Digital Colleagues powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) are the ideal solution for performing repetitive jobs. They are also excellent teammates that help human workers quickly perform tasks and find information. However, although they’re quickly becoming essential members of productive workplaces, they have yet to master two uniquely human skills: empathy and creative problem-solving. AI continues to grow more intelligent with each passing year, and developers are programming AI with more human characteristics all the time. Nonetheless, people are best (at least for now) when it comes to expressing true understanding and compassion, and solving problems from a human perspective.

In this post, we’ll examine the many ways humans and Digital Colleagues rely on their respective skillsets to provide masterful speed and service quality. We’ll look at why Digital Colleagues are incapable of performing uniquely human skills on their own, and why their collaborative role in these activities is essential for optimal human performance.

True Empathy: More Than Words

Digital Colleagues use neural network algorithms to detect intent. If a customer says, “I lost my credit card yesterday,” this intent recognition helps a digital agent determine an appropriate emotional response. If you say, “I lost my credit card and I see fraudulent charges,” the digital worker doesn’t respond by saying, “That’s great! Let’s get started.” It’ll respond by saying something to the effect of, “That’s terrible. Where did you last use it?” to convey a sense of concern. Conversely, a Digital Colleague can also stand firm when telling a customer, for example, about being rejected for an insurance policy. Based on intent, a Digital Colleague knows whether it should use empathetic language, or escalate an angered customer to a human agent.

What a Digital Colleague cannot do on an innate level is provide the level of empathy people expect when dealing with human customer service agents, particularly during extremely sensitive or poignant interactions. Although a digital agent can and will use the proper terminology to express empathy (“I’m sorry, That’s terrible,” etc.) a Digital Colleague cannot provide true emotional support, and it cannot relay similar experiences from its past.

Empathy is an important skill that can separate quality customer service from emotionless and less satisfying interactions. A digital agent, during its initial interactions with a customer, can help discern a user’s current disposition, offer what support and reassurance it can, and then hand off the session to a human agent to provide true empathetic responses and solutions. When evaluating the role empathy plays in customer service, do not limit it to standard customer interactions; instead, think of the experience you would want to provide for VIP accounts. If your most valuable customer wants to spend a few minutes commiserating with a customer service rep, you should ensure that the employee is providing the proper empathetic response. In other words, let a human handle this aspect of the interaction, and develop your digital agent to understand cues and thresholds for when that should occur.

Creative Problem-Solving

While Digital Colleagues like Amelia can perform many roles and skills within an organization, we do not purport digital workers should entirely replace human ones, as they possess a knowledgebase, temperament and awareness vital for solving people’s issues.

In an instance that requires a creative solution, Digital Colleagues know when to proverbially “raise their hands” to ask a human for assistance, as digital workers do not go beyond their remit and attempt to solve problems for which they have yet to be trained. When a digital worker realizes that it’s being asked to resolve an issue outside its purview, it requests human collaboration. A human is then able to work alongside the Digital Colleague to quickly find the ideal resolution.

Developers program Digital Colleagues to ask for assistance or confirmation rather than proceed with decisions that could dramatically impact your business. You would not want a digital worker deciding on its own to override security restrictions or make supply purchases without prior approval. The same standard applies for solving even the most basic problem. Digital Colleagues excel at recognizing anomalies and alerting human workers that an issue has surfaced. They can even recommend the perfect solution to handle the problem.

Problem-solving and decision-making within any company are ultimately a human’s responsibility — for while people are not infallible, they are still the most qualified to make the final call on how business should be run.

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