I was just at an industry conference focusing on AI (Artificial Intelligence). Someone commented, “AI is going to make us stupid.” Elaborating on that statement, the commenter’s reasoning was that it takes thinking and problem-solving out of the process. We will be given the answer and won’t have to know anything else. I can see his […]
I was just at an industry conference focusing on AI (Artificial Intelligence). Someone commented, “AI is going to make us stupid.” Elaborating on that statement, the commenter’s reasoning was that it takes thinking and problem-solving out of the process. We will be given the answer and won’t have to know anything else.
I can see his point, but there is another way of looking at this. In the form of a question, “Did calculators make us dumb?”
I remembered getting a calculator and was excited that I could do long division by just pushing the buttons on the calculator. Even though it gave me the correct answer, I still had to know what to do with it. It didn’t make me dumb. It made me more efficient.
I liken this to my school days when the teacher said we could bring our books and notes to the final exam. Specifically, I remember my college algebra teacher saying, “I don’t care if you memorize formulas or not. What I care about is that you know how to use the formulas. So, on your way out of today’s class, you will receive a sheet with all the formulas you need to solve the problems on the test.”
Believe me when I tell you that having the formulas didn’t make taking the test easier. However, it did make studying easier. I didn’t have to spend time memorizing formulas. Instead, I focused on how to use the information to efficiently get the correct answer.
So, how does this apply to customer service? Many people think that AI will be used to replace customer support agents – and even salespeople. They believe all customer questions can be answered digitally with AI-infused technology. That may work for basic questions. For higher-level questions and problems, we still need experts. But there is much more.
AI can’t build relationships. Humans can. So, imagine the customer service agent or salesperson using AI to help them solve problems and get the best answers for their customers. But rather than just reciting the information in front of them, they put their personality into the responses. They communicate the information in a way their customers understand and can relate to. They answer additional and clarifying questions. They can even make suggestions outside of the original intent of the customer’s call. This mixes the best of both worlds: almost instantly accessible, accurate information with a live person’s relationship- and credibility-building skills. That’s a winning combination.
No, AI won’t make us dumb unless we let it. Instead, AI will help us be more efficient and effective. And it could even make us appear to be smarter!
Shep Hyken is a customer service/CX expert, award-winning keynote speaker, and New York Times bestselling author. Learn more about Shep’s customer service and customer experience keynote speeches and his customer service training workshops at www.Hyken.com. Connect with Shep on LinkedIn.
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