To streamline processes and reduce spending, many businesses have begun to transition to an automated customer experience (CX). While automated CX has the potential to maximize productivity and profitability, it comes with drawbacks of its own, which companies should carefully consider before deciding to automate. Here, we explore the top reasons to restrain when it comes to automating marketing processes.
Technology is Impersonal
Customer service is built on the human connections between agent and client. Empathy and kindness are important aspects of customer service that are often thrown out the window altogether when automation gets involved. No one wants to be greeted with an automated condolence message when calling an insurance company for a death-related claim.
Customer service automation may save time and money upfront, but present technology lacks the personal touch necessary for businesses to establish real connections with customers. That’s not to say big data analytics isn’t important in growing your business and keeping up with competitors; it is. It allows healthcare professionals to track disease outbreaks and business owners to measure return on investment (ROI).
Big data skills are high in demand, with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimating mathematical science occupations to grow 27.9% nationally from 2016 to 2026. Career options vary by field, catering to the unique needs of businesses and increasing their efficiency across the board.
However, intercultural communication in business is often overlooked when big data is used to design automated systems. These systems are unable to break down cultural barriers and foster strong relationships, meaning any business employing these tactics may find itself in jeopardy down the line. More and more, businesses are finding there is no simple substitute for the human touch.
A Note on Diversity
America’s identity is shifting, with more diverse and non-White nationals than ever before. Some of these individuals are immigrants, while others were born here but continue to identify with diverse cultures, languages, religions, and ways of life. AI is simply unable to respond to this melting pot of diversity or break down the barriers needed to gain widespread public trust.
Less Work for You Means More Work for Customers
AI-powered chatbots are a ubiquitous feature on many websites today, and that’s just one example of how AI innovations are influencing all aspects of marketing. From improving conversion rates to generating ads, artificial intelligence has begun to make its mark on the world of marketing.
However, while AI-driven solutions can be useful in answering commonly asked questions or pointing users in the right direction, they’re certainly not a panacea for customer service (although AI does have the potential to save companies millions of dollars). There’s a reason we rely on professionals to help us with tasks we may be unable to perform ourselves. After all, you wouldn’t undertake a vehicle repair with no experience; you’d entrust the job to a mechanic who knows the ins and outs of car repair.
When companies eliminate human customer service options on their sites, users may become frustrated when they experience an error or have a less frequently asked question that needs answering. Rather than hunting through your site to locate a human contact, many users will give up at this point, resulting in lost business.
Service is always better with a personal touch, and technology should be used to enhance customer service, not derail it. One stand-out example of this concept in practice is Domino’s Pizza Tracker, which allows customers to follow the production of their pizza from start to finish, complete with team members’ names and timestamps.
Use technology to aid customer service, but remember to put yourself in the customer’s shoes. Is it difficult for your clients to make human contact within your company? Are they receiving multiple promotional emails each week? Perhaps it’s time to rethink your marketing strategy.
Tell Your Story
Every business has a story, and that story is the key to developing genuine connections with your customer base. Nearly 80% of customers want brands to tell a story, and that’s no small number to scoff at. There are several ways in which storytelling can inform your marketing strategy, whether you’re building narratives out of data, better understanding your users’ habits, or relaying the story of your company’s humble beginnings. This is especially true when it comes to how influencers play into your marketing and customer experience strategy as well. They allow customers to find a genuine connection with others who share similar interests in the products and services they are seeking out.
It will be difficult to convey the empathetic messages your company stands for if AI chatbots and impersonal emails are overwhelming your potential customers. Cognitive scientist Jerome Bruner even posits that we are 22 times more likely to remember something when it’s been conveyed to us in a story-like format. That’s because, as humans, our brains are wired to process stories rather than raw data. It’s also something to keep in mind when designing the optimal customer experience: there is no substitute for human interaction.
Customer service does not equal customer experience, and that’s what businesses must understand as they’re pressured to adapt to an increasingly automated world. Systematically monitoring ROI and other metrics can help your business adapt to the needs of your clientele, but when designing the customer experience, companies should use technology as a helping hand rather than an end-all and be-all.