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Customer Centric

How to Automate Customer Service

October 21, 2012

Replace people with technology.  Technology is more consistent, less expensive, requires no supervision never refuses an order.  There is the argument that an electronic device will give better customer service than a human.

 David Meerman Scott tests Anna from IKEA.  Anna is an automation.  Through a series of very simple questions, Anna from IKEA proved that she may be retarded and in the end answered only one question correctly.

Programming a digital human proved to be ineffective when helping David Meerman Scott's wife with a bed and mattress.

If you have the opportunity to hire a virtual assistant who is in reality nothing more than digital construct, how will your questions be answered vs. someone with training and experience?  They are certainly looking more lifelike.  Is this considered customer-first culture? 

The good news about the digital virtual assistants which automate customer service:

  • If you can invest in virtual speaking avatars, you are able to measure results.  Which pages convert, which do not?  The speaking avatars don't snitch staplers and never go for lunch.  They are not back late from breaks and won't sue the company when someone stupid slips up and sexually harasses them.

How long it takes to take care of a customer is not as relevant since the software is not on the clock.  "Take as long as it takes to answer the questions." was not always the direction when paid staff were taking the calls.

Another example of a system to "improve" customer service online is Sitepal.  If you watch the video, you will be impressed that an automated online software presence can slip into the virtual chair to greet visitors and invite them to take the next step.

It may be better since the visitor knows there is no heart pumpling, no agenda and no sales commission.

Here is an introduction to Sitepal:

Starting at $9.95 per month, any business can improve their online presence which says: "We want you to believe this is a real person".

Humans are sensitive to being directed by voice and even a automaton giving directions can be the one to do it.  Think though about what the world would look like if pre-programmed virtual talking avatars were the first contact of most businesses.  How fast will service be and will the customer be impressed for the long term?

A customer-first business culture does believe in streamlining, automation and leveraging the opportunities.  However, to do so to the extent of unhumanizing the customer experience, it will be more profitable in the long run to maximize the opportunities only a well trained team can provide.

Before you take the fast and easy way out to represent your company with digital beings, be sure to download the 15 Customer-First Habits Checklist.  It is free and ready to download.