Many companies are using automated customer service from the traditional “push this number” phone systems to service ticket email replies to chatbots on their website or social media. Even if you're a small business with a Facebook page, you've probably been prompted to set up automatic messaging. This allows you to provide instant service and reduces the need to hire customer service staff. These services can be easily set up at little or no cost to you.
However, automated systems often cause customer frustration. Angry customers may stop doing business with you and damage your reputation. When a customer types out a detailed description of a problem, they don't want to see “Sorry, I don't understand.” If a customer sends a request by email, they don't want to get a vague automated reply, copy-pasted from the FAQ, which they've probably already checked before they took the time and effort to compose an email.
Sometimes customers have complex complaints or technical issues that just need to be addressed by a real person. Unlike AI, a real person can instantly understand or ask intelligent questions about the problem to get it resolved accurately. Another situation where a real person is helpful is if a customer is extremely angry about a basic issue. Empathy from a human being often calms the customer and gives a more positive impression.
If you care about quality customer service, it's best to aim for a balance between convenience and human communication. For example, have customer service representatives on hand during normal working hours and use automated services outside of these hours, clearly indicating to the customers when they can expect to reach a real person. Automated replies can instantly be sent to email requests, but have an employee check it within 48 hours to make sure it's been resolved.
Why companies switch to AI
When you need a real person
Strike a balance between convenience and human connection