Rewriting the AI-narrative: Why AI Won’t Threaten Personalisation

Organisations are racing to embrace AI, but concerns persist among customer-facing teams. Mary Nelson explores the need to shift the narrative around AI from a threat to an enabler.

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Contact CentreInsights

Published: September 21, 2023

Mary Nelson

Mary Nelson

When it comes to AI, businesses in 2023 have found themselves undergoing a very steep learning curve – rapidly moving from awareness to curiosity to opportunity. This is in part due to the value AI can bring businesses, with Google’s UK Economic Impact report estimating that by 2023, the UK economy will receive a £400 billion boost from AI.

But despite AI implementation being a question of “when”, not “if”, concerns remain. Especially for customer-facing teams, for whom the human touch is everything. Their work relies so much on human input and personalisation that even reassurances from the robots themselves might not be enough to convince them that AI implementation is a good thing.

In order to maximise the potential of AI, leaders must not dismiss concerns, but dispel them. And right now, there’s no better way of doing that than shifting their collective mindset to think of AI not as a threat, but as an enabler.

Why customer-facing teams aren’t doomed

This mindset shift won’t happen right away. Aircall’s AI Index shows how 62% of customer-facing teams are concerned that a lack of human input will impact the quality of their work, while 47% predict AI will make their jobs harder.

And it’s not just customer-facing teams that are concerned about the introduction of AI. With Twilio Segment’s fourth annual State of Personalization Report 2023 showing that 41% of customers are comfortable with companies using AI to personalise their experiences.

What’s also driving consumer scepticism is the possibility of a human-free experience.

One reason could be privacy concerns, with only 51% of consumers trusting brands to keep their data safe and secure – and 23% less comfortable about having their personal data being used for personalisation compared to last year. But what’s also driving consumer scepticism is the possibility of a human-free experience. People have already displayed frustrations with an entirely chatbot-based support or those without human reps. And for them, the dawn of AI might spell a more automated, frustrating support experience.

Business leaders must therefore focus on rewriting the narrative around AI; one that shows how AI can unlock a new era for customer experience through the benefits it brings to training and coaching. And how this is good news for customers and employees alike.

How AI can unlock a new era for support coaching

The key to successful AI implementation is knowing where to look. Instead of clumsily dropping AI into your support workflows and upsetting their CSAT figures in the process, leaders should be focussed on using it to tackle their team’s time-intensive tasks.

For instance, 27% of employees said that one of the main barriers to nurturing meaningful customer interactions was a lack of coaching or training. While nearly half (48%) highlight poor materials or lack of them as a key issue.

The key to successful AI implementation is knowing where to look.

There is a clear opportunity for AI to close this gap, and to take the legwork out of creating quality coaching resources. Workers estimate that 23% of the time currently spent on coaching or training other team members could be saved with AI – a transformative figure which comes down to the ability of AI to deliver expert insights without manually having to sift through hours of calls and customer data.

Transcription services, for instance, empower reps to quickly look at a transcript without needing to listen back to a 10 minute-plus conversation, and can pull key words and trends to create playlists. Meaning that whenever a customer mentions a feature or even the name of a competitor, you have a playlist of similar conversations. What’s more, these insights can be used to create broader good and bad playlists, and build playbooks from them, helping reps with do’s and don’ts to help predict increasingly unpredictable customer behaviour.

With the average support rep only spending five hours a week on meaningful customer interactions, AI can revolutionise the support function by helping put humans back at the centre of the customer experience.

Getting personal with AI

There will always be those who have concerns about AI. It is a new technology and the truth is that it will change things massively – how could it not? But by developing a mindset that sees AI as an enablement tool, businesses can ensure that the overarching narrative is a positive one.

This will involve educating teams on the possibilities AI holds and how the technology won’t make the lives of their support teams harder – far from it in fact. The great twist in the AI tale – one populated by misconceptions about a technology coming to squash the humans – is that instead, it’s coming to take human activities to new heights. Now, the incentive for business leaders is to seize the moment and write a new chapter in the AI story for their own business.

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