Digitalisation has brought tectonic changes to the customer service operations and processes of companies, and while there are rumours that machines and AI plan to take over, experts say that this isn’t true. The future is machines and people working together with companies using all available channels in harmony.
While earlier communication between customers and companies was conducted on ‘traditional’ channels like telephone or email, today, the number of methods is almost endless. And while it’s clear there’s been a move toward automation and implementing digital channels, recent statistics show that 41 percent of people using these channels (social media, chatbots, SMS etc.) still needed to contact the company by telephone too. Adorján Bortnyák, the Managing Partner of Geomant, says that the future of customer service is being able to seamlessly manage customers as they jump between different channels and not replacing traditional channels with machines and AI.
Human intervention remains essential
The question is: if digital solutions are gaining bigger and bigger ground, are human employees ever going excluded from the process? Adorján Bortnyák answers this question for us, he says:
“Many people say digitalisation will not stop until human work is completely replaced. However, we do not believe that this will happen as there will inevitably be complex cases where human intervention will still be essential. To build and maintain positive customer experiences, you must put the customer first; this means making sure that there’s a path from the digital channel to a human when intervention is required. With our solutions, we are working to ensure that digitalisation does not replace, but rather complement human work in the call centre.”
Integration between channels is important
A survey in Britain shows that 41 percent of self-service web application users also had to contact the company by phone, so they had to switch channels during the customer service and problem-solving process. ‘Channel-hopping’ like this is becoming more common every day, so it’s crucial that there’s integration between channels to help manage the customer journey. Let’s take a more in-depth look at a use case:
Occasionally, someone starts to complain through chat, email or SMS, but it turns out that the problem is complex and requires human intervention. An integrated solution will transmit information gathered in the chat to a colleague who can call the client back and continue the conversation where he/she left off. Transfers with context are a much more customer-friendly way of dealing with the interaction as there’s no need for the customer to repeate themselves with each new channel. We can also flip this scenario around; if a customer starts their journey on a voice channel, it might be more appropriate to direct them to a digital channel instead.
All channels have their own advantages
According to the expert (Adorján Bortnyák), all channels have their own advantages you just have to apply them most suitably. For example, it’s not worth automating tasks or processes that are uncommon; human intervention is more cost-effective. Whereas, for sensitive processes like debt collection, digital channels might be more suitable. Not only does the customer feel more comfortable not having to talk to an agent, but the payment process can be handled automatically too.
If you found this interview interesting and would like information on digital channels that are designed to work hand-in-hand with AI and robots or if you would like more information on integrated channel management solutions, you can contact us for more information.