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November 07, 2023

Humanizing AI for Enhanced Customer Experiences: The Secret to Transforming Business Outcomes

Humanizing AI for Enhanced Customer Experiences: The Secret to Transforming Business Outcomes

Emir Susic

Global Vice President, Avaya Customer Experience Services

In our AI-driven world, integrating the latest algorithms into customer experiences seems unavoidable. But there's a catch—if you want to see real business impact, you must humanize those interactions.

As the leader of Avaya's ACES (Avaya Customer Experience Services) team, I work closely with many of the world's largest enterprises to transform their customer engagement strategies. My team and I have seen firsthand how integrating AI and humanizing those interactions is critical for CX innovation and business growth—especially for organizations managing complex, large-scale "Mega-CX."

For these companies, the AI journey can't be one-size-fits-all. That's why the ACES team focuses on guiding customers to choose AI solutions tailored to their specific business goals. Maybe it's boosting agent productivity in the contact center. Perhaps it's personalizing digital engagements to increase sales. Or it could be detecting emerging issues in customer sentiment before they become crises.

Why Emotional AI is a Must-Have

Trust is Fragile. Without a human touch, customers feel like they're interacting with an automaton, not a trusted advisor. Even simple tweaks like an apology or clarification question when the AI doesn't understand can foster bonds.

Engagement Requires Empathy. AI that resonates emotionally keeps users invested and coming back. Look at Spotify’s personalized playlists with notes like “Because you listened to (insert your favorite artist here).” It makes the experience relatable.

Sales Follow Sentiment. Frictionless, empathetic AI nudges customers toward purchases in an organic way. Imagine a chatbot saying, “I saw you viewed those boots. Want me to pull up some options?” Conversions happen seamlessly.

Strategies to Inject Heart into AI

Speak Human. Natural language processing (NLP) enables more intuitive interactions, like Google's context-aware searches. The more your AI communicates like a person, the better. Look for tools that allow you to customize language and insert brand personality.

Read the Room. Emotion detection lets AI tailor responses based on moods. Angry customer calls could auto-route to human reps based on sentiment analysis. AI can also detect confusion, impatience, excitement and more.

Personalize. Build ever-evolving user profiles, like Netflix’s “Top Picks for Emir.” The more bespoke the experience, the deeper the connection. Look for AI that gets smarter about individuals over time.

Simulate Human Quirks. Pepper conversations with affirmations (“I see”), empathy (“That must be frustrating”) and even humor. The right doses make AI more relatable. The new Grok chatbot understands this – by including a “rebellious streak” modeled after the “Hitchhiker Guide to the Galaxy” series.

Provide Swift Recovery. When AI stumbles, recovery is everything. Quick apologies, offers of help and clarification save relationships.

The Payoff: More Revenue, Loyalty, & Praise

Reduce Churn. Humane experiences earn customer loyalty. Sephora’s virtual makeup advisor builds personal bonds that keep shoppers coming back. Expect reduced cancellations and return customers.

Boost Order Values. Trusted AI converts browsers to buyers. Amazon’s “Frequently bought together” leverages behavior data to encourage bigger baskets. Higher average order values quickly add up.

Enhance Your Brand. Seamless, friendly AI earns praise and referrals. Assistants like Grammarly wow users with their warm, helpful natures. Positive experiences drive word-of-mouth marketing.

While the tactical use cases differ across organizations, one truth remains constant: humanizing AI pays dividends across key business metrics. By starting from a perspective of empathy and connection, you can transform CX and drive remarkable outcomes.

The future is AI + Human. To drive results, infuse your tech with empathy. When algorithms connect on an emotional level, business outcomes follow. Invest now in humanizing your AI.

Learn more about our ACES team in this CX Today interview and take advantage of our latest ACES AI research.

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