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AI’s potential to enhance empathy in customer service

This article was based on the interview with Joe Tyrell of Medallia by Greg Kihlström, MarTech keynote speaker for The Agile Brand with Greg Kihlström podcast. Listen to the original episode here:

One of the key points discussed in the podcast interview is how artificial intelligence (AI) enhances empathy in customer service. Joe Tyrell, CEO of Medallia mentions that the smart response generated by AI was found to be far more empathetic than responses written by humans. This finding was both validating and surprising, as it goes against the common perception that AI lacks emotional understanding.

Joe Tyrell explains that there are two main reasons why AI responses were more empathetic. Firstly, humans tend to become repetitive and less engaged when responding to numerous customer queries. By the time they reach their 12th or 13th response, they are simply trying to get it done and move on. In contrast, AI systems do not experience fatigue or boredom, allowing them to consistently provide empathetic responses.

Secondly, the speaker highlights that a human’s personal experiences and emotions can influence their level of empathy. If a person has had a bad day or is dealing with personal issues, their empathy towards customer complaints may be diminished. AI, on the other hand, is not affected by personal emotions and can consistently provide empathetic responses regardless of the circumstances.

Joe and Greg also discuss how AI can enhance the customer experience by incorporating previous interactions into responses. Rather than treating each customer query as a separate transaction, AI systems can analyze past interactions and provide personalized responses that show an understanding of the customer’s history and concerns. This level of personalization helps customers feel heard and understood, further enhancing the empathetic nature of the customer service experience.

The use of AI in customer service is not without its challenges. There is often talk of bias in AI systems, but the podcast acknowledges that humans are also prone to bias. AI can actually help mitigate bias by providing consistent and unbiased responses, unaffected by personal biases or recency bias.

As you can see, AI has the potential to enhance empathy in customer service. Through its ability to provide consistent and personalized responses, AI systems can surpass human capabilities in delivering empathetic customer support. By leveraging AI technologies, organizations can improve the overall customer experience and maintain a competitive edge in the market.