A Conversation About AI, Social Media, and Customer Mindset

In this special edition of iQor’s Digitally Irresistible podcast, guest host Maribel De Leon chats with customer service expert and best-selling author Shep Hyken, chief amazement officer at Shepard Presentations. Through his deep understanding of customer behavior and customer service, Shep shares his observations on artificial intelligence (AI), employee engagement, social media, and the dynamics of customer expectations.  

Join us as we explore ways brands can navigate the changing customer service and employee engagement landscape in the age of AI. 

AI Evolution in Customer Experience

The growth of AI in CX has reshaped customer interaction channels, emphasizing a shift from purely traditional communication methods like voice to omnichannel digital interfaces, including chatbots and AI-powered self-service options. While AI has advanced significantly over the years, with generative AI and conversational AI boosting customer engagement, customers still prefer human interactions. 

According to Shep’s surveys, customer service by phone is still consumers’ Number One preference. Last year 69% of survey respondents preferred voice over self-service; this year that figure is up to 70%. Despite this trend, Shep forecasts that more customers will adopt AI and the self-service experience over the next two years as continued improvements make them more indistinguishable from voice. 

This overwhelming preference for voice, however, demands a balanced approach that provides customers a choice between AI-driven experiences and human support – integrating AI to complement, not replace, human interactions in CX. Giving customers the option of using one channel or both, depending on their needs or the stage of their journey, contributes to exceptional CX and brand loyalty. 

AI and the Employee Experience

AI can also elevate the employee experience for frontline customer service agents. Seamless and intuitive access to information that supports empathetic, human-centric interactions elevates their performance for improved employee and customer experiences.  

As Shep explains, the synergy between AI and human agents reflects a pivotal transformation in the CX landscape, focusing on efficient resolutions and holistic customer care. Additionally, harnessing AI in training, coaching, and prompt-response systems accelerates data-driven personalized assistance for agents to elevate their performance. 

iQor’s Symphony [AI] ecosystem supports exceptional employee experiences by seamlessly blending automation and human capabilities. Spanning talent acquisition, training and development, and performance excellence and compliance, iQor applies AI to help nurture a highly efficient and effective workforce. 

Changing Mindsets and Opportunities

Shep emphasizes the importance of recognizing the return on investment CX technologies offer, valuing customer experience as a competitive differentiator. Discerning customers expect more personalized customer service and compare their experiences to the best service they’ve encountered, irrespective of the industry. 

He also asserts that while investing in AI to enhance customer interactions is a basic expectation, it is equally crucial for brands to invest in AI to empower their employees. This strategic investment ensures that agents are well-equipped and “fulfilled” in their roles, enabling them to deliver superior service.

Shep recommends analyzing the service offerings from iconic brands, learning what they’re doing that’s amazing, and incorporating it into what you do for your customers to create a better experience. In the words of Bonnie Raitt’s song, give them “something to talk about.” 

“Customers are getting smarter every day – we need to learn from them and have them talk to us in a positive way.” – Shep Hyken

Social Media in CX

With social media serving as a “spectator sport” displaying both positive and negative customer feedback for all to see, brands must actively monitor and engage with customers on social platforms and address their comments either publicly when positive or privately when negative. 

Shep finds that customers often turn to social media as a last resort, particularly when other channels haven’t offered them satisfactory resolutions to their concerns. With this in mind, companies must regularly monitor their social channels to stay attuned to customer sentiment, mitigate reputational risks, and enhance customer satisfaction. Partnering with a BPO for social media monitoring support is a great way to provide stellar and responsive customer service via social platforms at scale. 

Shep predicts a growing inclination toward self-service customer support experiences driven by AI. He also notes the potential for AI and machine learning to improve employee performance through upskilling, optimization, and data-driven interventions that boost retention.  

By balancing AI-driven efficiencies with human interactions, CX innovators can light the path forward for irresistible customer experiences that drive lasting loyalty and brand success.

To learn more about Shep, connect with him on LinkedIn and visit his website at hyken.com

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