Artificial Intelligence (Ai), Internet of Things (IoT), Machine Learning, Big Data. This list of new technologies goes on and on. What does this mean for the future of employment? More specifically, if you own a call center, manage a call center, or work in a call center, will you still have a job? These are just some of the critical questions being asked.
Based on Google searches of this subject, and my own experience of 28 years in the call center industry, jobs will change or be reduced in some areas, and grow and expand in other areas. Forbes puts it this way (August 2018), "Artificial Intelligence will replace tasks, not jobs." As far as call center tasks go, voice bots are already impacting call center headcount by eliminating rudimentary tasks. I would argue, this is an excellent use of technology because when applied correctly (and it actually works!), it equates to a better service experience for customers, and a better job experience for employees.
In April, Forbes published the following, "Leveraging AI in the contact center increases the effectiveness of customer service departments by freeing up more time for frontline representatives .... Despite some advantages of employing basic chatbots and automated FAQ deflection tools, brands are realizing that what customers really need is to be serviced in a way that addresses their pain points and solves their issue effectively." And I would add, solves their issues in a timely manner. In today's business market, this is one of the biggest complaints by customers, a lack of first contact resolution, although consumers may not express their concerns in this exact way (See Consumer Reports here).
So, all of the newest technology engines are perfecting their ability to handle rudimentary tasks within a customer service center (and their are many). Note that in order for technology to address these customer questions effectively and timely, they are tapping into no more that one or two databases to pull the data and answer a question. This is an easy work-flow for a human (but, also very boring work for a human). So, what does this mean for the future of customer service teams (Humans)? It means spending much more time on more important and complex tasks and interactions, such as comparison shopping, upgrading an important customer, booking that important holiday vacation, or solving complex banking and investment questions. This is customer support and sales resulting in improved ROI of your human assets, and less employee turnover due to job dissatisfaction.
So, bring on the #Bots, #AI, #BigData, #MachineLearning! Let them take over the boring stuff so we can focus on the good stuff; talking to customers and improving first contact resolution for our customers.
Steve Shefveland, Founder
Emerging Global Services, LLC