Don’t Be a Turkey When it Comes to Blended AI for Customer Experience

Guest Blog Post by Forrester Consulting

Thanksgiving is a great opportunity to enjoy a big, delicious meal with close friends and family. But anyone who has overseen the preparation of Thanksgiving dinner has memories of waking up at dawn, terrified at the prospect of juggling the preparation of multiple meals, and ensuring that everything is served hot and on time to satisfy your hungry group of friends and family. Given the stress, wouldn’t it be wonderful for artificial intelligence (AI) to make preparing everything for Thanksgiving a breeze?

Think about what it takes to find just the right turkey. Thanksgiving dinner is all logistics. You’ve got 10 people showing up to your house at 6 o’clock, expecting a beautiful Thanksgiving dinner, and as the centerpiece of one of the year’s most lauded and talked over meals, have you really thought about the turkey? What size should it be? How long will it take to cook? Should you marinate it? (Did you even know you could marinate a turkey?)

But when it comes time to serve dinner to the family, and the table has been set and all of the food is ready, with steam wafting from the table’s crown jewel into the room’s central light, the time has come when all are finally able to enjoy the real reason why everyone has come to dinner in the first place: and that is to laugh, enjoy both the company of others and your delicious marinated turkey, and to build stronger relationships with those friends and family. And while it would make life easier, and less stressful, to have a machine completely automate the process and make all of these preparations, it’s important to remember that relationships are sometimes best fostered in the kitchen. And much like the human customer service agent’s role, you must be able to blend your increased efficiencies with the bedrock emotional bonds that make our customer relationships unique and memorable.

In a world where AI could potentially help you get through the preparation of Thanksgiving dinner, consider what AI lacks as well as what it is really adept at. According to a study conducted by Forrester Consulting, AI — while great at performing simple tasks

with great efficiency—cannot create the emotional connection that a human agent can. Indeed, the study confirms that the top challenges customer service decision makers face when it comes to AI solutions are their inability to replicate the human touch and that they can only perform simple tasks (see infographic to the right).

So, even in an imaginary world, how can we use the efficiency of AI to help serve Thanksgiving dinner, while still ensuring that the family feels connected, loved, and satisfied? The trick is to blend the best of both worlds. Use AI to help with the simple tasks, and then step in personally to both deals with complicated tasks and tastings, as well as to build trust through emotional connections. While an AI chatbot can calculate the right-sized turkey for all 10 members of your family, you would make sure it’s perfectly seasoned. AI can determine the right timing for your recipes so that they’re ready in unison, but it’s up to you to cheerfully bring the food to the table and carve the turkey.

Getting the blend just right will ultimately make both you (the ‘human agent’) and the family (the ‘customers’) happier. The Forrester study confirms that among organizations blending both AI and human agents into customer service:

  • 69% report increased agent satisfaction
  • 68% report increased operational efficiency
  • 66% report increased agent productivity
  • 61% report increased customer satisfaction

To read more about how to blend AI with human agents to improve both customer and agent satisfaction, check out the paper Artificial Intelligence with the Human Touch.