How AI is Changing the Customer Service Industry

It’s no surprise that AI (Artificial Intelligence) is really starting to make an impact in the customer service industry. How companies interact with customers is being strongly influenced by this emerging technology. Sure, the “chat bot” comes to mind immediately, but even that has taken a backseat to larger uses of AI which still involve (and improve upon) the human element.

Customers often seek out service because they have a problem and they want a person to empathize with them and make it right. Even with extremely sophisticated AI, a chat bot won’t be able to relate to a human experience, especially if it’s fueled by an emotional attachment.

So, how is AI changing the customer service industry to enable agents to make these human-to-human moments more impactful? Here are a few ways…

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Customer Care Vs Customer Service

It may seem like semantics, but there is a notable difference between customer service and customer CARE. You've no doubt experienced customer service; it can be found in every store you go into, like when you went into that fast food burger chain and politely informed them they got your order wrong. Sure, they handed you the new burger, but they probably weren't what I would consider "happy" about it, and you probably left, new burger in hand, more than a little suspicious that they might have done something to your food.

 

On the other hand, when you experience customer care you want to shout from the rooftops just how wonderful the service received was and how happy it made you. I recently had such an encounter. A few weeks ago I went to a McDonald's with my daughter. The toys advertised were from some TV show she loves, but what she got was some generic pony thing. I told her we would go up to the counter and swap it out after we were done eating.

Lo and behold, a few moments later the manager came walking up with two toys in hand as she had overheard our conversation while she was eating her lunch and wanted to make things right! My daughter chose a toy and was happy. Later, when we thanked the manager, she went ahead and gave my daughter the other toy for free.

I don't even particularly like McDonald's but I want to go back, simply because that manager cared enough to fix things she overheard. We weren't even at the counter yet, but she didn't think what happened was cool, so she interrupted her lunch to amend the situation. McDonald's made a loyal customer of me in that moment. That's the difference between customer service and customer care.

Going That Extra Step

Are you taking that extra step for your customers the way that McDonald's manager did for me and my daughter? The important thing I took away from the experience is how she didn't just wait to let someone else take our request before we even had the chance to complain she took ownership and remedied the situation.

Can you say the same for the customer care you provide? Do you go out of your way to handle business no matter what, or do you let it ride over to your fellow employees?

If you find you do more of the latter, perhaps it would do some good to take a look at your customer service model as a whole. Simply taking that extra step can make your customers feel wanted and appreciated. No customer wants to feel like they're just a number; they want to feel like they are in some small way a part of the company's success, like they matter.

Luckily this is a tremendously easy thing to fix. Try to pinpoint one or two key areas you can boost to really make your customers feel like they are #1 no matter what the circumstance. Implement those and if they are successful, spread the love around until your entire customer service and help desk team has been transformed into a customer care organization!

 

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