Why AI can’t replace authentic client relationships


Countless conversations are happening worldwide about how AI will infiltrate different parts of our lives and take over our jobs. 

As an SEO professional, I believe in embracing technology and using it to support both my clients’ businesses and my own. 

However, we need to clearly distinguish between AI supporting marketing work and AI replacing us and completing that work on our behalf.

This rings particularly true in the realm of sales and customer care.

Replacing humans

No matter how good AI is, it doesn’t replace the power of human connection, thought leadership or creativity.

For example, a great way to utilize AI technology might be having a chatbot on your website. 

This can help web visitors to get any questions answered quickly and easily, without the need to speak to a real person. 

The problem comes when the system is wholly reliant on this chatbot and it becomes almost impossible for someone to speak to a real person to help them resolve a query that AI simply cannot. 

It’s like placing an intern on day one as head of customer service and expecting them to thrive.

Identify those areas of your business where AI technology can make a real positive impact rather than solely putting your focus on areas where it can save the business money. 

Understand how the introduction of AI will affect your relationships with your customers and their perception of your business.

  • Rely on AI too much, you may be seen as inaccessible and, therefore, your customers may feel like they aren’t valued in a way they believe they should be. 
  • Don’t use AI at all, you might lose out to your competitors.

Giving your customers a great experience while adopting AI to streamline and automate elements of your business requires the right balance. 

Those that get this wrong could find themselves with disgruntled customers and client retention issues.


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All the feelings

We humans are complicated creatures that display a wide array of emotions, from love to frustration to anger and happiness. Feelings are part of our everyday lives. 

While AI can analyze patterns and understand words, it lacks the ability to truly comprehend the feelings of others in a deep and meaningful way.

It’s not only the words that we use but our facial expressions, tone of voice and body language that truly convey how we feel.

Email, messaging and social media have already removed our ability to take as many communication cues as possible from others. 

There is concern that with AI, we will face further degradation. Will we find ourselves in a world of people struggling to communicate face to face?

I believe that we need to retain these skills in our businesses, particularly when it comes to customer relationships. 

I also believe businesses that find the right balance between AI and technology and human connection will be the most successful over the next few years.  

Trust

Trust is part of what makes strong relationships, which is no different for your customers.

They need to feel like:

  • You are acting in their best interests.
  • They are getting the best advice about how you can solve their problem or satisfy their desire through the products and services you offer.
  • That you are going to deliver on your promises.

AI alone will struggle to build loyalty and trust in the same way that a human can because it requires an emotional connection to do so. 

Your customers want to see that you can empathize with their situation and develop a solution that meets their needs. 

AI doesn’t display this ability, so a strong bond between business and customer will be much more difficult to achieve without human interaction.

Creative thinking

Another way AI cannot mimic human behavior is in its lack of creativity. 

Yes, it can reform images and words from existing resources, but it can’t come up with new and unique ideas about the world in the same way that we can. 

Dreaming up big ideas and sharing them with others is fundamental to being human.

Can you imagine a client meeting for a new marketing campaign created solely from AI. You could end up with a regurgitated version of a variety of marketing campaigns that have already been in existence before.

AI only knows what it knows right now – it can’t dream up new things or design something from scratch, at least not in the same way that humans can.

Some useful ways to use AI in your business

Several AI tools can significantly improve efficiency and enhance the overall customer experience. 

These tools are a great way to help and support the activities of your real-life team (even if that’s just you).

1.   Customer relationship management (CRM) systems

Every business should have a CRM system, it’s how you manage customers and analyze data. 

The idea is to enable you to offer an engaging experience and ultimately create more sales for your business.  

AI-driven CRM tools can analyze customer data quickly and easily, giving valuable insights into preferences and needs. 

With this knowledge, businesses can personalize their communication and offerings.

2. Chatbots and virtual assistants

Chatbots and virtual assistants are great ways to use AI. 

We touched on this earlier: they enable real-time communication, answer questions and deliver information quickly and seamlessly. 

The best chatbots use natural language processing, meaning they can better understand customer questions and respond accurately.

They can cost-effectively deliver great customer service. This enhances the overall experience of those visiting your website (or app).

3. Feedback tools

These tools can analyze customer feedback, reviews, and social media interactions, working out the sentiment behind the words. 

These AI-driven tools can discern whether customers exhibit positive, negative or neutral sentiments toward a product, service or brand. 

This helps businesses address any issues and put measures in place to improve how they are perceived.

4. Predictive analytics

Predictive analytics uses AI algorithms to analyze historical data and identify patterns, trends and correlations. 

The benefit: Businesses can proactively address customer concerns and offer personalized recommendations. 

It can also help retain customers by offering products and services before they even know they need them, ultimately enhancing their experience while increasing sales.

5. Email marketing

AI-powered tools are highly effective in optimizing email marketing campaigns by personalizing content and delivery times based on customer behavior and preferences. 

Segmenting email lists ensures that clients receive targeted and relevant content. 

AI can also analyze customer responses to past emails and adjust content accordingly, increasing open rates and engagement.

6. Voice assistants

As voice-activated devices gain prominence, businesses can tap into the potential of voice assistants to enrich client interactions. 

Voice assistants offer quick access to information, address common queries, and even facilitate ecommerce transactions. 

Integrating voice assistants into customer service or sales processes streamlines interactions, offering clients a convenient and efficient means to engage with your business.

You can find an AI tool to help you with almost anything in your business. These were just a few examples

Whether summarizing meetings, breaking down big tasks or writing a proposal outline, AI will form a big part of our working lives.

The challenge will be to filter through the noise and use AI tools that will help your business improve efficiency. Doing so without damaging that all-important customer experience. It will be an interesting few years as we see how AI technology evolves.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

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