Who you gonna call? Person or Processor? In this technological age, who would you rather ask for accurate answer: a person or a computer? A loaded question perhaps, but what will be the next stage of revolution in customer-vendor communication.
I invite you to step back in time and recall introduction of the fax machine. It was revolutionary. It complemented the ‘phone as an immediate means of communication: one-way but formal and permanent (albeit hard copy to follow "in the post"!)
The next leg of communication revolution paired static websites and email: mass content delivery coupled with point to point conversational (of sorts) communication. That morphed into order placement through a connected ecommerce platform, and then introduction of ‘live chat’ (read as "semi instantaneous email") to make interactions more dynamic.
And here we are today, in a constantly evolving world. The current 'expert' commentary highlights several potential opportunities:
- Omni-channel - the seamless use of multiple communication channels to discuss a single transaction or build a relationship.
- Conversational Commerce - describe a requirement as opposed to prescribe a product, done within a messaging environment.
- Artificial Intelligence - the use of predictive analytics and machine learning to determine why people are contacting you.
Rather than focus on the technical, I would like to suggest an alternative way of looking at things – art and reason behind the communication:
- For phone or fax read person to person. The correspondence itself references a specific individual contact
- For web or chat read person to process. The online world is broadcast media (albeit with methods of pseudo personalisation); both email to info@ or customerservice@ and the chat medium are engagements with a person who is intentionally interchangeable with another
And so to that leads us to the next logical step: person to computer. Why not?
Well when you are no longer dealing with the individual of your choice, you are dealing with an organisation and its processes. From there on, it is a matter of the most effective means of undertaking the engagement. For speed and quality it is hard to bet against the processor with the combined expertise of many people.
So returning to the evolving media: Omni-channel, Conversational Commerce and Artificial Intelligence. These all hinge around the ability to undertake a dialogue at high speed and precision in a variety of media or channels with reference to pre-existing data. As soon as the processor is better than the person at the effective interchange of information, the inertia of change is broken and the switch takes place. The processor wins and the customer is satisfied quickly and seamlessly.
For business people looking to anticipate how to outperform competition and to grow, the smart preparation is codifying the inbound communication received from customers, refining the responses that yield the best results and defining the pro-active outbound that should be triggered. Sound a familiar process already?
When completed sufficiently with attention to the ‘edge cases’, the processor will certainly outperform the person and for the first movers create the competitive advantage for growth. Go to market could be as simple as replacing people manned chat with processor driven chat: the concomitant ability to scale interaction (dialogue) can massively increase customer engagement and website conversion rates.
Imagine being open 24/7 with a Processor satisfying the bulk of your inbound calls, without any queues, to your specification and in a timely fashion. Have you met AMO.ai?