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AI and Personalization? A Reality
Marta Ballarín Garnic, Customer Service Chief, Tram Operadora
Nine years ago, after being quite tired of answering canned responses to our travelers, and with the main objective of putting our clients just in the middle of our decisions, we chose personalization as the key distinctive of our service. The most important change we introduced had everything to do with the way we answer: at the beginning we started training ourselves and answering just like humans, not as robots, regardless the channel. As an example, we began signing our replies, writing down our apologies if something went wrong (quite strange to see any apologies in our country) and writing all the required replies from scratch.
To the question: how did technology help us in this metamorphosis? It must be said that social media played a big role at that time because we could approach our target, answer using the logo of our company, and also introduce ourselves by giving our real names. Personalization is very close to empathize, so the TRAM’s customer service team proceeded by taking care of our clients, addressing them by their name, asking them about how they felt, and more. Just a simple change, isn’t it? This took place in 2011. And now, eight years later, are all clients interactions with companies signed? Or even more, are they personalized? Do you even feel unique when talking to a big company?
The next goal for us was being to implement WhatsApp as a customer service channel. Did you know that Spain is the fifth country in the world using the most smartphones devices?
As one can see, our aim is to get closer to our travelers by making them feel unique with very personalized answer and using their favorite channel to communicate: WhatsApp
Accordingly, our company chose two of these ways of usage of WhatsApp, including it as one of our customer channels for solving doubts in real-time. As one can see, our aim is to get closer to our travelers by making them feel unique with very personalized answer and using their favorite channel to communicate: WhatsApp. After four years of using WhatsApp, our company is still the only one in the public transportation of Barcelona city using this channel. This did not only mean a big difference with our travelers, but also to our Customer Service team, as they spend less time answering a chat than writing down a formal letter or email, for instance.
I am sure that people like me who know very little about new technologies will find themselves reflected in this: the first time we heard about AI we thought that any kind of personalization would be lost especially in the Customer Service environment. Everything that I could imagine were robots doing human jobs, which would be far away from getting closer to our travelers, and in consequence, it would make no sense. But as you go deeper on the topic and read about it, you realize that it has nothing to do with reality: Al removed the blindfold from my eyes. And what is more, now I found myself battling for AI in front of my CEO. Fortunately, we are currently evaluating some suppliers offers to introduce a chatbot in our Twitter account. The main pros of the usage of AI, in the customer service management are:
- AI will oversee routine, repetitive and predictable tasks, in which automatizations services can be implemented. So, the interactions with our travelers will increase with no need of increasing the staff.
- The Customer service team will provide an added value, spending more time for the problem-solving cases, testing the bot content and managing incidences. Here clients are the main reason why I assure that personalization is still alive with new technologies.
- The company could easily answer questions outside the working hours. So, our travelers would receive answers to their quieries at any time, which means that we would become an omnichannel.
Undoubtedly, the fear of robots in sectors such as customer service will always exist, but what it is undeniable is that personalization, emotions, and real passion cannot be replaced by machines. So, a possible solution? Getting to know how to live along with robots, taking advantage of the benefits of having machines working for us. Any customer service manager should take advantage of new technologies, but apart from that, he or she should be surrounded by people with real values. Here, it is the key of our success.