAC equipment can feel overwhelming and confusing,” the online HVAC retailer explains, “Even if you’re familiar with furnaces, air conditioning units, and related products, you might need help picking the perfect model. Yet getting help can be challenging, especially if you’re buying online.”

The repercussions of short-changing the need for quality human customer support are significant, too. PWC reports that 59% of customers will ditch a brand after multiple bad experiences. 17% will walk away after just one incident. CGS adds that nearly 40% of consumers consider speaking to a human agent a top three requirements for a happy customer service interaction. There’s too much at stake with customer service to trust inherently limited AI algorithms.

AI Isn’t the Customer Service Solution We Think It Is …Yet

AI is a great business tool when used correctly. However, treating it as a panacea for all of your customer service woes is a bad idea. The current capabilities of AI tools aren’t good enough to handle more than the most basic questions customers ask.

That isn’t to say that AI won’t get there over time. The tech world is always advancing, and theoretically, artificial intelligence could reach a point where it can be nuanced enough for complex customer questions. We aren’t at that point yet, and business leaders should be wary of placing too much trust in AI customer solutions.

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For now, quality human representatives remain the best option to keep existing customers happy, loyal, and in the fold.

Featured Image Credit: Pexels; Thank you!

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