Humanizing CX in an AI Era: Scott Monty’s Perspective

Sravani Gade

June 26, 20246 min read

Share this Article

David Ogilvy said this years ago, "The customer isn't just anybody. The customer is your wife." Right? 

Scott Monty, social media leader and our latest CX-WISE guest, sums up customer experience (CX) in this one quote.

Simple yet profound. 

You and I, we are all customers too. And when we reach out to brands today for support, how often do you feel like the brand or the agent at the other end, really knows you? That they are genuinely invested in making your experience — a happy one? 

If your answer is, “Quite often!” then great, I hope more and more brands follow suit. 

However, if your answer, like mine, is – “Well, not that often,” then welcome to the club! 

Brands today need to focus on putting the “human” back into CX, especially when AI and automation are being confused as replacements to humans or the human touch in CX. Or as Scott says, choosing efficiency over effectiveness. 

Quote from scott monty on the dangers of AI in CX

Scott breaks it down for us in more detail as to why “humanizing” CX is the need of the hour and how retaining the “human touch” can significantly change the way your customers perceive your brand.  

So, let’s jump right in.

Table of Contents

Empathy and authenticity – the two key traits of great CX

There are two schools of thought around empathy and authenticity. 

Some say these qualities can’t be taught – you either have it or you don’t; while others say they can be cultivated, by consistently putting others first. 

Wondering what this has to do with CX? Well, the culture of customer-centricity is just that. Always putting the customer first. 

Scott drives the point home when he reminisces about his ex-boss, Alan Mulally, the former CEO of Ford. During a "Take Your Child to Work Day" at the company, Mr. Mulally set a remarkable example of empathy and authenticity. He took time out of his busy schedule to talk to Scott Monty's sons. Their interaction showed that he genuinely cared about them, asking about their school, hobbies and even letting them sit in his chair!  

By making them feel special and valued, he showed how being real and empathetic can make a big difference in the employees’ and customers’ experience. 

The importance of authenticity and empathy in customer interactions cannot be overstated. As shared experiences like the one with Mr. Mulally demonstrate, these qualities are not just corporate buzzwords but transformative elements that can make customer experiences more wholesome.  

Whether it's recognizing the need to look for empathy as a key quality in hiring practices or embracing authentic communication to defuse tensions during tricky customer interactions, the human touch remains indispensable in fostering meaningful relationships and driving positive outcomes in the ever-evolving landscape of customer service. 

The need for CX to be hum‘AI’ne

Despite the amazing technology brands have today, it's crucial not to lose that human touch in exchange for greater speed of operation or efficiency.  

Scott points to advanced AI like Elon Musk's Grok, which has a light and humorous tone – a refreshing change from the rest of AI models we see today. AI shouldn’t be just about cold facts; it should reflect the warm, comforting or even fun tone that matches your brand.  

Quote from scott monty on the importance of humanizing CX

Every AI is programmed by humans, using real-world language and interactions. This means we have the power to shape AI to feel more human. Instead of sticking to robotic responses, we should focus on how we want people to feel after interacting with our brand.  

For example, we have all heard or read the standard response: "We regret any inconvenience you may have experienced." A more human approach to this cliched, canned response would be, "Hey, I'm sorry you're going through this. Let me see if I can help make it better." This kind of response immediately softens the tone, feels more caring and not to mention, puts the customer at ease. 

The main risk with AI is losing the caring part of our businesses because technology might prioritize efficiency over genuine connection. It's essential to ensure that even as we use AI to handle tasks, we don't forget to add that personal touch that shows we understand and care about what our customers are going through. This helps to navigate difficult interactions and makes customers feel valued. 

Trust people to tell your brand story

In the age of influencers, Scott shares how Ford had taken this route by hiring 100 individuals from diverse backgrounds to promote the then-newly launched Ford Fiesta back in 2009. These influencers, with followings on platforms like YouTube and blogs, created monthly videos on themes like sustainability and technology. The goal was to leverage trust in peer recommendations. Ford aggregated all their content untouched on one step, showing confidence in both technology and the influencers. By monitoring feedback, Ford made practical changes to the car based on real user experiences, effectively enhancing trust and product quality. 

Today, relationships with influencers may seem more commercialized and can sometimes feel less genuine. With AI-generated content, the risk of losing that authenticity increases exponentially.  

To counter this, Scott’s advice is that companies should look for more opportunities to interact directly with people. Whether it's creating local events or in-person interactions, these human connections can significantly boost a brand's reputation. While AI has its place, nothing beats treating customers with dignity and respect through genuine human interaction. This kind of personal touch can have a far greater impact than any AI-driven chatbot. 

Empower every employee to improve CX 

CX isn’t a one-department job. It is a culture that should permeate across the organization. While AI can improve processes, it is every customer-facing employee’s prerogative in the organization to ensure the customer is delighted every time they reach out. Scott explains how Disney embodies this culture where every employee feels responsible in enhancing CX.  

This anecdote indeed is the mic drop moment that shows the power of the human touch in CX. With the rise of AI, brands must leverage it to empower all with customer-facing roles so that they have greater visibility of customer preferences and needs. By integrating AI into our CX strategies, we can automate routine tasks and provide quick responses, freeing up human capital to focus on more meaningful interactions.  

It is crucial to strike a balance where AI supports human efforts, ensuring that empathy and authenticity remain at the forefront. When people, process and tools work hand-in-hand, we can create customer experiences that feel both efficient and genuinely caring. 

Because let’s be honest, we can all do without the boring ‘regret the inconvenience’ script, can’t we? 

Happy Humanizing! 

There’s more of this wisdom and great anecdotes from Scott on humanizing CX. Catch it all on the latest CX-Wise episode available on YouTube and Spotify. 

Share this Article

Related Topics

Navigating the Age of Outrage: How Generative AI Is Transforming Crisis ManagementThe Role of Generative AI in Social Media Customer ServiceThe Role of AI in Unifying Your Content Marketing Engine