The bots are coming for your job

Hello Folks,

This week marks two whole years since I started writing this newsletter about CX and Retention. 

Honestly, I didnt expect many people to be interested in reading about these topics. AT ALL.

Two years later and close to 15,000 readers strong, its a blessing to have been proven otherwise.

I appreciate every one of you for taking a few minutes on your Thursday (Or Wednesday when July 4th hits on a Thursday) to read my rants and musings.

Means the world. Namaste. 

This week, I want to tackle a fun topic I have massively changed my mind over the last year or two.

Ive been on record several times saying that AI isnt coming for any CX jobs anytime soon. I still stand by that, well, somewhat. 

Ill be honest: AI moved into the mainstream faster than I ever thought possible, but that aside, I want to talk about leveraging AI in CX.

Ill give you some quick tips to keep your CX soul intact while you add some beep beep bop to your repertoire. 

Ill make this a bit of a quicker one as its a shorter week. 

This weeks newsie is brought to you by Gorgias, one of the earliest sponsors and supporters of this newsie way back in the early days. 

Gorgias works with 15,000 ecommerce brands and has been my CX helpdesk of choice at both OLIPOP and Jones Road Beauty. 

On July 1st, Gorgias added AI Agent to give your team more time to spend on the interactions that matter and less time stressing about monotonous tasks. 

  • AI Agent is your newest team member. It sends accurate, personalized responses in the blink of an eye.

  • Using the latest artificial intelligence technology, AI Agent learns your brand voice and support processes to handle your most repetitive tickets.

  • AI Agent can also connect to Shopify and other tools to perform Actions (like updating a shipping address or canceling a recent order) to fully resolve tickets.

With AI Agent on your team, you can:

  1. Resolve up to 60% of support volume with cost-effective AI

  2. Delight customers with instant and personalized answers 24/7

  3. Focus your teams time on complex, VIP, and high-value conversations

To learn more about Gorgias AI Agent, head on over here.

Part One: Ways to Add Beep Bop to Your Shop

Early in the journey of AI coming to the masses,  AI in the CX context always felt robotic. 

I felt insane hearing keynotes about AI and bots in 2020, thinking You must be kidding thinking that customers think this is a human.

As a customer, whenever I saw or felt any semblance of a bot on a website, I made it my mission to figure out how to get past it to a human, like spamming zero when you get on the phone with Amex. 

In the last few years, AI has made leaps and bounds (at the very least in some areas.)

If AI can tackle 30-40% of your tickets and leave more headspace for you to go above and beyond in the rest, it can change your CX life.

Heres where AI can make a massive difference:

1. Handling Repetitive Queries

AI Agents are brilliant at handling repetitive tasks that dont necessarily require a human touch. Think of those questions you get asked a thousand times: Wheres my order? How do I return this? Can I change my shipping address? These are the bread and butter for an AI Agent.

  • Order Status and Tracking: AI Agents can instantly pull up order information and provide customers with real-time updates on their orders.

  • Returns and Exchanges: Automate the process of initiating returns or exchanges. AI can guide customers through the steps, making it a seamless experience. We used AI to answer hundreds of tickets a week like this at JRB. 

  • Account Updates: Need to update a shipping address or payment information? If plugged in and integrated with the right tools, AI can handle these straightforward requests pretty swiftly and (almost always) accurately. 

2. 24/7 Customer Support

24/7 support is somewhat expensive for most brands unless you export your CX across the world (a topic for a different time.) 

AI allows you to offer round-the-clock support that feels and sounds like your full-time team, ensuring your customers get the help they need when they need it. And if Im being honest, Id rather outsource my CX to bots

The best part of this is that the more tickets your team handles during the week, the more data your AI has to continue learning and handle the weekend work. 

3. Personalized Customer Interactions

Using AI doesnt mean losing the personal touch. AI can enhance personalization by using data to tailor responses and recommendations. Bonus points if it is plugged into your other apps

For instance, if a customer reaches out saying that they loved their product, AI can see what they have purchased, look at your data to better understand what customers that buy this item generally purchase in the subsequent order, and then recommend it. AI can be slinging.

4. Feedback Collection and Analysis

AI can help you gather and analyze customer feedback, providing insights that can drive continuous improvement.

  • Feedback Loops: AI can automatically request feedback after interactions and compile data for analysis. This helps you understand whats working and where you need to improve.

  • Actionable Insights: By analyzing feedback, AI can identify trends and common issues, allowing you to proactively address them.

I love a universe where you can layer GPT on top of all your tickets and query that data. 

E.g. Of all the tickets in the last 6 months, what issues do you see come up most? And what are the actionable issues vs the complaints I should leave for now? Etc. etc. 

Practical Tips for Using AI in CX

  • Start Small: Begin by automating the most repetitive and straightforward tasks. Gradually expand AIs role as you get comfortable.

  • Train Your AI: Invest time in training your AI to understand your brand voice and support processes. The more it knows, the better it performs.

  • Monitor and Improve: Regularly review AI interactions and provide feedback to continuously improve its performance.

  • Maintain a Human Touch: Use AI to handle routine tasks but ensure your team is available for complex, high-value interactions. If you automate 100% of your CX, good for you, but you are not building a customer-centric company. Sorry. More on this in two seconds

Part Two: Where Not to Use AI in CX

AI is great, but its not a silver bullet. There are areas in CX where AI should take a backseat, and human touch remains irreplaceable. 

Heres where AI should not replace your team:

1. Handling Complex or Sensitive Issues

AI can handle a lot, but when it comes to complex issues or sensitive situations, nothing beats the empathy and understanding of a real live person with actual EQ. 

If a customer is extremely upset or dealing with a personal issue related to your product, a human agents empathy and problem-solving skills are CRUCIAL. AI will often miss nuances or small things in tone etc. 

Also, for issues that require a nuanced understanding and creative troubleshooting, human agents are indispensable. AI can assist by providing information, but the actual resolution very often requires human intervention.

AI lacks the ability to truly understand and respond to human emotions. In situations where emotional intelligence is key, humans must take the lead.

2. Building Relationships

Building strong, lasting relationships with customers requires a human touch. AI can support these efforts, but 100% shouldnt replace them.

For example, your VIPs expect personalized, high-touch service, and they deserve itttt. Dedicated human agents who know their preferences and history are essential for maintaining and growing these relationships.

3. Creative Problem-Solving

Some customer issues require out-of-the-box thinking and creativity that AI cant replicate.

  • Customized Solutions: Sometimes, resolving an issue requires a tailored approach that takes into account various unique factors. Human agents can craft these bespoke solutions.

  • Thinking on the Fly: Unexpected issues can arise that havent been programmed into the AI. Human agents can think on their feet and adapt to new challenges quickly.

Practical Tips for Maintaining Human Touch in CX

  • Blend AI and Human Efforts: Use AI to handle routine tasks and free up your team to focus on more complex and personal interactions.

  • Train Your Team: Ensure your CX team is well-trained in empathy and active listening, and be clear as to when they should be jumping in human-first. 

  • Monitor AI Performance: Regularly review AI interactions to ensure theyre meeting customer expectations and make adjustments as neededat least for the first few weeks and months. 

Most importantly, if you go all in on AI, please please promote a culture where human interaction is valued and emphasized, ensuring your customers feel valued and heard.

Thats it for this week!

Any topics you'd like to see me cover in the future?

Just shoot me a DM or an email!

Cheers, 

Eli

P.S. Looking for inspo on your next email/sms campaign? 

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