At Facebook’s F8 developer conference early April 2016, Mark Zuckerberg, announced key developments for the social media company.
The announcement that arguably garnered the most hype was Facebook’s “chat bots,” which are implemented into Messenger. While Messenger claims 900 million international users a month, it also has 30 brands and publishers, like like Bank of America, eBay and Expedia (with certainly more coming) waiting to interact with these users.
This interaction will happen via Facebook’s AI-engineered chat bots rather than human customer representatives.
From my more than 20 years of experience in customer service, I know that this line between automated and human customer service is a fine one, especially as we dive head first into an increasingly digital age.
Our society is becoming ever more dependent on technology and its conveniences and amenities, but we can’t and shouldn’t forget the unique necessities of a human touch to fulfill our services.Apps, and their accompanying artificial intelligence (AI), are becoming a natural part of our everyday lives. Take Uber: the near-approaching behemoth has streamlined the process of hailing a cab, determining the desired destination and paying, and has reached more than 1 billion connection between driver and rider in 410 cities.
Apps help us better connect with other humans that can do services for us. You can order a Lull mattress delivered to your door the next day. You can have someone do your dishes and mop your floor via TaskRabbit.
You can have food delivered to your door in 15 minutes or less from Caviar or have your grocery shopping done by Instacart.
All of these services are initiated by just a few swipes and clicks on a smartphone.
But the actual carrying out of the service — the driver, the deliverer, the mopper — are all done by actual people. The apps merely create a more seamless process for human interaction; they don’t eliminate it. Automated service needs to work together with human-to-human relationships in order to provide the best customer experience possible. Facebook must realize this as it flaunts its chat bots to a wide range of brand suitors.
In reality, consumers want human interaction in their customer service experience more than they want automated technology from an app.
Facebook’s Messenger and chat bots and other such technologies can remove the menial tasks of customer service.They allow human representatives to provide more meaningful, more engaged assistance. AI technology can be leveraged to establish optimal human-to-human relationships and lead the customer service industry to a new, more streamlined, model of the customer service pathway.