The Empathy Economy

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The Empathy Economy might sound like the title of a Black Mirror episode, but in reality, it’s a fairly new term that has made it into our vernacular following the rise of automation. “Just as the sharing economy was a byproduct of a super-connected world via the internet and smartphones, the Empathy Economy will arise through the result of job loss from automation”. As we now enter a period where human jobs are phased out by computers, empathetic interactions with companies and brands will become increasingly important to the consumer.

While this may seem alarming, in reality, it will simply mean entering a new period of change, where customer service and understanding your customer becomes more valuable than ever. So, what are the best ways for businesses to adapt to this new emphasis on the customer experience?

Firstly, providing a personal experience will become paramount. While computers are excellent at predicting the customer’s basic needs ahead of time, going above and beyond and adding personal touches to customer service is something that will need to be done by humans. This blend of computer and human is what will take the customer’s experience to the next level.

The good news here is that instead of replacing human jobs, computers will actually free up time for humans, allowing them to take on the role of going out of their way for the customer. AI can now take care of the repetitive tasks that take up a lot of time for employees, freeing them up to think about adding invaluable extras to the customer’s experience.

A working example of this is chatbots. AI chatbots have exploded onto the scene, being used by many sites as a way for the customer to immediately contact that business. However, chatbots work best when they are used in conjunction with humans. When the AI bot is used to screen queries and route them to the correct person, the agents time is then freed up, allowing them to respond to more high-level problems with a personalised approach. This principle - of using bots to deal with low-level problems, leaving humans to have time to pay attention to high-level problems - can be applied to other business areas.

While we may be entering the age of automation, businesses must not lose sight of the importance of human connection to their customers in order to be successful. True success will come from leveraging automation and human employees to provide better customer service that will connect with their consumer, increase brand loyalty and create long-lasting relationships with their customers.