Tech Corner

The AI experience

Adrian Swinscoe
Apr 24
8-9 mins

Table of contents

Key takeawaysCollaboration platforms are essential to the new way of workingEmployees prefer engati over emailEmployees play a growing part in software purchasing decisionsThe future of work is collaborativeMethodology


Adrian Swinscoe, the genius behind Punk CX, spoke to Engati CX on bringing humanity back into AI and giving your customers the best of both worlds. Bringing a human touch into the AI Experience.

Adrian Swinscoe is a Customer service and experience advisor, whose passion is to help create, develop, and grow businesses that take care of their customers in the best way possible. 

He conducts master classes at Punk CX, revolving around topics such as Getting Personalisation Right, Striking a Balance between Digital Customer Experience Solutions and the Human touch, and Understanding Customer Emotions and Intent. 

Adrian is also a best-selling author, Forbes contributor, blogger & podcaster.

Interview with Adrian Swinscoe

This section will contain a quick summary of our interview with Adrian. But, if you’d rather hear it from our Punk CX genius himself, we’ve got our Spotify podcast embedded below.


One of your masterclass topics is: "Humans vs. Machines: How To Strike The Critical Balance Between Digital CX Solutions and the Human Touch.” How do you think AI/ conversational agents fit into this aspect of creating valuable customer experiences?

Many people assume that AI and Conversational Agents are the right thing to add to your mix. But ultimately, it depends on what your customer wants.

You need to figure out how your Digital-Human mix varies across the customer journey and also across different customer groups.

Ask yourself, 

How does this strategy fit with, support and enable the achievement of the business’ overall strategy and objectives?


Do you think the “uncanny valley” exists in a field like customer service?

The uncanny valley essentially refers to the fact that as robots start to appear human, they become more appealing to us; but only up to a certain degree. Beyond that point, people may feel a sense of unease.

It depends on how explicit we are in helping people understand what they’re dealing with.

Many people are comfortable with dealing with technology like IVR, chatbots and other solutions that try to respond in a human-like manner

Adrian says that he hasn’t seen this being looked at as a problem yet. But businesses should make it clear that their systems are being built to sound humanlike in an attempt to help their customers.

Now, when it comes to something like Google Duplex, which tries to mimic human speech, complete with involuntary filler words, that could raise concerns. People might not like the fact that it’s trying to pass off as a human.

It wouldn’t hurt for businesses to inform their customers that they’re speaking to a bot. And tell them that if their query is too complex, the bot will pass them on to a live agent.

It’s about balance. 

Use a chatbot to help answer queries as fast as possible, but let them know that they are not being left alone.


How do you think the customer service landscape has changed from the offline era to today’s AI-based online models?

Today, everyone seems to be jumping on the bandwagon. They all want to achieve a digital, omnichannel experience, which is good.

But if everyone is doing it, what’s the difference?

So, brands need to think about what they want to do and why. 

And they need to figure out what’s going to make them stand out. What’s going to be the differentiator.


Do you think we have reached the stage where customer-centricity and service are given the importance it deserves? If not, how do you create a customer-centric work culture?

A lot of people say that they want to build a customer-centric organization.

Then they need to ask themselves a few questions.

Firstly, whether they want to take an outside-in approach, listening to what their customers want.

And they need to figure out whether your organization is built to take an outside-in approach or an inside-out approach.

Most organizations think they’re customer-centric and outside-in, but are actually structured in a very traditional way.

That’s what results in problems and friction. 

The adaptability required to change according to what the customers require clashes with the way the organization is structured.

Here’s our compilation of top 20 AI influencers that you need to follow in 2021!

To create a customer-centric culture, you’ll need to create a proper, outside-in organization.


Do you think that creating good employee experiences will lead to better customer experiences?

There’s a clear correlation between the two- 

But, if you help your people do all the right things at the right times and equip them with all the right resources to do that, there’s a good chance that they will do their best to deliver the right experience to your customers.


What do you believe will be the new normal after this pandemic? How do you believe customer service and support are going to change after the crisis?

Adrian hopes that the pandemic accelerates people’s thinking on how they can use digital technology. He hopes that people understand how much content they should be creating, whether as FAQs or Intelligent Search Function that acts as data for a chatbot that can help users find the answers they need, whenever they need them.

Brands need to start being more proactive with their customers. 

We’ll have a re-appreciation of the value that service and support teams deliver to an organization. Customer service and support teams need to be recognized. Most companies treat their support department as a second class department. Companies need to start seeing the value that their customer support teams bring to them.


Do you believe chatbots and conversational experience design will play a significant role in the future? How and where, in the business transformation cycle, would you see them fit?

Adrian wishes that people stop talking about business transformation. Because it doesn’t specify what businesses are transforming into.

Transformation implies that we’re going to be finished. But we’re not going to be finished. The improvement has to be continuous. It’s not going to stop.

As James Hutton said, 

‘There is no vestige of a beginning, no prospect of an end’

Everything keeps changing. Continuously.

The word transformation means that there will be a finishing point. But, there is no finishing point. Businesses need adaptability.

That’s what Darwin’s entire concept was. A lot of dinosaurs were enormous, but they were not adaptable. And so they did not survive.

Businesses need to consciously focus on being adaptable. Continuously improving.

Keep on making small changes continuously instead of just trying to make huge changes in one burst and then stopping.

Back to the first part of the question, Adrian definitely thinks that chatbots and conversational experience design will be big in the future.

But these technologies need maintenance. They need management. They need content updates. These tools need analytics.

They can be really helpful, but businesses need to realize that they need to maintain these bots so that they can perform well.


Are there any other thoughts that you would like to leave our viewers with?

Strive for simplicity. It pays. It makes things easier for both employees and customers.

Even though we say that we like choice, it confuses us. The more choice you give us, the less we do. It overwhelms us.

That’s actually called the Paradox of Choice.

If you are going to add something to your mix, ask yourself this,

‘If I’m going to add this, what two things am I going to take away?’

Because, if you’re not taking anything away, you’re either maintaining the level of complexity or you’re increasing it.

In 2018, a report showed that most companies had 8 customer support channels (on average). And that number was supposed to increase to 11 in a year and a half.

But most of these companies did not have these channels connected to each other.

So, essentially, they created a more complicated experience.

But if you look at the companies that are considered to be the leaders in customer service, they provide support over only 5 channels on average. And they keep adding to this, but they also keep taking out and simplifying the experience.

They understand that it’s better to be great at a few things than average at a lot.

They know that customers will not only pay for better customer service, they’ll travel for it, not only physically but also digitally.

It’s not necessary to be where your customers are. It’s better to be close to where your customers are, but phenomenal at what you do.

If they know that they’ll get an amazing experience with you, they’ll take the effort to come there.

Check out the 200 CX Thought Leaders to follow in 2021!

Adrian Swinscoe

Adrian Swinscoe is a Customer service and experience advisor, whose passion is to help create, develop, and grow businesses that take care of their customers in the best way possible. He conducts masterclasses at Punk CX, which discusses various topics such as Getting personalisation right, striking a balance between Digital Customer Experience Solutions and the Human touch, and understanding customer emotions and intent. In addition, he is also a best-selling author, Forbes contributor, blogger & podcaster.

Andy is the Co-Founder and CIO of SwissCognitive - The Global AI Hub. He’s also the President of the Swiss IT Leadership Forum.

Andy is a digital enterprise leader and is transforming business strategies keeping the best interests of shareholders, customers, and employees in mind.

Follow him for your daily dose of AI news and thoughts on using AI to improve your business.

Catch our interview with Andy on AI in daily life

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