Striking the Right Balance: AI in CX Automation

Striking the Right Balance: AI in CX Automation

The Gist

  • Unified CX challenge. Brands struggle to maintain consistent CX across platforms.
  • AI investments rise. 50% of US marketers increased AI for CX in 2022.
  • Not a panacea. Some brands wrongly view AI as the ultimate CX automation solution.
  • Human-AI balance. AI handles routine, humans manage critical, empathetic tasks.

Customer experience (CX) is the engine that drives the relationship between a brand and its customers. 

But there are many moving parts to a customer experience and customers now expect a seamless and personalized online shopping experience every time. As a result, maintaining a unified CX across websites, mobile apps, physical stores and social media is an expensive and time-consuming challenge for marketing teams. 

While CX automation is not a silver bullet, it does address customer experience challenges head-on. Nearly half of US marketers increased CX-related AI investments in 2022, according to a report from Insider Intelligence and eMarketer. 

It’s easy to understand why marketers and CX teams turn to artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). After all, CX automation helps streamline activities such as: 

  • Routine customer support requests: CX automation handles basic customer interactions 24/7 (via chatbots) without the need for human interaction 

  • Data analytics and personalization: AI and ML tools can collect and analyze customer data from different sources (website, purchase history, surveys, social media) to create detailed profiles of each customer and then personalize brand interactions with each customer.

  • Cost savings: By automating repetitive tasks, brands reduce the costs of employing a full-time staff. Additionally, automation helps decrease the likelihood of costly errors made by humans. 

Executives report a desire for AI-enhanced CX, with 70% believing their industry is ready to adopt CX automation, according to IBM. Consumers share this desire, with 86% of consumers in a Forbes Advisor survey approving of businesses using AI to create a better customer experience.

But despite the appetite for CX automation, AI is not guaranteed to improve CX just by deploying it. For all the increased use of CX automation, customer service levels in 2021-2022 were down despite more AI implementations, according to an NPS report from Qualtrics XM Institute.

Brands that have invested in AI for CX but have not seen improvement in customer satisfaction and retention are likely viewing AI as a panacea when, in fact, it’s just another tool in the customer experience journey. “The main way brands misuse AI and automation is when they rely too heavily on the technology without enough human involvement and insight,” said Kate O’Neill, author, host of “The Tech Humanist Show,” and founder of KO Insights.

Let’s explore how companies mishandle CX automation and how they can take a more balanced approach to integrating AI tools.

A hammer lies on a wooden surface with two bent screws in front of it, suggesting the misuse of AI in CX automation.
Many companies view AI in CX automation as a panacea when, in fact, it’s just another tool in the customer experience journey.Sergey on Adobe Stock Photos

Related Article: Customer Experience Automation: Best Practices for CX Enhancement

You’re Over-relying on Technology for CX Automation

Chatbots are designed for routine inquiries about the status of an order or the steps for getting a refund. But as every consumer knows, customer support interactions can get complicated fast, and chatbots and virtual assistants aren’t good at “complicated.” 

Whether you’re a retailer, hospital or bank, if you depend solely on chatbots for customer support with no strategy for handing off inquiries to human agents, you’ll inevitably feel the wrath of frustrated customers. 

“If a brand relies too heavily on AI-powered chatbots to handle customer inquiries without offering human support for edge cases, customers may feel unheard and uncared for — which is especially troubling when they have problems that carry emotional burdens, such as when canceling services of a deceased loved one,” said O’Neill. 

“This results in a negative customer experience, and potentially a public relations fiasco if customers share their frustrations on social media.”

Source link