The effect of technology on customer experience has been well documented in recent years. With so many different kinds of companies trying to bring their CX into the future, online surveys, chatbots, and other methods have become standard across several industries. But with this shift towards tech-focused customer experience management comes an important question: how much tech is too much?
Making digital interaction the foundation of a customer experience strategy puts businesses at risk of alienating older generations and customers who do not want to engage with the brand this way. However, brands that avoid integrating tech into their CX strategies entirely will be missing exciting opportunities to improve their efficiency and long-term viability.
This makes finding the right balance between these two extremes a critical task for customer-focused businesses. Even though many customers expect to interact with various kinds of tech, they typically will only have a strong reaction if it is malfunctioning.
Where Do Customers Stand?
Currently, consumers are pretty split on whether or not they want to interact with chatbots and other automated features. When it comes to customer service lines and help centers, Voxpro has found that 56% of consumers have not used automated features because they prefer interacting with real people.
Additionally, 49% of people are willing to interact with an automated service for information-gathering purposes, with a person following up to actually resolve their issue. When digital solutions and human service are put head-to-head, 70% of respondents say they prefer people. A PwC survey has also found that 75% of consumers want more human interaction than they are getting now, not less.
From this, it is clear that the demand for genuine human service is still very real in the Digital Age. There are several reasons for this, including the concern that digital assistants will be unable to fully understand customer requests and concerns. This sentiment shows that the root cause of this uncertainty about automated service is not the technology itself, but the belief that this tech is not quite up to the task at this point in its development.
It is hard to blame companies for leaning on technology for their customer experience when new tech solutions can theoretically solve most common complaints about customer service. Chatbots can provide responses quicker than real employees, and with many customers unhappy with slow responses and long wait times, it should come at no surprise that a company would look into trying a quicker alternative.
However, based on customer feedback surveys, it is clear that while speed is important, it is not everything. Having an actual person on the other end should make it easier for customers to receive support that actually fits their specific requests and issues, instead of generic responses that are not always helpful or relevant.
What is important to note is that customers who want more service from people are not necessarily opposed to interacting with technology during their experience with the brand. After all, there are numerous areas where personal service can be improved through the use of technology, as well as areas where automated service requires the interpersonal skills of an actual employee.
Empowering Human Interaction
While studies on preference between automation and humans have shown the main concern is a lack of comprehension from digital assistants, a lack of empathy is just as troubling. Customer service representatives are able to effectively help customers because they can understand what it is like to be a customer in need of assistance. They are able to explain situations with nuance and possess the emotional intelligence that is required to deal with dissatisfied customers.
Advancements in technology have made it easier to connect customers with support staff, and innovation that facilitates human interaction instead of replacing it will play a key part in winning over consumers who are afraid that technology will kill jobs.
In a business landscape where human interaction is still essential to success, tech solutions need to put people first by supporting the operational aspects of the business. By having a system in place that automatically collects customer feedback and notifies staff members when personal service is needed, businesses can get the best out of both their automated systems and their actual employees.
Technology will be embraced by customers as long as it is used purposefully and in coordination with attentive personal service, and businesses that are able to do this will be well-equipped to deliver exceptional experiences.
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