AI vs. Human Agents in the Contact Center
Given how Artificial Intelligence (AI) is rapidly advancing and being used for more and more jobs, it’s natural to wonder what roles humans will have to play in society years from now. From data-entry clerks and taxi drivers to lawyers and doctors, it appears that almost no one is exempt from the threat of being replaced by a wonder robot.
However, as smart as AI may be, there is still one card left on the table for our species to play. Though we cannot compete with a robot’s mathematical skills, analytical skills, linguistic skills, or technological skills (the list goes on), human empathy is one thing these digital brains cannot yet emulate accurately.
In industries such as customer service, where businesses must connect with people on a human level, empathy is crucially important. Though AI has improved many areas of customer service by allowing companies to reduce cost and improve efficiency, it cannot compete with the emotional intelligence human agents possess.
So, perhaps more so than any other industry, it could be said that the future of customer service is primarily “human-centric.” Below we will look in more detail at why this is so and discuss in further detail what roles both humans and AI will play in this sector as time progresses.
What Role Does AI Play in Customer Service?
Though front-end interactions with the customer always benefit from a high level of emotional intelligence, everything at the back-end benefits from AI. Below are some examples of why this is so:
Processes Data at Superhuman Speeds – Modern contact centers are information powerhouses that accumulate vast amounts of data from multiple entry points. Though this rich pool of information enables the companies to learn more about their customers than ever before, analyzing it would require a great deal of time and human resources. With AI, however, this data can be quickly processed and transformed into easily readable reports that can be used to make actionable-changes and improvements to the business.
Improves Contact Center Efficiency – For every second saved in the contact center, there is money to be made. With tools such as chatbots, for example, AI can be used to analyze the nature of a customer’s query and use what it has learned to either resolve the issue independently or direct the call through to the appropriate agent. As well as improving first-contact resolution rates, this tool also keeps customers happy by reducing queue times and call churn.
Quickly Identifies & Eliminates Threats – When it comes to security, the modern contact center is a complex world that is vulnerable to a vast number of threats. Though humans can defend the company from these dangers, it is much more cost-effective and safer to leave this responsibility in the capable hands of AI. By implementing machine-learning algorithms, AI can quickly process large amounts of data and identify irregularities in a fraction of the time it would take for a human to do the same.
What Role Do Humans Play in Customer Service?
However, as much as AI can improve elements within a contact center, at its very foundation, humans play an essential role. Below is a list of reasons why this is so:
Improved Customer Experience – Ultimately, customer service is about giving the customer what they need and making them feel important. When a person contacts a business, they want to feel as though the agent on the other end is genuinely concerned about their issues and is trying hard to resolve them. Unlike AI, human agents can empathize with their customers and use that shared human experience to neutralize negative emotions quickly.
Establish Brand Differentiation – Much like the fingerprint, each human personality is unique, and this offers a considerable advantage to the company. In a heavily competitive marketplace, it makes sense to provide a differentiated service that helps the company stand out from the rest of the crowd. By adding personality and warmth to every interaction, an agent can create a special bond with the customer that goes beyond the core intention alone.
Builds a Positive Reputation – Positive word of mouth is a powerful tool that aids business growth and boosts brand reputation. Though AI chatbots can get the job done, nobody is going to talk about the experience they had with a machine to their friends once the interaction ends. However, if the company employs agents with sharp emotional intelligence and the right kind attitude, customers are much more likely to enjoy their experience and share it with others.
Is the Future of Customer Service Human-Centric?
AI brings a lot to the table in customer service. From a business point of view, the implementation of Artificial Intelligence is a revelation that can drive down costs, improve security, and ensure agents are working to the best of their ability. Its benefits are vast, and nobody would deny them – but it is not essential!
Human empathy, however, is something without which the customer service industry absolutely cannot function. For this reason, you could say that the future of customer service is “human-centric,” but doing so would infer that humans and AI work exclusively from one another. The truth is that the future of this industry will likely be a combination of the two where man and machine work together in harmony towards a common goal.