Presented by FlightHub

Businesses, employees, and customers are wondering: What will a future with more and more AI look like? Technology advances every day. The prospects of what AI may bring are exciting, especially as it pertains to customer service. Unfortunately, automation is often sensationalized. Just consider Newsweek’s recent article, “AI and Automation Will Replace Most Human Workers Because They Don’t Have to Be Perfect — Just Better Than You.”

Artificial intelligence is meant to facilitate human customer service, not eliminate it.

While FlightHub and JustFly are very focused on developing the AI and machine learning aspects of their technology to improve the customer experience, they are also heavily investing in growing their service centers. Here, they weigh in on the AI versus human customer service debate.

Service vs execution

Distinguishing between customer service and task execution is important. Machines are highly effective at the latter, while humans excel at the former. AI interprets code much more efficiently than humans ever will. On the other hand, only people can sincerely show the full range of human emotions.

Human customer service agents show concern, flexibility, empathy, and several other invaluable skills needed to give customers a unique and rewarding experience.

“The real opportunity for businesses is to blend AI with human effort. That combination is a game changer for organizations that want to give consumers the fast, efficient, informed service they want,” says Mark Turner, Executive Vice President of Genesys. “But businesses must find the right mix of digital channels, automation, AI and human involvement — or they risk making their customers unhappy. We do not believe AI will replace the need for live support, rather, it is the catalyst for positive change in the way humans work and how consumers get service.”

The human touch

Companies should always be customer centric. Knowing when and where to use AI to augment the customer service experience is crucial.

Imagine working from home. You spend most of your waking hours alone. A short trip to your local corner store and a quick chat with a friendly face are things you look forward to. Of course, having great technology to facilitate your transaction is good. However, having the best of both worlds is ideal.

You want to talk about the big game, be asked about your new job, or even have a quick chat about how terrible the weather has been. You want to be recognized. You want to be remembered. You want some semblance of care. What you don’t want is mimicked behavior generated by data and online behavior analysis.

Blending AI with human effort

There’s no denying the progress and benefits of automation. AI and similar technology are elevating businesses to previously unfathomable heights. Companies should take advantage.

Customers, however, are still very human. They want to interact with other humans. They need to know the person on the other end of the phone appreciates their hard-earned dollars and genuinely intends to help.

“Technology, in the context of service, is generally an expression of human understanding of what the ideal outcome should be. When faced with unpredictable circumstances, it’s often not possible for technology to find the optimal outcome,” says Patrick McFern, Chief Customer Experience Officer at FlightHub. “We truly depend on the expertise of humans in service roles to continue to influence and automate the lengthy or tedious parts of their work, but ultimately, humans connect best with humans. This is where great service will set itself apart, by being administered by humans for humans.”

Sometimes we need quick and efficient. Other times we need friendly and compassionate.

There’s a delicate balance. Technology and humans don’t have to cancel each other out. There’s a happy medium where they not only coexist; they thrive.

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