Bots or humans – who will win the battle?
In the battle to help customers to make purchasing decisions, who will win – bots and AI or old-fashioned humans?
This week, UK electrical retailer Currys merged their brands into one. Even more interesting was the advert that announced it.
They recaptured the idea of their team as experts giving their customers something they desperately want and need: expert advice from a human to help them buy.
How can this be? Surely the trend in retail is away from face-to-face on the high street towards automation and AI in e-commerce?
Currys’ angle is this: when it comes to tech you need highly trained humans. ‘Forget the fake reviews, bot farms and lazy algorithms’.
Brand & Marketing Director Dan Rubel says: ‘When it comes to buying tech (where navigating the various options and features is often tricky), talking to an expert makes a difference’.
I’m inclined to agree.
Three advantages of trained humans over automation or AI are:
1. Humans can build an emotional connection with customers
Humans can empathise with other humans and build relationships which are authentic, personal and more meaningful.
2. Humans can speak like real people
Because they are real people.
3. Humans can get to the nub of your problem more quickly
Good human communication is about understanding your customer needs quickly and to care about helping them.
So do customers prefer it? I think it depends on the product type. More complex purchases such as tech often require more support. And according to Accenture customers still prefer dealing with humans.
So why aren’t all brands investing in better human connections?
The obvious answer is the cost. Humans cost more.
Perhaps the answer is to blend the right balance of human connection and automation/AI.
Watch the Curries add below and let us know what you think in the comments.