From KITT to Cobots: Driving the Future of Customer Experience

Growing up in the ’80s, I was obsessed with the television show “Knight Rider.” The idea of a talking, decision-making artificial intelligence like KITT wasn’t just cool; it felt like a peek into the future. Back then, KITT’s self-driving tech was mind-blowing—yet somehow, it seemed within the realm of possibility. I daydreamed about someday being Michael Knight, teaming up with my AI sidekick to make a difference.

I didn’t know it at the time, but KITT is what we call a cobot or collaborative robot today. Cobots are AI that are capable of operating in human environments and using tools designed for humans. They do similar tasks as a human would, except with the benefit of extraordinary speed, memory, consistency, and computational power. By mimicking human work but accelerating those tasks, cobots can take advantage of existing infrastructure—making them quicker to deploy and easier for users to understand and manage.

Thinking About Cobots Through a Real-World Lens

To understand cobots, let’s look at an example of traditional automation: the monorail at Walt Disney World. The Walt Disney Company connected its first couple of Orlando theme parks and its early hotels with a self-driving train. However, after it was built, Disney added several new resorts and additional theme parks, routinely changing entrance locations and traffic flows.

At first, the company tried to keep up, building new tracks and monorail stops but quickly realized that the constant changes paired with the subsequent costs of rebuilding the monorail every few years made it hard to justify the benefits of the automation. So, Disney stopped modifying the monorail and instead added buses and shuttles to keep up with the changes. If you needed a new stop, you just added it to a driver’s route, no problem.

But with cobot technology, you never even build the monorail in the first place. Instead, you make the buses automated. They would drive on the existing roads with other traffic and easily learn how to add new stops to keep up with the constant changes. Even better, these automated buses could be completely repurposed for any number of challenges on Disney property requiring the transportation of groups. New areas of the park would have automated transportation available instantly—without building anything new.

Cobots Applied to Customer Care

So how does all of this connect to AI and automation for contact centers? Just like KITT before it, Sidd, Laivly’s artificial intelligence platform, is also a cobot. Drawing inspiration from the self-driving car concept, we developed Sidd, our own “self-driving” contact center agent. The “roads” it drives are your telephony system, your CRM, and those shipping websites that agents access when your customer asks for a specific delivery time.

In the realm of customer service, the integration of cobot technology is akin to the leap from static, inflexible systems to more adaptive, responsive solutions. These AI-driven cobots, much like the autonomous buses in the Disney analogy, operate within the existing infrastructure but with greater flexibility and adaptability to change.

Cobots in customer service environments are designed to interact naturally with customers, providing responses and solutions in real time. They are programmed to understand and process human language, gauge sentiment, and even personalize interactions based on customer history and preferences. This level of interaction is not merely about following a script. It’s about understanding context, much like how an autonomous vehicle interprets and reacts to its surroundings.

One of the key strengths of cobots is their ability to customize and adapt, flexing the rules like a human would. In a customer service context, this means being able to address multiple customer needs at once, with each interaction tailored to the individual customer’s specific issue. This is not replacing human agents, but rather enhancing their capabilities, allowing them to focus on more complex, nuanced customer interactions where human empathy and understanding are irreplaceable.

As cobot technology continues to advance, we can expect even more sophisticated and seamless integration into customer service environments. The future of customer service is one where AI-driven cobots work in harmony with human agents, each playing to their strengths to provide a customer experience that is efficient, empathetic, and continually evolving.

Embracing the Future of CX with Cobot Technology

In essence, the evolution of cobot technology in customer service is not just a shift in how services are delivered—it’s a transformation in the very nature of customer interaction. From reactive to proactive, from standardized to personalized, and from operational to strategic, cobots are redefining the landscape of customer service, promising a future that is more responsive, efficient, and attuned to the needs of the modern consumer.

These cobots, with their blend of efficiency, adaptability, and continuous learning, are not just tools but partners in enhancing the customer experience. They might not have KITT’s flashing red light or flair for drama, but in the realm of customer service, they are certainly making a similarly impactful entrance. Just as KITT was a harbinger of a future filled with intelligent machines, today’s cobots are a real-world embodiment of that vision.

And I still get to pretend I’m Michael Knight.

To learn more about how Laivly applies the cobot concept to real-world CX solutions, visit www.laivly.com.

Guest post written by Jeff Fettes, Founder and CEO of Laivly.

Laivly’s proprietary artificial intelligence platform, Sidd, enables the world’s biggest brands to leverage AI, automation, and machine learning into their existing customer service programs, swiftly and without extensive integration barriers, with industry-leading agent copilot and self service solutions.

Laivly will be joining us at Customer Response Summit (CRS) in Tucson, March 12-15, 2024. Learn more about CRS Tucson here.