When AI meets customer service: 5 questions to ask

When AI meets customer service: 5 questions to ask

Don’t frustrate customers who want to talk to a human. Ask these questions to find the right balance of people and AI tools

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3: Personas and journey mapping: What are our customer demographics and preferences, and how do we align with them?

All decisions that impact customers must actually take customers into account. It’s a simple enough tenet, but one that is easily forgotten. Greater success can be found by analyzing the various desires, motivations, needs, and preferences of a customer base to build customer personas and journey maps.

These materials guide design teams in pinpointing how different tools or functionalities will effectively answer customer needs. They can be further used to test how to help or educate consumers who may believe they want a non-digital channel of its benefits. Essentially, you're changing a consumer’s perception on the fly.

4: Creating the ‘out:’ Are we giving customers options for human interaction?

There is no singular customer engagement flow that will always work. A great example of this is an automated phone system that keeps callers in an endless loop of questions that can’t provide a resolution to a complex issue – no matter how many times the caller hits zero or yells for a rep. In this instance, consumers can be trapped in a flow that isn’t working for them.

Instead, customers need communication options, and they need an out from each one – a way they can switch to a different tool when and if they need to, whether that’s digital-to-human or vice versa.

5: Testing and feedback: Is our plan working?

A full digital transformation isn’t a closed-loop process. It requires a key culture change, one that identifies a new definition of ‘done.’ As organizations focus on driving new digital experiences, engagements, and services, there grows a need for constant tweaking and improvement.

The customer experience is, after all, on a 24-hour operating cycle. Therefore, leaders and their teams must continuously look at data, create hypotheses, and evaluate if and how the needle is being moved.

No matter what phase a business is in or what their end goal may be, digital transformation is a complex and often daunting process. Success can easily be threatened by the wrong choices at the wrong time. By implementing the above five imperatives, the journey toward digital can be a smoother one.

[ Want lessons learned from CIOs applying AI? Get the new HBR Analytic Services report, An Executive's Guide to Real-World AI. ]


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