The Future of Customer Service AI + Human In the Loop

3 minute read

Samantha Middlebrook Director, Product Management

Well, over a year ago, Upland embarked on a transformative journey, integrating generative AI into our contact center portfolio. Our aim was clear: to revolutionize digital customer service while addressing the pressing need for guidance and education in the rapidly evolving landscape of AI technology. As we delved deeper into this endeavor, one concept resonated loudly and unmistakably – the importance of the human touch within AI-driven interactions.

Understanding the Importance of Human-in-the-Loop AI
In countless conversations with customers, analysts, and prospects, the significance of “human in the loop” became increasingly evident. This approach emphasizes the augmentation of human experiences through AI, especially crucial in industries with stringent regulations and compliance requirements. This approach enables companies to empower their top talents to excel while utilizing AI to streamline routine and repetitive tasks.

The Regulatory Landscape and the EU Mandate
Recent reports from Gartner shed light on the impending regulatory changes, particularly in the European Union. Gartner predicts that by 2028, the EU may mandate customers’ right to engage with human agents, challenging businesses to reassess their AI strategies. The implications are far-reaching, with organizations potentially facing operational upheavals and reputational risks if ill-prepared for such mandates.

Understanding it’s more than a reduction in headcount
As businesses seek to streamline operations and reduce costs through AI adoption, there’s a looming risk of backlash if AI replaces all human-centric service interactions.  Instances like Frontier Airlines discontinuing its customer service call line underscore the urgency of striking a balance between AI automation and human involvement.  After the airline made the decision to remove humans, they received the highest number of complaints from any airline in the US. This highlights that while humans may not be directly answering phones, they remain instrumental in managing complaint cases. It’s crucial to recognize that true Return on Investment in AI should not entail shifting results from one operational area to another but rather maximizing the synergies between AI and human capabilities to deliver exceptional customer service experiences.

Embracing a Balanced Approach
Gartner’s recommendations align with our ethos at Upland – emphasizing the importance of fostering a collaborative relationship between AI and human agents. By staying across evolving regulations and retaining assisted service channels, businesses can mitigate disruptions and safeguard customer trust. It’s imperative to acknowledge that AI should augment, not replace, human capabilities, particularly in customer-facing roles where empathy and understanding are paramount.

In the dynamic landscape of AI-driven customer service, the concept of human in the loop emerges as a guiding principle for sustainable growth and ethical practice. It’s important to remember AI is an enabler of human potential, not a replacement for your frontline.

To learn more about Upland’s 5-point AI Charter and how it future-proofs your customer service organization, contact us today.

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