The changing consumer and employee expectations increasingly require organisations to strategically employ both emotional and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to deliver a seamless customer experience (CX) in both Human Resources (HR) and Customer Care. While AI chatbots can automate repetitive tasks, certain processes require the empathy that only a human representative can provide. In this blog post, we explore how AI chatbots can fit into brands’ existing processes, discuss which tasks can be automated, and highlight the importance of understanding when to escalate an HR or customer service query to a human representative to achieve the best CX.
The Importance of Human Empathy
Empathy and humanity are essential for fostering meaningful connections with both employees and customers. Certain interactions, such as delicate HR matters or emotionally charged customer inquiries, necessitate human involvement. Empathy allows HR professionals and customer care agents to understand and address complex issues, build trust, and provide personalised solutions. While AI chatbots can simulate human-like conversations and emotions, they lack the depth and intuition necessary for handling more complex and emotive matters.
That said, research by Zendesk shows that 67% of customers want an AI chatbot that has sentiment-tracking capabilities and can detect and adjust communication and tone based on how the customer is feeling. Even more interesting, the same research shows that 71% of customers believe that AI will ultimately help make customer experiences more empathic. This is certainly true in terms of AI chatbots being an enabler to free up staff to deal properly with the most emotionally tricky situations. However, the fact that some AI chatbot users want AI to mimic human emotion and know how to respond, should not be confused with the need for human intervention when the circumstances require a human being who actually understands firsthand how a customer or employee is feeling.
Benefits of Automating Repetitive Processes
While empathy and human touch are vital, businesses can reap significant benefits by automating repetitive processes with AI chatbots. By offloading routine tasks, HR and Customer Care can focus on more complex and value-adding activities. Automation reduces response times, enhances operational efficiency, and ensures consistent service delivery. Additionally, AI chatbots can handle a large volume of inquiries simultaneously, providing immediate responses, reducing customer and employee wait times, and alleviating frustration.
AI Chatbot to Human Agent Workflows
To strike the right balance between automation and human involvement, properly strategising AI chatbot to live agent workflows is crucial. By flawlessly transitioning from AI chatbots to human agents, businesses can ensure a customer journey while providing personal assistance when needed. AI chatbots can handle initial inquiries, gather relevant information, and provide basic guidance. If the AI chatbot can’t answer a question or detects a need for human involvement based on sentiment keywords, or upon a specific customer request, it can transfer the conversation to a live agent who possesses the right emotional intelligence and problem-solving skills.
Key scenarios when this is needed include situations when:
- Query is beyond the Chatbot’s understanding
- Issue is complex and requires professional expertise
- Problem is highly sensitive or emotional
- Query is urgent or critical
- Customer requests the handoff
Use Cases in HR
For Human Resources, AI chatbots offer a range of valuable use cases that streamline candidate and employee processes. For example, they can automate candidate screenings and first-step questionnaires and make on-boarding more efficient for everyone concerned. AI can recognise relevant information from a candidate’s resume, match it to a job specification, store it, and automatically input it into future forms so candidates don’t need to continuously repeat themselves. This provides a better candidate experience and helps enable the company to attract top talent. According to 64% of HR professionals, AI is great at filtering out unqualified applicants and 85% say that it saves time, effort, and therefore money, while freeing them up to work on cases that require an in-person discussion.
While AI chatbots can facilitate interview scheduling by coordinating available time slots, human HR professionals play a vital role in conducting interviews. In-depth interviews and assessments should remain in the remit of human HR professionals so they can properly evaluate the candidate’s soft skills, cultural fit, and potential for growth, making decisions that go beyond the capabilities of automated data. This human touch is crucial for making the right final hiring decisions.
HR Help Desk
AI chatbots can automate the HR help desk, providing immediate answers to employee queries. This includes general HR policies, benefit details, and information about company procedures. However, sensitive matters such as performance evaluations, employee grievances, or personal issues require the empathetic ear of a human HR professional who can provide support and guidance.
Onboarding and offboarding
For onboarding and offboarding, AI chatbots can play a significant role. They can provide automated walkthroughs, giving new employees access links, logins, and passwords for a smooth integration into the company’s systems. For off-boarding, whilst only a human can conduct an exit interview, provide emotional support, and address any concerns or feedback from a departing employee, AI chatbots can automate some of the contractual paperwork and make the process as pain-free as possible.
A recent Capterra HR survey revealed that 52% of respondents have integrated an AI chatbot into their HR systems and that an impressive 94% deemed the chatbot to be good or excellent. So it seems that AI chatbots are proving a popular and effective way to free up the HR team from transactional and administrative roles for more empathic tasks as well as more business-critical strategies.
Use Cases in Customer Care
In Customer Support, AI chatbots offer numerous use cases to enhance the customer experience whilst also enabling organisations to quickly scale up their call centres. However, as with the HR scenarios outlined above, more emotive, unusual, or complex situations call for a human touch.
Responding to FAQs
AI chatbots excel in providing immediate answers to customer queries. They can address frequently asked questions (FAQs), guide customers through simple troubleshooting steps, and offer personalised information and recommendations about products or services based on historical or real-time customer data. However, some customers will require the type of hyper-personalised experience that is outside of the context of such data. Others will have a complex issue, or be annoyed, or need emotional support. In these situations, the chatbot should understand the need to escalate to a human agent for an empathic, tailored solution. For a great CX, there should always be a button at the top of the chat allowing the customer to choose to transfer to a live agent.
AI chatbots can assist customers with guided website or application tours, ensuring a frictionless user experience (UX). They can provide step-by-step instructions, highlight important features, and help customers navigate through various pages. Nevertheless, if customers encounter technical difficulties, have specific requirements, or seek personal recommendations, human agents must be available to offer hands-on support and expertise.
Product and Service Info
When it comes to product or service details, AI chatbots can provide comprehensive information such as specifications, pricing, shipping, and returns. They can answer common questions about availability and product features. However, for in-depth product consultations, customised solutions, or assistance with more intricate purchasing decisions, human agents can provide expert advice and empathetic guidance.
Purchase and Order Updates
AI chatbots excel at handling order-related inquiries, such as tracking shipments, providing order status updates, or answering payment-related questions. They can handle a high volume of these queries efficiently. Yet, when customers face issues such as package delays, missing items, or billing discrepancies, human agents can empathise with the customer’s frustration and work towards resolving the problem effectively and offer meaningful incentives or appropriate compensation to boost customer retention and avoid churn.
Appointment scheduling is another area where AI chatbots shine in Customer Care. They can automate the booking and cancellation process, saving customers time and effort. However, when customers have specific requirements or need assistance with rescheduling, human agents can offer personalized support and accommodate their needs.
While AI chatbots can collect feedback through post-purchase surveys or feedback forms, human Customer Care agents play a critical role in truly understanding customer sentiment. They can engage in meaningful conversations, empathize with customers’ concerns, and address any issues that arise, ensuring a positive and constructive resolution.
In conclusion, whilst human intervention is an absolute must in sensitive matters that require true empathy, automating repetitive tasks with AI chatbots in both HR and Customer Care brings operational efficiencies, and saves time and money. Crucially, this improves the customer experience whilst also making the roles of HR and Customer Care personnel more interesting and rewarding for a better employee experience.