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June 2018, Vol. 6, No. 3

AI for customer service at the peril of personal relations

AI for customer service tools allow mega corporations to use all the data they collect to better understand consumer behavior and derive predictive insights to boost sales, while theoretically improving the customer experience by delivering personalized recommendations. The irony, of course, is that these hyper-personalization tools also serve to prevent customers from having personal interactions with the people at those companies. But that's the way of the world today. We're so accustomed to getting what we need from automated systems -- be it our preference to use the ticketing kiosk at the airport instead of speaking with an agent at the counter or the ATM at the bank we rely on in lieu of a teller -- that many of us only seek out a person when automation fails. I, for one, will pick up the phone and talk to a customer service agent only as a last resort. I prefer to find solutions to product problems using self-service platforms or instant messaging chats, and I don't really care whether the agent on the other end of that ...

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