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6th December 2017

Human vs. Robot: Can We Ever Really Replace Human Connection?

Many of us now shop online, bank online, converse with our friends online and run our businesses online… But can we ever really replace a human connection?

I recently attended a fascinating conference looking at the use of Artificial Intelligence in the business world; in this particular case in contact or call centres.

In a world where technology is developing at lightning speed and businesses feel under pressure to maximise productivity and keep customers happy, it makes sense that they would ‘get with the times’ and ‘go robot’.

My 18 month-old daughter knows how to swipe through photos on an iPhone, and my 3 year-old knows her way around an iPad as well as any adult.

Many of us now shop online, bank online, converse with our friends online, run our businesses online – the list goes on!

But can we ever really replace a human connection? A human conversation, a genuine interaction with real time emotional responses?

My thoughts… absolutely not! I love people!

I love working for a business that puts people first; a business that thrives on making a positive difference to people’s lives.

The development of technology is exciting and as our lives get busier, I (like many others), appreciate being able to ‘do things online’.

However, we cannot replace human beings – not yet anyway!

In an unpredictable economy it is vital that we make ‘every penny count’ and the biggest cost to any business is people. But in the customer service industry people are also the biggest asset.

Compassion, empathy, understanding, a friendly voice, a desire to do what’s best for the customer; are traits of a human being, not an artificial being.

Excellent customer service is usually something that most businesses strive for, and to achieve this a happy ‘human’ workforce is essential.

Employee engagement is now becoming an essential focal point in most large businesses.

If people are happier in their workplace, and more engaged with themselves and each other, then it’s obvious that their service levels improve and therefore customers are happy!

Team building activities have been employed by companies for a long time, but employee engagement goes much deeper than an afternoon of team building.

This is not to say that they aren’t hugely beneficial, and can be great fun, but a longer term commitment to your people will see you reap the rewards; not only as a provider of great customer service, but also as a company focused on providing top-notch staff training and development.

A great place to work!

Greg Reed of Homeserve, one of the UK’s leading home assistance providers, was one of the presenters at the conference I mentioned earlier.

His story was the one that really nailed down the importance of human interaction with customers.

People are at the top of their agenda; their people, their customers and the communities they serve.

This is evident when Greg tells of a programme they have in place which lets their workforce go the extra mile for customers.

They send flowers, cards and even ensure engineers are first-aid trained. This was suggested after an engineer, who happened to be trained, was able to save the life of a customer.

Another engineer who went through the training was able to save the life of a neighbour and friend.

Imagine how this can make you feel?!

A robot wouldn’t think to send flowers.

These real human connections are vitally important, for customers as well as team members.

When I hear stories like those from Greg at Homeserve, I know that I’m in the right business.

People are at the centre of everything Inspire Me does.

Whether it’s encouraging personal development, authentic leadership training, employee motivation or amazing team building activities; the focus is always on people.

Connecting people with people, on a human level.

Empowering positive change.

“Without technology humanity has no future, but we have to be careful that we don’t become so mechanised that we lose our human feelings.” – Dalai Lama

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog.

This blog was written by Stef Evans for Inspire Me.

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