Case in point – the millennials as well as the younger generations are getting more comfortable with, and increasingly accustomed to experiences that totally draw from artificial intelligence (AI) technology. Casual interaction with fully automated digital assistants, voicing commands, asking queries, getting directions from a digital device/application, are all part of a normal day in our lives. AI technology has clearly made its way into our day-to-day lives and now guards its place in it, as we revel in our customer experience. But this has posed a new challenge, especially for businesses. One, that’s making them ask questions such as: How can companies preserve the human touch in a digital world? How much automation is too much?
Automation and machine learning are like unstoppable forces to reckon with. They need algorithms to do their job, and provide them with bucket loads of information, helping them learn and make decisions. Machines are gaining knowledge on their own, getting smarter, and carrying out tasks much faster and more efficiently than humans. Digitization is fast enveloping the corporate world and some even fear that AI powered technology poses a risk that it may wipe out human employees.
In such a digitized environment, leaders need to weigh out all the odds. It has to be a call that corporate owners and businesses need to take after thoughtful consideration. Today, businesses are less product oriented and more service oriented. It’s not so much about generating income for the employees, as it is about making profits. Thanks to the internet of things (IoT), automated technology does the job much faster than human contact. Businesses seek to benefit by downsizing their employees and saving some bucks. So, it’s important to keep the level of automation in check in order to maintain equilibrium.
This advocacy of automation is incomplete without acknowledging that it is imperative to retain the human touch in the digital age. How can companies achieve that? A straightforward answer might be a little difficult, but in general, the idea is that a combination of automated digital technology working in synergy with human employees and their better judgment is needed. Digital relationships cannot make human contact obsolete, not yet! But what it will do for us is to make new channels to interact and focus on maneuvering complex and strategic tasks instead.
You might also be interested to read: Unlocking Employees’ Potential with Digital HR
Human intelligence vs artificial intelligence
Even though artificial intelligence is surprisingly powerful and fast, there are some attributes which it lacks, that are unique to human intelligence. For instance, cognitive and sensory abilities, empathy, and even ingenuity is something only humans can boast about. Come to think of it, computers and robots can only carry out the tasks that they are designed for and programed to carry out. But humans function in many different ways. This means certain jobs that require above mentioned attributes to be effectively carried out will need to have a human touch. So we needn’t feel threatened by an AI takeover, as it is unlikely that complete jobs will be wiped out. Instead, to retain the human touch in a digital world, what can be done is certain tasks within jobs can be automated whereas humans can work alongside and focus on more important tasks.
Companies need to think about customer satisfaction and how they can use digitalization in a way that will not jeopardize it. Since automated technology cannot show empathy, digital relationships are not long standing. This is why a role like customer relationship management needs to be performed by human employees as AI powered machines are incapable of displaying such characteristics. Companies must provide their customers with the option to be able to take up their concerns, queries and issues with a real person from the customer relationship management team. It makes a huge difference when a customer can choose to have human interactions for their specific needs. This way, companies can keep the human element alive and provide better and more personified customer service.
Of course, with the impact that artificial intelligence technology has made in our lives, it will definitely be a significant part of every business, but it cannot match up to humans. A winning combination of automation and manpower is what businesses need to strike the perfect balance.
Sustainability of businesses lies in the overall customer experience, rather than products or services that they provide. To offer the best experience to their customers, companies must win their trust. As a general rule, people are more inclined to approach an agency they have come to trust rather than an unknown resource. Companies need a solid customer relationship management strategy to win their customer’s trust as well as form stronger digital relationships. Planning out the best way to use automation and data analytics to give their customers the best experience while also retaining the human touch in a digital world is the true path to a company’s success.
In conclusion, business leaders and employers need to strategically think about how technology and humans can coexist to reach the optimum potential. Technology, no doubt is the backbone of every organization today but it is the human touch that will deliver brand equity building and give that competitive edge needed in this extremely hostile marketplace.
- “How companies can keep the human touch in the digital age”, Alison Kay, 17th May 2018
- “It’s a Digital World. How to Keep the Human Touch Alive”, Melissa Lamson, 5th Sept 2017