If pop culture is to be believed, then our relationship with machines is something to be nervous about. Sure, C3PO is great, but for every instance of fictional technology helping mankind, there are many more Skynets just waiting to finish us off.

Thankfully, the actual partnership between man and machine has never been closer. The special relationship forged between people and the technology that they rely on every day is real and becoming ever closer.

Millennials in particular haven’t been put off by the dystopian nightmares pictured in the movies. They not only accept a closer reliance on technology, they embrace it. And as Artificial Intelligence plays a more significant role in automating customer service, the millennial generation is opting to bypass outmoded means of getting customer support and is heading straight for the automated options.

In some recent research that we conducted of 1,500 millennials across North America, over 65% of those surveyed said that they preferred going online to get support. They didn’t want to go to a store. They didn’t want to talk to a live agent of any kind.

So automating customer service is more than acceptable for them – in fact it’s desirable – but what they’re not prepared to accept is a sub-standard experience. Technology that is clearly designed to save on support costs but not necessarily offer great service is out. That IVR system that seemed like a good idea at the time is no longer acceptable even if it does seem like it’s improving First Contact Resolution rates. Because, on the whole, your customers hate the experience, particularly younger ones.

Integrating virtual agent or bot technology into channels that customers already use to communicate with brands (web, mobile, social, messaging) makes sense. As the tech to allow people to have meaningful, natural conversations using text or speech with automated systems matures, we find oursleves entering a whole new era of partnership between man and machine. One where the machine is genuinely helpful – and entirely lacking in murderous ambition.

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