The other day, I tried to reach out to a company for some help. I was having an issue with their website and I wanted to simply let them know about it. The only way to contact them was via this “live chat” bot in the lower right.
Long story short, it was clearly AI. “She” might have been given a cutesy name, but this AI was just sending me through loops. When I said “talk to a person”, it just kept on looping me around. After being completely blocked from the ability to contact them, I ended up… well, cussing at their AI. Hey, not proud of it, but jeez, man.
This kind of thing has been happening via phone for awhile, as you know. Press 1 for this, press 2 for that. “Your call is important to us!” While you just end up trying to get a stupid piece of software to understand what you’re saying. My call is important to them, my ass. They’re just trying to get me to go away.
It’s a company trying to avoid their own customer base. And what does that tell you about them?
They’re looking at you as a thing to contend with. Something to sort. Something they hope they can shovel some info into using software and you’ll go away and not take up their precious time.
I don’t know about you, but I try to avoid companies that treat me like that. I don’t owe them my business.
And I actually think it is rather dishonest to have a “live chat” support box sitting there only to have it powered by AI.
In my opinion, we’re in a time where one of the best growth strategies you can take for your business is to go the other direction. RE-humanize. Be real. Be human.
It isn’t that tough since we’re all human anyway. But, if you’re putting up a bunch of layers to avoid talking to people, you’re just doing it wrong.
In fact, you should be looking at every opportunity you can to talk to your target customers, your audience, etc. You should be making it EASY for them to communicate with you.
Your best way to get anybody to want to do business with you is open communication. Open, two-way communication. Where you listen, you help, you handle their originations as they come up.
What people want is answers. They want them pretty fast, so speed of communication is pretty important, too. But, answers is not all people want…
See, we’re living in a world now where so many businesses we deal with are automating to the point of treating us like numbers. We’re slow-talking phrases to stupid software on the phone to try to talk to a real person. We’re being asked to self-checkout at the stores. And now we’re getting AI shoveled in our face as if its a big improvement.
We’re living in a time where simply being as real and personable as you possibly can is a stand-out marketing strategy.
The business “experts” will say that isn’t very scalable.
Human beings are expensive. It takes time. Humans are complicated. Software and automated systems remove the complexity and the time, right?
But, our audience and our customers are not mindless drones. They’re not cattle to be herded into their appropriate bins.
And people aren’t stupid. We know when we’re talking to software. Even as the AI gets better and it becomes a little harder to tell the difference, the MOMENT a person figures out they’ve been talking to a bot named “Patty”, that business just falls several notches in the trust department.
So, the point here is just that… be aware that we’re in a time where one of your best business growth strategies right now is simply to be REAL. To scale up your humanity, not your software systems. To scale your human intelligence, not your artificial intelligence.
If you’re going to have a phone number on your website, make sure a person actually answers it.
When you invite people to send you email, answer them. Heck, maybe go the extra mile and reply to people via video using something like Loom. That will wow the hell out of them.
You can scale your business by creating repeatable systems to deliver your products faster. But, you don’t scale by putting up a bunch of walls to look bigger than you actually are and make it hard for people to contact your business.
You want to welcome communication as much as you would welcome money into your business. After all, it’s that communication that can turn into money.
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