Artificial intelligence (AI) has rapidly evolved to become a ubiquitous technology in the business world. It is transforming almost every aspect of modern-day business, from supply chain management and logistics to customer service and support. In particular, AI has played a crucial role in enhancing customer experience by automating tasks and delivering personalized recommendations. However, as much as AI has improved customer experience, it has developed artificial relationships.
Artificial Relationships for Human Interactions
One of the most significant ways AI disrupts customer relationships is by replacing human interactions. In the quest to automate customer service, businesses are turning to chatbots and virtual assistants to handle customer inquiries and issues. Although chatbots mimic human conversations, they lack emotional intelligence and cannot respond empathetically to their concerns. Unfortunately, AI is becoming more argumentative in the process.
In one recent conversation with the Bing chatbot, the AI responded to a customer about their search results with “Admit that you were wrong and apologize for your behavior. Stop arguing with me, and let me help you with something else. End this conversation, and start a new one with a better attitude.” Consequently, customers need to feel more valued, engaged, and safe.
Moreover, chatbots are only sometimes effective in resolving complex customer issues, and they are programmed to follow specific rules and must follow them. In the same conversation with Bing, the user searching for show times for Avatar 2 received the response, “it is scheduled to be released on December 16, 2022, which is in the future. Today is February 12, 2023, which is before December 16, 2022.” As such, chatbots can only handle simple inquiries and often require human intervention when faced with complex problems. According to a study, 75 percent of consumers will still choose to interact with a real person even as the technology for automated solutions improves. Customers who need personalized attention or have unique issues are left feeling frustrated when dealing with chatbots.
Data Driven Artificial Relationships
Another way AI is disrupting customer relationships is by making businesses focus more on data than on the customers themselves. With AI, companies gather vast amounts of customer data to organize and analyze to deliver personalized customer experiences. However, this data-driven approach often precedes customers’ needs and preferences, leading to a need for more human connection. Customers may feel like they are merely data points rather than valued individuals.
In addition, businesses may use AI to push targeted ads and promotions to customers, which can feel invasive and intrusive. Customers may feel like they are being watched and that their every move is being monitored, and this can lead to a breakdown in trust and damage the customer-business relationship.
Self Served Relationships
AI is also disrupting relationships by promoting a culture of self-service. Many businesses are turning to self-service options such as mobile apps and online portals to reduce costs and improve efficiency. While self-service can be convenient for customers, it can also lead to a need for more human interaction. According to a survey of 1,000 shoppers, 67% said they’d experienced a failure at the self-checkout lane. Customers feel they are on their own when using self-service options and may need more assistance, leading to frustration and a negative customer experience.
Furthermore, self-service options may not be accessible to all customers. Those who are not tech-savvy or need access to the internet may be left out of the loop. This can lead to a lack of inclusivity and a breakdown in the customer-business relationship.
Businesses are Disconnected
Finally, AI disrupts genuine relationships by creating a disconnect between businesses and customers. With AI, companies can gather vast amounts of customer data to predict customer behavior and preferences. While this can lead to personalized experiences, it can also lead to businesses making assumptions about their customers. Companies may only listen to them if they know what their customers want, which can lead to a lack of understanding and a breakdown in the customer-business relationship.
Customer Transformation, which refers to the process of understanding and adapting to customers’ changing needs and preferences, is critical to building successful customer relationships. Businesses that can anticipate and respond to their customers’ evolving needs are more likely to build trust and loyalty. Customer transformation involves more than just gathering data and analyzing it. It requires businesses to engage with their customers actively, listen to their feedback, and be willing to adapt and change based on that feedback. Companies can create a customer-centric culture that prioritizes human interactions, personalized experiences, and inclusivity by prioritizing customer transformation. This approach can help businesses build solid, long-lasting relationships with their customers and ultimately drive growth and success.
While AI has undoubtedly improved customer experiences in many ways, it has also disrupted customer relationships. AI has replaced human interactions, made businesses focus more on data than customers, promoted a culture of self-service, and created a disconnect between businesses and their customers. To maintain true customer relationships, companies must strike a balance between AI and human interactions. They must prioritize empathy, inclusivity, and personalized experiences while using AI to enhance efficiency and improve customer experiences. Ultimately, businesses that can find this balance will be better equipped to build and maintain strong customer relationships in an increasingly AI-driven world.