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There have been many changes in the social customer service landscape over the last year—and even the last few months—which are helping to define how brands engage with their customers.

But one of these changes, AI, is going to have far broader repercussions than just social care—with estimates suggesting it will take 38-47 percent of jobs within 50 years. The implications will also be felt within the social care realm. We’re already seeing the dawn of an era when AI can be implemented to augment natural-language conversations without the frustration caused by the previous generation of chatbots.

In this new AI driven world brands will need a few more tricks up their sleeve than just high IQ and EQ. We’re going to need what Jack Ma, self-made Chinese billionaire and founder of the world’s sixth largest retailer, calls “LQ.”

According to him, it may be the only competitive advantage we have left.

Are your customers feeling the love?

LQ, that stands for “love quotient,” is the next iteration in our societal obsession with benchmarking ourselves and an attempt at fleshing-out our advantage over the machines.

“A machine does not have a heart, [a] machine does not have soul, and [a] machine does not have a belief,” Ma told a crowd at the Bloomberg Global Business Forum recently. “Human beings have the souls, have the belief, have the value; we are creative, we are showing that we can control the machines.” Here at Conversocial, this rings especially true because we’ve been singing this song for years. As brands continue to move their support organizations onto social, they are realizing that there’s a lot more to being human than just a canned-response. There’s a one-to-one relationship that customers expect from brands and even as channels proliferate and support agents turn up the automation to handle it all, it doesn’t excuse them from the niceties of interpersonal connection.

In fact, more than ever, your brand needs a voice, a face, and a deep interest in helping the customer above and beyond the basic function of resolving their complaint.

Human support will remain your biggest advantage

Customers increasingly demand human care. Take for example, a traveler who complains about a hair in his or her coffee. It takes IQ to surmise that they want a new cup of joe, but as any human can tell you, that’s likely not enough. It requires EQ to take that next step to understand the customer is also seeking emotional validation for his or her experience. Yet even a machine capable of that much is unlikely to find the right words to satiate their desire. (That’s doubly true if the customer knows it’s a machine.)

No, what that customer needs at this point is an escalation. An escalation past the colossal AI intelligence that’s broad and energetic enough to monitor all of social media—and past the deep emotional intelligence that’s sensitive enough to register emotion and cough out appropriate answers—straight up to a good old-fashioned human.

And that human can apologize and make it all right because they have LQ. They care—they can make a real connection—and call it a sixth sense, but customers can tell the difference.

LQ should be at the forefront of all of our business dealings in the coming age of automation. Love should power our customer support, partnerships, investments, and beyond. It’ll be what separates successful brands from the machine-driven ones who, although highly intelligent and endlessly emotional, will completely miss the point.

So when Jack Ma says, “If you’re not contributing to the rest of the world, there’s no LQ … Your love is you have to be principled. That’s the bottom line,” we are on board. LQ is our most powerful tool.

The future of service remains human, but AI will work in harmony to help scale and operationalize service.

Read our 5th Definitive Guide and learn how to overcome common social customer care challenges to become a paradigm of effortless, in-the-moment social customer service, at scale.