Human-machine partnerships are key to the future of customer experience
The age-old debate on technology versus human capability remains inconclusive. But in this time of artificial intelligence (AI), analytics and cloud, we’re seeing more opportunities to think of how humans and machines can come together as a team, rather than being opposing forces. From diagnosing diseases and delivering effortless customer experiences, to understanding human preferences and providing new customer insights, the human-machine partnership is evolving, and more in-sync than ever. That’s making our lives simpler and more convenient.
Gartner predicts that, by 2025, context-driven analytics and AI models will replace 60 per cent of existing models built on traditional data. We will see new types of data, including unstructured data such as audio, video and images, being leveraged to give organisations a competitive advantage, get more value and develop new use cases to set the stage for a new customer-driven era.
This offers a glimpse into a future of close human-machine partnership, where we think, collaborate and create using technology and business intelligence. This kind of partnership is important when the objective is to empower customers with personalised and relevant insights that can help them make informed decisions to buy products or subscribe to services, which in turn adds to the trust and loyalty in a company.
A real-life example of this can be found in an intelligent virtual agent or chatbot used by organisations to provide personalised service and guidance to people. Chatbots use AI and scripted rules to ask questions, identify the challenge and resolve customer queries.
On paper, chatbots appear to be a fool-proof solution to creating and delivering a good customer experience with fewer human resources, but a recent Avaya study with Ipsos indicates that, based on their last interaction with a virtual agent, only one in three customers would recommend that business to others. This is because only 50 per cent of the respondents actually had their issue or concern resolved through the chatbot.
This lack of success is due in part to the historical complexity of developing and delivering effective virtual agent solutions. Traditionally, it could take months to deploy a virtual chatbot, by which time consumer preferences, business processes, or even basic company information may have changed. Against this background, relying on a chatbot alone is a failure to leverage the potential of human-machine partnership.
Meanwhile, advanced capabilities and technology potential also does away with misconceptions about technology taking over jobs. This perception stems from the inability of companies to have an open discussion with employees about embracing AI across business functions. Using technology with a purpose is known to help employees focus more on business innovation and value-added tasks, rather than spending time doing mundane work. It is a company’s responsibility to demonstrate and educate their employees on how technology can augment and support their work to achieve satisfaction.
In today’s experience economy, and the data analysis it requires to compete in it, human abilities can fall short. But relying entirely on machines is hardly the right approach – organisations need both the automated, fast-calculating power that AI brings to bear. But they also need the human ingenuity that’s required to solve complex issues. The focus, then, should be on adopting AI technologies that enhance the skillsets of your employees.
Savio Tovar Dias is the senior director – Sales Engineering at Avaya International
Read: Human error in data analytics, and how to fix it using artificial intelligence
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