By Leeyen Rogers
We’re now in the age of AI, where you can order a pizza from Domino’s through Facebook messenger, and where e-commerce websites make product recommendations for you based on browsing history, past purchases, and even weather conditions. There’s no doubt that AI can make a customer’s life easier and more convenient, and can serve as a welcome relief from listening to elevator music for what seems like an eternity while on hold with customer service.
But, AI is still not quite the same as communicating with a real, live human being. Person-to-person communication automatically comes equipped with body language cues, the subtleties of tones and pitches, and the friendliness that comes with a conversation. Companies understand this natural preference for communicating with another person, and are innovating towards humanizing the customer experience in the age of AI.
Companies make strides towards humanizing digital experiences
Take online forms, for example. Filling out a form with a logical flow is often a preferred method of communication and saves customers time, rather than emailing back and forth or communicating through another method. That’s why it’s so important to nail the customer experience of an online form, whether a respondent is making a purchase, registering for an event, providing customer feedback, or communicating an issue with a product or service.
Forms, as well as all digital experiences, now sometimes contain significant yet subtle advancements that make online interactions feel a bit more human. Customers often make mistakes like trying to move through a form or other online process without providing required information. This can result in a micro animation, or subtle back and forth movement, which mimics a person shaking their head “no.”
Online experiences are becoming more like a two-way conversation rather than a one-way interaction. Chatbots, forms, and other digital modes of information collection are responding to previously collected data. Chatbots respond to not only the last question asked, but the conversation as a whole as well as personalized and statistical customer information.
Forms are nudging customers towards entering better data such as providing an auto-complete feature when customers enter an address. Forms are more intelligent. They can connect with GPS data to locate respondents, provide suggestions, and alert customers to potential mistakes. Prediction technology allows computers to make it easier for customers to solve their problem and get what they need, while delivering increased conversion rates and happier, more engaged customers to companies.
Who benefits from humanized customer experiences?
It’s clear that customers benefit from getting their problems solved more efficiently. They don’t have to explain their issues and get a person up to speed, get transferred once or twice, explain the problem at hand from scratch with a different person, etc. A simple digital process could alleviate aggravation and give the customer some of their time back. However, there are some instances where speaking with a person is preferable. Some customers may want to explain a complex issue to a person rather than answering a series of questions about their situation. Some customers just want to be heard – and want to convey their experience to someone who can listen, and perhaps escalate their issue to the appropriate person or department. These are problems that AI is working on.
We also cannot forget about the company’s perspective. Customer-focused companies are implementing humanized customer experiences for a reason: it helps their bottom line. Implementing software across an organization is much more scalable, cost-effective, and efficient than employing a workforce to handle issues. In the near future, digital experiences could feel so natural that we forget that there isn’t a listening human on the other end. And that raises the question: Would it even matter? That’s a conversation for another day.
Leeyen Rogers is the VP of Marketing at JotForm, a B2B online forms platform based in San Francisco. Its intuitive interface along with conveniently sortable submission data allows you to create forms and analyze their data without writing a single line of code. JotForm is the solution for online payments, contact forms, lead collection, surveys, registrations, applications, online booking, event registrations, and more.