Artificial Intelligence: The Future of Customer Service?

May 17th, 2016 by | No Comments

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Artificial Intelligence or AI has been a popular topic in the tech industry lately, and was widely discussed at this year’s SXSW. The technology has massive potential for customer service and engagement, but will it ever be able to completely replace the need for human agents?

Automating some aspects of customer communication could definitely save businesses significant time and resources. It can be used to answer straightforward questions, thereby giving human agents more time to deal with complex issues. By programming their systems to filter incoming messages according to specific categories while identifying and responding to simple inquiries such as, “Are you open on Sundays?” or “Do you have this shirt in medium?” businesses can also benefit from improved efficiency and productivity. Moreover, AI can be used in training as a means of supporting, augmenting, and facilitating human interactions.

So if AI becomes really advanced, will automated systems ever gain the ability to completely make sense of the complexities of every customer query, many of which are not likely to follow the same patterns? Moreover, will this technology be able to fully mimic human empathy and pick up on nuances in speech, language, and discourse across all cultures?

Probably not. Although it’s apparent that AI will be a major driver in customer communication and that automated systems can result in greater efficiency and productivity, technology is no more perfect than the people working behind it. If brands want the technology to be truly embraced by their consumers, they need to be transparent and receptive to continuous feedback. Trust is key to effective communication. Also, brands need to understand that some customers will always feel more at ease talking to a real human, especially when their query is more complex than “Does this dress come in green?”

Undoubtedly, scientists and researchers will continue to work on improving AI and making it more advanced and human-like in its communication. However, real people will always be needed to ensure that the subtleties and ambiguities constantly present in human communication are fully understood.

About the author:
Jehan S. Ismael is a full-time writer and editor for a leading Internet Marketing firm. She has a love-hate relationship with food, likes to listen to rock and rap music, and enjoys reading books by self-absorbed writers like J.D. Salinger and Anthony Bourdain.

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