Remember when customer service involved talking to a live person? If IBM has its way, soon your issues with your order will be handled by LivePerson, an AI-based chatbot that apparently is so realistic, they’re trying to fool you into thinking it’s a real, living, breathing human being on the other end.
Sure, a lot of those customer service interactions of yesteryear were a bit contentious, since most people don’t call a customer service line to report that everything went exactly the way it should. But at least you got off the phone knowing the problem you called about was resolved—or would be soon.
Turning customer service functions over to artificial intelligence is at least better than trying to figure out what the person who’s based in a country where English is at best a second language is saying on the other end, but it still strikes me as a bit too cold and distant.
LivePerson is one of a few new customer service-based platforms IBM recently rolled out through its Watson Anywhere approach to life. IBM also recently announced enhancements to its Watson Assistant that the company says with increase the frequency of friendly customer service interactions.
“Businesses are no longer competing with other companies’ products,” the IBM blog post says. “They are competing with a customer’s last great experience. There’s a growing opportunity to deliver that white-glove customer experience by integrating AI to create a personalized touch.”
Watson Assistant’s new features “are designed to provide the positive, memorable experience just like your customer service representative,” the company says.
LivePerson: Customer Service Goes Digital
I understand that everyone is looking to cut costs and save money wherever they can and that means things like customer service are looked at as non-essential functions when compared to engineering and research—and, of course, marketing.
To me, though, customer service should be considered among the most important parts of any business’ operation and company leaders should do everything they can to make sure that part of their company is as pristine as possible.
I personally would much rather talk to—and, yes, sometimes yell at—a customer service rep in the hopes of getting my problem solved quickly—or sometimes not so quickly, I suppose. I can’t be alone, although I know the generations behind me prefer digital fixes.
That doesn’t mean I never “talk” to a chatbot when it’s the only way to get a problem solved, but I always prefer dialing the phone and listening to that hold music as the company I’m calling wades through its “unexpectedly high call volume.”
Are AV integrators hearing from their customers that they want to incorporate AI as their new customer service teams? Is this something that’s simply going to happen, no matter how many clouds I yell at or kids I shoo off my front lawn?
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