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AI and Services: Apply with Caution to Avoid Alienating Customers

By Dick Weisinger

AI and automation have the potential to reduce labor costs and make businesses more efficient, but new technologies need to be applied with thought, particularly when exposing customers to AI-driven interfaces.

A study at Rensselaer found that when today’s level of AI is used to replace business interactions, customers may not respond positively because the interaction lacks a human touch.

Chris Meyer, Professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, said that “AI has the potential to upend our ideas about what tasks are uniquely suited to humans, but poorly implemented or strategically inappropriate service automation can alienate customers, and that will hurt businesses in the long term… Like any form of knowledge, AI and all forms of service automation have their place, but managers need good models to know where that place is… Automation and human workers can and should be used together. But the extent of automation must fit with the business’s strategic approach to customers.”

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