The way our brands interact with customers has been in constant flux. It seems as if every week there’s a new trend or software or system to try. Since the dawn of technology, businesses have been taking leaps and trying new things to stay ahead of the curve. Every company wants to know that it’s serving its customers as best it’s able, and for many businesses, utilizing technology is an important way to do so. Human augmentation, in particular, has been completely disrupting the customer service space, forcing companies to invest, adapt, and understand the way their human interactions can be had through tech.
Here are four ways human augmentation is changing the customer service space and forcing companies to think more strategically about blending humanized efforts and technology in order to serve customers well.
One of the most obvious trends in marketing technology is voice search. No longer forced to type on a touchscreen phone, customers can now shout to a smart speaker and be almost instantly connected with the customer service representative of a certain company. The possibilities for voice technology within your customer service sphere are endless, from the opportunity to create a voice-driven databank of frequently asked questions or the possibility of integrating bots into your customer service calls. The ability to interact with customers through voice, though not in person, is a major shift that is becoming more and more common. Human beings are simply better at being talked to than they are at reading a response to a help desk ticket, and voice search allows them to communicate with your customer service team in a way that’s more humanized.
When companies were first able to start addressing their e-mails to specific names, it seemed like a completely wild concept. Now, of course, most companies take that basic step, but with human augmentation and newer technologies, personalization with customer service is on a whole new level. Massive personalization within customer service will bring loyalty and help make customers feel valued—key components of your customer service efforts. Using software to guess which answer will best suit a customer for a question is one thing, but human augmentation technology can often allow you to personalize that answer for specific situations. Human augmentation technology can also allow you to do things like route calls from certain areas to local agents, meaning people could speak to someone they could eventually meet with in person if need be, or learn quickly which form of communication (e-mail, phone call, social media response, etc.) a customer prefers and then responding in kind from there on out. Customer service is all about the customer, and human augmentation now allows you to personalize your customer service technology in ways that will greatly benefit the people you’re serving.
Automation within the customer service realm is nothing new. These days, most businesses have some form of basic automated process within their customer service plan, like an abandoned cart reminder e-mail. But hyperautomation utilizes current technologies, including artificial intelligence, to take automation to new levels. Obviously, no one tool or technology can replace humans, so hyperautomation usually works within your marketing technology stack in a variety of ways. One important aspect of hyperautomation is that it loops human beings into the service process. Technology and humans actually work together, allowing for an efficient workflow and lots of saved time. One example of hyperautomation would be a software or bot that looks over your customer service product and is able to not only pull out important data and numbers but also make recommendations to you based on those analytics. Another example would be putting a customer with a particular problem in some type of communication funnel where your customer service team can reach out digitally in a set period of time to make sure the person moves from “frustrated” to satisfied”—all automatically put into representatives’ calendars.
The Power of Choice
Probably the most important aspect of human augmentation within customer service is choice. How do customers want to interact with your service team? Human augmentation gives them a variety of options they’ve likely never had before. From utilizing voice technology to utilizing algorithms as part of your customer service strategy, you’re suddenly providing customers with endless ways to reach you and interact with you. If you aren’t providing the same options as a competitor, it’s going to be very easy for your customers to simply walk away and do business somewhere that takes their current lifestyle and technology needs into account. There’s a difference between offering customers choices and offering them good choices, though. When done well, this will result in positive relationships with your customers—you’re letting them communicate with you on their terms, making things efficient and convenient for them. But when there’s a lack of transparency within your customer service technology efforts, you’re going to quickly see a break in trust. Any technology that you decide to embrace, human augmentation or otherwise, needs to be implemented with the customer in mind. You also never want to completely eliminate a way for a customer to get a customer service rep on the phone—it’s old school, but it works, and many people still prefer it.
At the end of the day, customer service will always have a need for in-person interactions. There’s something about being in the physical presence of your customers that will always be useful when it comes to solving problems. A company can’t exist solely online, nor should it. But if the coronavirus pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that much of our life can be lived online these days. And if utilizing human augmentation to better serve your customers is a good fit for your company, it isn’t something to be avoided.