Human vs. Bot: The Seamless Fusion of AI Agents and Human Touch in Customer Support

While we may all love the convenience of digital, the fact is that personal connections matter.

 

Automated systems can be simple and quick, and can get the job done, but there are times when we all need a bit more of a bond. That feeling of having the human touch. It’s often said that there’s really nothing like it. But is that really true?

At a point in time when we’re embracing next-generation AI Agent chatbot technologies, it seems that the case for the human touch is weakening significantly. But is it dead altogether? Let’s take a look.

 

“The human touch can’t be replaced”

The idea that there’s nothing like the human touch – especially in customer service – was true in relation to the chatbots of the past; the early technologies that brought us digitalised customer service automation for the first time. These chatbots weren’t designed to converse, engage, or interact; they were developed to transact. They were pre-programmed with canned responses that were triggered based on keywords alone, regardless of the underlying meaning.

It looked a little bit like this…

 

Customer:

My order #33251 should have arrived on November 1st, but I don’t have it. When will I receive it?

 

Chatbot:

Order #33251 is expected to be delivered on November 1st. Is there anything else I can help with?

 

When we look at conversations like this, it’s easy to see why people would think that we can’t replace the human touch with digital alternatives. But these chatbots are dead and buried. Or at least, they should be!

Today’s next-generation technologies are different, forcing us to question whether or not the old belief that there’s nothing like the human touch still rings true today.

 

Mimicking human behaviour

Unlike their pre-programmed ancestors, the AI Agent chatbots of today use generative technologies to build relevant, unique, individual real-time responses to each prompt. This is achieved through training.

For example, businesses can create their own custom-made knowledge bases, packed with information from their websites, from internal documents, and from employees themselves.

Next-gen AI Agent chatbots are trained by humans, using human-created materials. They cannot utilise information that they don’t have; everything they know comes from people.

Essentially, we’re transferring our own human knowledge to machines, which in turn share this with customers. So in that case, we can argue that there is, in fact, something like the human touch: a human-trained generative AI Agent chatbot.

And returning once more to our earlier example, today’s responses aren’t just triggered by keywords, but by meaning. Using advanced language models to draw out context from user inputs, AI Agent chatbots ‘understand’ more about what an individual is asking, creating personalised responses to queries.

 

Customer:

My order #33251 should have arrived on November 1st, but I don’t have it. When will I receive it?

 

AI Agent:

Ah, I’m sorry to hear that you haven’t yet received your order. I’ve checked the tracking status and I can see it’s out for delivery with your local courier. You should receive it between 11:30am – 2:30pm today, but let me know if you experience any issues and I’ll look into it. I apologise for the delay.

 

We’ve no longer just got a canned response. We’ve got engagement, understanding, and support on a human level, bridging the gap between AI-powered automation and the need for the human touch.

 

So… is human-based customer service dead?

Not at all.

The AI Agents of today are almost unbelievable. Their ability to mimic human interaction is incredible. But the fact is that while they may sound human, they’ll never be human. And that means that although they can understand, learn, and chat, they’ll never be able to empathise.

And that matters.

As customers, when we reach out to customer support, we all want to talk to someone who really ‘gets us’. Someone who knows where we’re coming from, and shares our feelings. For basic requests, a chatbot can do a great job of replicating these behaviours and emotions. But for more sensitive, advanced, complex customer service situations, there’s really only so much a chatbot can do.

Yet we still need chatbots to help us deliver the human touch. And that’s key.

Without new AI Agent chatbots, customer service agents are tied up resolving simple issues and answering common questions. So much so that they lack the time needed to deliver the human touch for those who really need it.

By delegating the more everyday requests to human-like AI Agents, we’re able to free up real, empathetic human talent to satisfy the people chatbots are unable to reach.

 

Working together in harmony

It’s clear that we shouldn’t be pitting humans and bots against each other. This isn’t an ‘either/or’ situation. The goal is to redefine the future of customer service, and provide customers with the level of support they need to remain loyal to our brands.

 

To achieve this, AI-driven chatbots and human agents must work together harmoniously, combining their individual talents to create exceptional outcomes.