The Bot and The Beautiful: Blending AI and Human Touch for Customer Success

The Bot and The Beautiful: Blending AI and Human Touch for Customer Success
AI with a Human Touch

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The Bot and The Beautiful: Blending AI and Human Touch for Customer Success

Utilizing AI to automate certain customer communication unlocks immense efficiency for startups. But taken too far, AI can feel cold and impersonal, damaging customer relationships.

The key is thoughtfully blending automation with human interaction. When done right, startups realize major productivity gains without sacrificing the personal touch that builds loyalty.

In this post, we’ll explore tips for augmenting customer communication with AI while preserving meaningful human connections.

Know When to Use AI - and When to Hand Off

As a rule of thumb, utilize AI for:

  • Addressing common inquiries and requests quickly
  • Providing self-service options for customers to find answers on their own
  • Engaging visitors through chatbots on your website and sales qualified leads
  • Following up on accounts through personalized emails and notifications

But hand off conversations to a human team member when:

  • Emotion, empathy or delicate communications are required
  • Complex needs require custom consultation
  • A dissatisfied customer needs placating
  • Finalizing a large deal with a new customer
  • Strategic conversations with longtime VIP accounts

Because every industry is different, taking some time to study chat and call transcripts to identify opportunities where AI augmentation makes sense while preserving a human role in the loop.

Helping Robots

Have Humans Review and Fine Tune AI Communications

AI generated communications will lack human nuance - at first. Mitigate this by having team members:

  • Review initial automated emails and chatbot dialogues to ensure proper tone and clarity. Provide feedback to refine responses to be more conversational.

  • Listen to chatbot call recordings to identify areas where hand offs to an agent could have improved experiences. Update hand off triggers.

  • Do periodic spot checks of automated communications to confirm quality. Immediately flag poorly performing responses.

With humans in the loop training and auditing the AI, it becomes smarter over time at replicating natural conversations.

Give Chatbots Distinct Personalities

Don’t make chatbots generic - give them personalities! Build in appropriately humorous and warm responses beyond merely functional interactions.

Maybe your chatbot uses gifs, shares fun facts about your company culture, or cracks lighthearted industry jokes. Infuse the AI with traits of your ideal human team members.

This helps conversations feel more natural and engaging. Personalities make chatbots relatable and “human”.

Share the Human Names and Faces Behind the AI

Avoid letting your technology seem faceless. Introduce the actual people behind your AI tools like chatbots by name and photo.

Share mini-bios of engineers who developed the capabilities and support agents who monitor its performance. Celebrate new AI team members on social media.

Putting humans front and center builds rapport between customers and your human-AI hybrid workforce.

Make Hand Offs to Humans Seamless

When a customer needs handing off from an AI chatbot to live support, make the transition invisible.

Enable seamless hand offs so context isn’t lost switching between automated and human interactions. Pass conversation details and history automatically to agents so customers don’t have to repeat themselves.

With smooth hand offs, customers simply feel they’re having a continuous enriching conversation tailored to their needs.

Empower Humans to Personalize at Scale

Leverage AI productivity gains to help human team members personalize. For example:

  • Use AI to surface key customer usage and firmographic data human reps can skim to make more contextual engagements.

  • Generate next best action recommendations to help reps know what customers need proactively.

  • Automate manual tasks like data entry to give reps more time to craft thoughtful messages.

The right AI augments reps to foster human connections scaled across your entire customer base.

The future of customer engagement lies in symbiotic human-AI collaboration. Take a thoughtful approach to implementing automation with humanity in mind. With the right blend, startups realize AI’s efficiency without losing personal connections that maintain loyalty.

Want to read more? Try these articles on growing your startup:

Effective Time Management Strategies for Busy Startup Founders

Building Your Startup Dream Team: Avoiding Common Pitfalls