There’s been a lot of hype about AI, robots, chatbots and the like. And I admit I cover this topic. I speak on this topic as well – and I think it’s an exciting time in technology. But I’m getting tired of the hype of artificial intelligence.
While we talk up robots, AI and there is nothing like being served by someone who seems to genuinely want to be serving. One reason we are so excited about robots, automation and self-service technology is we’ve been trying to create space between brands and customers for years. Dealing with customers can be expensive, resource draining and time consuming.
The idea is: “how can we push as many people as possible through the same experience while keeping our operating costs as low as possible?” But let’s have a straight talk about robots and automation. Would you want a robot giving you an important medical diagnosis? Would you want to go to a theater and watch a cast of robots perform for you? Let’s talk about stuff robots can’t do and calm down with this dystopian view of the future where people lose their usefulness.
10 Things Robots Can’t Do
1. A robot can’t look you in the eye
Machines will not destroy man as long as we remember machines are in service to mankind. Last night I was watching the film “Hidden Figures” – in the movie the actor who plays astronaut John Glenn says regarding the IBM mainframe that shot out potentially incorrect trajectory information for his landing “you can’t trust something you cant look in the eyes.” He’s right. Would you trust something that can’t interpret events, actions, or tones as much as a human? Machines are in service to us. It should always be that way. When we let technology loose without much management or interference from a human – it usually doesn’t end well.
2. Consider the feelings of the other person
If an interactive voice response (IVR) program (a phone tree) could consider and interpret the feelings of customers on the other end of the phone, the robot might malfunction in shock. Many people have thrown their phone on the ground, tired of an IVR that doesn’t understand what they (the customer) are requesting. Or the IVR doesn’t offer what the customer requests. Customer service can be a messy business because you are dealing with human emotions. There’s a gray area. As customer frustration and anger goes up, a human being should be able to gauge that, sincerely apologize and offer some kind of appropriate service recovery. Service recovery means I will give you X for your inconvenience. Robots cannot consider feelings – genuinely, like a person can. Today millions of companies settle for terrible IVR experiences, keeping their customers at bay – never realizing how many customers they lose overnight because of these hard of hearing robots.
3. Make a person feel seen or heard
Sometimes working in customer service is like being a psychologist….