The digital age is upon us. With the increasing popularity of digital communication channels, primarily driven by social media and the 24/7 service culture. In response to this many organisations have adopted various new technologies such as Chatbots and Conversational AI to support this demand.
But there remains the challenge for many businesses of how to better support and engage with the generation that the digital revolution missed. It is first important to state that although this blog is focused on the older generation (70+), there are swathes of people within this group who are digitally “savy” and more than comfortable with interacting with organisations in these technology lead channels. Similarly, there are also people from younger generations who are reluctant to adopt this new approach to customer service.
The challenge for many of these individuals is fear around new technologies such as tablets and smartphones. These devices simply have not been part of their lives or embedded in the culture they grew up with, so there is some hesitancy to adopt them. Additionally, there are some physical challenges with these devices, such as sight and dexterity limitations. Although there are devices out there that do support these limitations, they are not that commonplace (and finding them could be a challenge without the help of Google).
Due to these challenges, many people within this generation prefer to rely on more traditional methods of communication such as letters, telephone calls, and in-person interactions. Furthermore, there is also the widely held belief that they will receive better service through these more traditional channels. This can be the case, however, often requires more time commitment and effort from both the individual and the organisation.
For example, increased pressure on customer service teams because of high call and email volumes, taking them away from focusing on building relationships and resolving those more sensitive issues.
This approach can also lead to frustrations for the individuals who are subject to lengthy call waiting times or even in the case of my mum finding that her local bank branch is closing and now needing to travel over 20 miles to speak to someone to resolve her issue. Resulting in negative experiences, impacting satisfaction and brand reputation for the organisation.
So how do organisations meet the needs of this demographic, whilst still delivering high levels of service and maintaining their operational costs? Sadly, the answer is not clear cut, but Conversational AI Assistant could offer a solution to alleviate some of the challenges for both sides.
Although declining, the telephone remains a popular channel of communication (particularly for this age group). But as mentioned previously, individuals are often subject to lengthy waiting times, and even when they have got through to someone, they might then be passed between departments to resolve their issue, increasing the call duration, and adding to the frustration.
Conversational Assistant via a voice channel. Automated voice services have existed for some time, but a Conversational Assistant differs from these often-unintuitive systems through its application of natural language processing and machine learning to understand the true meaning and intent of customer interactions and deliver more meaningful interactions and outcomes.
This functionality is also supported by secure integrations with internal business systems. These integrations help to elevate the experience delivered by enabling the user to perform tasks such as retrieving account details, orders updating information such as delivery schedules, and completing tasks such as onboarding or applications.
These interactions happen seamlessly and within minutes, handing over to agents where more support is required. Ultimately reducing call volumes, through enabling customers to more effectively self-serve and handling times, resulting in improved experiences.
Although, requiring some commitment and investment from organisations, a bespoke application of Conversational AI Assistants could also help to solve the challenge of providing more digital support for the older generation. Bespoke applications could be developed with larger and easier-to-read fonts, voice enablement, and guided options rather than requiring a full conversation – creating a simpler and easier way for users to interact with the systems.
This approach is, however, reliant on the users being willing to use more modern technology devices in the first place, requiring a series of education programs (a great example of this is Barclays Digital Eagles) and the individuals having access to the technology in the first place.
Reducing the Pressure Elsewhere
Conversational Assistants are designed to automate the processing of inbound communications and requests, freeing up contact centre and support teams through enabling customers to more effectively self-serve. Therefore, if the majority of customer interactions are streamlined through a Conversational Assistant, support teams are more effectively able to manage more traditional forms of interaction. They can focus on delivering the support that consumers need without being burdened by mountains of emails and calls – delivering enhanced interactions and experiences.
In conclusion, organisations need to be able to communicate with and support customers,
regardless of their age or preference in ways that deliver engaging and meaningful experiences.
In combination with better education and through freeing up customer service teams to focus on these higher-value tasks, Conversational AI offers organisations a solution to bridging the generational gap.
If you would like to find out more about how Conversational AI could support your customer service, get in touch today.