For decades, financial service customer experience (CX) leaders have been attempting to find the right tools to provide the best customer service possible and propel their business forward. While many believe ChatGPT is poised to revolutionise the industry and replace human employees, Intradiem chairman and CEO, Matt McConnell couldn’t agree less.
McConnell founded Intradiem in 1995 with a vision of reinventing customer service through automation and artificial intelligence. Intradiem is a provider of intelligent automation solutions for customer service teams. McConnell graduated from The Georgia Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering. Despite founding and leading a call centre automation solution company McConnell is a huge advocate for human interaction in the CX journey. Humans cannot be replaced by bots like ChatGPT.
Speaking to The Fintech Times, he discussed three factors which are worth thinking about before completely investing in AI services like ChatGPT:
Is ChatGPT Right for Financial Services CX? Consider Three Factors Before Deciding
Financial services firms have long sought a silver-bullet solution to frustrating customer service interaction. The kind that subjects customers to multiple transfers and too much time on hold. Such interactions waste valuable time and add unnecessary stress to already painful situations. For example, declined charges or breached accounts.
It’s no surprise then that the sudden rise of ChatGPT has inspired visions of near-zero wait times and happier customers. The awesome capabilities of this and other new artificial intelligence (AI)-powered programs will enrich human interactions. This is in addition to helping satisfy user requests at lightning speed.
There is potential of emerging AI technologies to revolutionise the customer service experience, we also need to bear in mind their limitations, and weigh both when deciding how the technology impacts three critical aspects of our operations: efficiency, accuracy and trust.
Efficiency: Solve my problem fast
Older chatbot solutions could execute basic interactions. For example, scheduling an appointment with your personal financial planner or looking up/providing your current account balance. Much like those earlier chatbots, ChatGPT’s most enticing benefit is its ability to quickly resolve common customer challenges. Specifically, transactional tasks that don’t require human interaction—when customers just need an answer and don’t have time to wait in a queue.
But what about questions that require synthesis? Not just in cases of scheduling an appointment with a financial planner, but also in cases where customers need a recommendation for a specific financial planner based on their particular financial situation? ChatGPT will navigate this challenge more successfully than older chatbots. This is given its ability to learn from prior interactions. As a result, it can better associate customer requests with a specific financial planner’s skill set.
A high success rate of such recommendations could lead to more efficient customer service calls. That’s a big ‘could’, though, because of the next factor we’ll discuss.
Accuracy: Solve my problem correctly
When given the choice between straightforward options, ChatGPT can provide a nearly-instantaneous answer based on its access to data. For example, choosing a financial planner from a list of many planners. But AI models will struggle in situations where the customer’s needs lie outside the boundaries of the data on which the AI model was trained, or if particular urgencies or nuances are involved.
Take, for example, a recent unpleasant experience I had. I booked a hotel room for my family in a city hosting a major sporting event. I later found the site I booked on was fraudulent. When we arrived at midnight, the hotel had no record of our reservation. I needed help with customer service on two fronts, Firstly my bank, to reverse the fraudulent charge, and a booking service, to find us another hotel room.
I called my credit card provider to cancel the fraudulent charge and began searching for another hotel room. In both cases, I bypassed the chatbot option and went straight for live agents. This was no time for glitches or errors. I needed to trust that my credit card provider would accurately assess the situation and reverse the charge, and that a live agent would understand my dilemma and find my stranded family a room right away.
Such situations require a human who can gather all the relevant information, weigh it and make the best decision in the moment. Even if it’s not the default response. These situations are make-or-break for customer loyalty, and leaving the interaction to a chatbot could be costly.
Trust: Solve my problem empathetically
I’ve been around the customer service industry long enough to remember when offshoring customer service was surrounded by a buzz. Similar to what ChatGPT is experiencing today. It was going to streamline the customer experience and make operations far less costly. What studies found, however, was that callers wrote off interactions with customer service agents who were well-trained and professional, but spoke with foreign accents. The backlash caused many businesses to shift their call centres back to the US in the mid 2010s.
There’s also the issue of follow-up to consider. If customers are unable to resolve their issues during their first call, they want to know that the contact centre agent will escalate the issue and call back with a solution within 24 hours. Hearing confirmation of these steps from a human, rather than a chatbot, offers more confidence that a resolution will occur quickly.
ChatGPT can’t stand alone, but it can fill in gaps
Most customer service interactions require more than just efficiency. Therefore, chatbots won’t replace human customer service agents anytime soon. The need for accuracy, empathy and judgment will continue to be central to customer service. Only human agents can deliver those capabilities.
However, ChatGPT can fortify the ability of human agents to deliver efficient, accurate and trustworthy solutions to customer inquiries. As AI evolves, integrating it with existing contact centre technology infrastructure will help agents access relevant information faster. It will also let them make more informed decisions about how to resolve customer issues.
Augmented by AI-powered tools like ChatGPT, person-to-person customer interactions will become significantly more efficient without losing the essential ‘human touch’ that’s necessary to ensure positive outcomes.
ChatGPT and similar AI-powered technologies may or may not be the silver bullet financial services firms have been hoping for. But if the substantial power of these technologies is deployed to support contact centre agents rather than to replace them, then the customer service experience is about to get a lot better.