Are robots taking over Customer Support?
Updated on 01.14.21
Maybe. They are already here. But we can work together!
The unfortunate incident of the bike
Once upon a time, the world was run by the big men. Big men that hired people to handle their simple tasks. I remember growing up seeing customer service roles as simple, boring, call-centers. You would get a job just because you thought that you could not do anything else. Thirty years later, you are still in the same cubicle, mainly because it was safe. It is all based on what I saw on TV growing up; American TV. Not exactly a romantic picture of what real Customer Service was.
It was not until I found myself in this world by moments of serendipities and chances that I realized how important the role of Customer Service is.
You do hours of research to buy that perfect new gadget. And oops. On the way back home, you fall off your bike, and your precious new toy is damaged. All those hours, and all the money! You go back to the store and explain what happened.
There are two scenarios:
- You are dismissed as clumsy as it is your fault that the other biker decided to invade your lane.
- You are asked first of all if you are ok and then given a new device. No questions. No doubts. Only genuine care.
In the first scenario, you will probably never go back to the store, and most likely, you will tell everyone about your inhumane experience. On the second, you will tell everyone your crazy experience and how happy you were that you did your research and recommend the store to people.
You recommend the store, based on one person. Customer Service has become one of the front roles within all industries. They become the faces of the brands, the voices, creating, and maintaining relationships across many channels. But, what happens when the bots and AI steps in? Are robots taking over Customer Support?
Let’s all join in hands!
It is a fact that AI will displace people and take over jobs once done by people. However, it is not a fact that they will take over the human-role. Because let’s face it: if you are having a problem with your bank account, and you spend 2 hours trying to get a robot to help you where a human can do it in 2 minutes, why would you bother? You will end up more angry at the bot, and thus at the human who has to clean up the bot’s mess, and in consequence, you will probably change banks as your trust in the current one is lost.
Bots are made by humans, so they need our input to effectively solve issues. I believe that Customer Service will pass on to become a problem-solving role more than just a service role where they answer FAQs and whatnot. As such, this role is being redefined with new training and tools are being implemented. Customer Service roles are great start-up jobs where you get to learn about both the company and the clients before taking another step forward.
We also need input from real humans dealing with other humans to understand what we need from a Bot. It is not as simple as having a bot do everything. And in my experience, seeing how we began building a bot from scratch in my previous job, Customer Service roles become central to this idea. They become the source of the effectiveness of the bot. I do not believe this role will cease to exist, but it will become a foundation for the creation of AI’s and Bots everywhere.
One of the main aspects worth mentioning about Customer Service is the connection. The relationships created through Customer Service defines companies everywhere, whether they like it or not. When a regular client recognizes the voice and even the writing style and name via chat, you know you did a good job. We remember those who help us, even when it is something simple. We also remember those who did not and made our day even worse.
The job of a Customer Service agent is to create real connections that will benefit both the client and the company. It is not a one-sided relationship. As we see in these times, we are all in this together. A client’s happiness is a business’ happiness, and an agent’s happiness is a client’s happiness.
I will write in future posts about my experiences in these roles and share all the tips I learned through the years. A man once told me, “the most important person in the world is the one in front of you.” That is the nature of real and rewarding Customer Service. I hope I can share my insight and inspire others to become more service-oriented regardless of your job title.