AI-powered chatbots have made significant progress in customer service over the years. However, there is still a lot of room for improvement, especially in the shipping and logistics industry. This was highlighted by the recent DPD chatbot incident where a malfunctioning chatbot received a lot of negative media attention.
Although digital customer service solutions can be quick and efficient, they often offer generic and automated responses that are not personalised to individual customers. Human customer service representatives on the other hand can provide empathy and assist with complicated and ambiguous inquiries by having an open, two-way conversation.
As technology continues to play an increasingly important role in delivering customer experiences in the shipping industry, it’s important not to overlook the value of human interaction. From establishing trust to identifying specific challenges, maintaining a personal connection with customers is essential for achieving success.
The advancement of technology has provided businesses with quick and efficient solutions to communicate with their customers. AI chatbots can handle a large volume of customer inquiries without requiring any human resources, training, or infrastructure.
Digital solutions are also useful for collecting and analysing customer data which can then be used to improve the service. AI Chatbots can aggregate data from every customer interaction and use it to learn what works best, thus improving their responses over time.
The downfall of automated answers
While automated customer service lines and AI chatbots work efficiently for simple tracking information updates, they cannot decipher complicated issues with shipments and provide suitable solutions.
Like many industries, the shipping and logistics industry has adopted AI-powered solutions to automate the process of answering customer queries. However, this approach may not always provide customers with the desired level of satisfaction. Some customers prefer to speak to a human representative who can listen to their concerns and offer a personalised solution to their problems.
It is often observed that AI-powered solutions may struggle to handle complex, ambiguous, or sensitive situations, such as complaints, disputes, or emergencies. In such cases, it may become necessary to escalate the issue to a human agent, which can impact customer trust, satisfaction, and loyalty.
Shipping and logistics can be prone to delays, customs issues, or delivery problems that need to be resolved quickly to avoid the goods being returned to the sender or disposed of. AI chatbots may not be the best option in the shipping industry when it comes to addressing unique and previously unseen issues, which require the expertise and judgment of a human agent.
The benefits of human customer service representatives
Human representatives provide a more personalised experience and can help frustrated customers in a flexible and agile way. When customers turn to a company’s customer service provider with unique and niche problems, speaking with a human rather than an automated chatbot can enhance trust between the customer and the company.
Providing effective customer service with a live representative answering the phone and offering tailored solutions to the end customer is invaluable. Often, customers may have problems or doubts that do not have straightforward answers, and customer service calls are made out of actual frustration, such as not receiving their goods on time as promised. Therefore, providing efficient and effective customer service is crucial to ensure customer satisfaction.
The main difference between humans and digital systems is that humans can express empathy and sincerity when apologising to customers for any delays or issues with their shipments. They can also provide detailed information on how they plan to resolve any issues and keep in touch with customers to update them on the progress of their shipments.
Ensuring high-quality customer service for customers
At InXpress, we understand how frustrating it can be for our customers to fight with automated chatbots who may not understand a unique issue. That’s why we have established close relationships with carriers and have dedicated customer service lines to provide premier customer support. Our team is available to listen to customer issues and problems at the second ring of the phone. We provide timely updates and monitor each case until the goods are successfully delivered.
The bottom line
Customers’ expectations and demands have never been higher in today’s constantly changing market. That’s why, together, we’re building the infrastructure for smarter businesses and enabling more connected communities. We can only do this through fostering real, transparent, and honest relationships.
While AI chatbots can be fast and efficient, there is still a long way to go to ensure they provide the same high-quality service as human customer service agents. Exceptional customer service is essential to any successful business and the emotion and empathy built into a human customer service representative is not something that can be replicated in an AI or automated system. By providing a human touch, you can help build and foster transparency and loyalty within customers which digital solutions are unable to do.
About the Author
Sally Wright is Customer Services Director InXpress Preston.
Sally and her husband Paul purchased their franchise business back in 2013 and, working from a small office at home started to build a customer base of local companies by offering our preferential rates backed up with the promise of a much better customer service than going directly to the carriers themselves.
Over the last 11 years, they have built up a loyal customer base of over 300 customers, looked after by their team of 5 staff from offices in Lancashire. They have welcomed their son and daughter Jacob and Emily into the business running the sales department and Sophie who runs their International Freight Desk. Outside of work they enjoy spending time at their holiday lodge in Ingleton and enjoying long walks in the countryside with their Cavapoo ‘Dennis’.