Augmented Reality (AR) and Intelligence Augmentation (IA) are transforming the customer support industry. Over the last decade, we’ve seen the rise of chat and voice bots with natural language capabilities that have catapulted the support industry into the digital age.
Are you wondering why we used Intelligence Augmentation instead of Artificial Intelligence (AI)? In this post, we’ll explain that and the role that intelligence augmentation will play in customer support in the future. We’ll also look at how to strike the correct balance between IA, AR, and the customer experience.
Is There a Difference Between AI and IA?
IA is a subsection of the artificial intelligence industry. It does, however, take a different approach. Instead of focusing on AI-based tools to replace humans, it focuses on enhancing human productivity and decision-making.
A chatbot, for example, would attempt to answer a client’s questions. Whether it’s effective will depend on the query’s complexity. IA, by contrast, provides the team with the tools that they require for improving customer support. Many support companies now incorporate a blend of expert live chat agents and intelligent IA tools.
IA is the fastest-growing sector of the AI market. In 2018, development centred on creating agents. In that year, companies invested $0.44 trillion into creating virtual agents, accounting for 44% of the total. IA investments totalled $0.36 trillion and made up just 36.7% of the overall total.
By 2025, that investment should reach $1.93 trillion, or 44% of the total investment. By contrast, investment in virtual agents will drop to just 24.4% of the total.
Market movements indicate that the paradigm is changing. Companies must consider more than simply the potential savings benefits associated with replacing human capital with AI. The change in investment directions shows that they’re taking their responsibility seriously.
In 2020, chat and voice bots became helpful as the pandemic disrupted the traditional working environment. Companies invested heavily in automated technology to supplement their support. Businesses even hailed AI as the ultimate way to cut costs in their call centers. They believed that they could continue with the same model post-pandemic.
A year later, that belief proved false. According to TechRepublic, a customer service survey in the U.S.A. and U.K. yielded interesting results:
- 44% of consumers expect businesses to be more open about how to contact a live support agent.
- 39% of clients feel that being able to deal with a real person is one of the keys to a successful experience. They deal with chatbots if they must, but they’d like to know that there’s a person with whom they may speak in need.
- 17% of consumers feel disappointed in the performance of chatbots.
- 25.8% of consumers feel disappointed in companies that do not provide human support options.
There’s no question that AI can prove useful, but companies must carefully balance its use. Empathetic support is essential for clients, and only humans may provide that at the moment. Companies should consider tools that enhance their team’s performance without replacing them entirely.
IA allows teams easy access to the information they require to make a decision. It can create predictive models, collate data from several sources, and take on tedious, repetitive tasks. These help the employees be more productive and better able to serve clients.
Firms may look at alternative staffing arrangements, like outsourcing, to save costs on a human team.
AR shot to fame a few years ago with the Pokémon Go craze. It was a game but sparked ideas for alternative uses for this technology. Companies can enhance their support by providing apps that allow clients to try on different products.
Warby Parker and Zenni are two companies in the U.S.A. that allow clients to try on glasses virtually. The consumer may view the frames that they choose from various angles to see if they’re suitable.
There are several potential options for the technology. Clients could, for example, scan a product’s barcode in-store to receive more information about it. An app could bring up a product picture and label each part on a phone or tablet.
Providing consultants with a searchable database and several service tools seems reasonable. Can AR assist in a call center operation? Perhaps. Say, for example, that the client takes a photo or video of a product that won’t work.
IA could scan the image for potential trouble spots. It might highlight these on the consultant’s screen. The consultant could then potentially point out the areas for improvement by transferring the information to the client’s screen.
The tools could well work together very effectively to improve the customer experience. Companies will, however, have to work out the best balance between technology and human service.