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The Amazonification of Customer Service

Everyone is an Amazon shopper but not every company is an Amazon

This was a phrase we like to say when speaking with companies, initially inspired by anecdote. But recent research by Vollero, Sardanelli, and Siano actually did show that Amazon shoppers had higher consumer expectations for other retailers they shopped with. Using NPL techniques and based on Facebook pages of three major consumer electronics retailers in Italy from 2016-2018, Vollero and his team explored dissatisfaction toward these retailers associated to Amazon-related service attributes. This “Amazonification” impacting customer impatience and dissatisfaction, went beyond the typical drivers of customer satisfaction (e.g., price, logistics issues, etc.) according to this research.

Interesting and intuitive given how omnipresent Amazon has become. Bezos himself had noted that he hoped to make Amazon a daily habit and that ultimately customer satisfaction lied at the center of this objective. Applying the best of AI—workflow, user experience, and personalization—Amazon has showed the right way to do customer satisfaction.

Enter Gen AI

Companies, large and small, of course, have taken note. And in their recognition that happy customers yield happy results, companies have rushed to deploy the best (or best within their budget) tools.  was exciting to read the news about T-Mobile’s recent announcement for its Gen AI-enabled “superpowers” in improving its customer service. The applications of generative AI are already massive in transforming how customer service is offered by companies and received by customers everywhere.

Just a few examples to consider:

  1. Personalized content creation: Generative AI can create personalized content, such as product descriptions, email responses, or even video content, tailored to individual customers’ needs and preferences. This can help companies provide more engaging and relevant support experiences, increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty.
  2. Intelligent chatbots and virtual assistants: Generative AI can power more sophisticated chatbots and virtual assistants that can understand and respond to customer inquiries in a more natural, human-like way. These AI-powered agents can handle a wider range of tasks, from answering basic questions to providing guided troubleshooting and even offering personalized recommendations.
  3. Automated email and social media responses: Generative AI can help companies automate email and social media responses, ensuring faster and more consistent support across these channels. AI-generated responses can be tailored to each customer’s specific inquiry, while still maintaining a cohesive brand voice and tone.
  4. Knowledge base creation and updates: Generative AI can assist in creating and updating knowledge base articles, FAQs, and other self-service content. By analyzing customer inquiries and feedback, AI can identify gaps in existing content and generate new, relevant articles to address common issues or questions.
  5. Sentiment analysis and emotional support: Generative AI can analyze customer sentiment and generate appropriate emotional responses. This can help customer service representatives provide more empathetic and emotionally intelligent support, particularly in situations where customers are frustrated or upset.

Over the next several years (if not next several months!) more large companies unveiling their own gen AI approach to customer service, either building native tools to better control and differentiate their experiences or turning to third-party applications. As with other technologies in the past, it will be critical to combine generative AI with human expertise and empathy (our brains are designed to quickly sense inauthenticity in entities with whom we interact).

At Teleperson, we applaud the active integration of new technology to improve customer service experiences for customers everywhere. For far too long, the incentives that rose to the top for companies—notably, generating the profit needed to survive—were at odds with the expectations customers had of their companies.

AI is a double whammy for customer expectations

Over the last several years, AI itself has raised expectations customers had for the companies they shop from. This has been seen most clearly in financial services, where customers want to access their money and any information tied to their money anywhere and anytime. We see something similar in AI-driven expectations in other sectors as well, notably in healthcare. Prior to the launch of ChatGPT, AI, by itself, challenged the status quo of customer service, whether in terms of enabling 24/7 availability, offering omnichannel experiences or providing proactive assistance: One major benefit of course was the expansion of self-service options, with AI-powered knowledge bases and FAQs becoming more sophisticated and enabling customers to find answers to their questions independently.

Then (all the way back to 2021/’22) as now, the human element should not be lost necessarily as part of any transaction. We believe, fundamentally, that it’s not about the chatbot but rather the choice—and control—customers have in defining the customer service journey they want given the specific need they have.

Technology is definitely moving faster than ever; customer expectations—whether catapulted by Amazon or the latest ChatGPT release—are moving just as fast.

 

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