Artificial Intelligence in the Call Centre Industry

Cheryl Stobo

One of the most interesting topics at the CCA Annual Convention in Glasgow was the discussion of the introduction of Artifical Intelligence into the Call & Contact Centre space. Certainly, you could argue that as technology becomes more advanced, humans have less to do. Basic tasks require less effort.

Really, it doesn’t take more than a few clicks to order something from Amazon and now you can simply do it by speaking out loud.

With that level of speed and efficiency on offer, it’s easy to get swept up in the uncertainty that AI poses to the human workforce. Whilst the robots aren’t taking over, technology is coming in to work and operate alongside Call & Contact Centre employees.

Companies are already building Artificial Intelligence into our existing customer experiences, without us even noticing it. Even a basic platform, such as a Live Chat, is an example of technology being used to speed up our customer journey. A statistic cited at the CCA event was that 85% of Call Centre Executives believe that these examples of AI are dramatically improving the pre- and post-customer experience.

Without using some form of AI or technology, your call or email could simply be one of hundreds in a queue – and we’ve all been there, I’m sure! However, AI systems can help to analyse the language of a particular request in order to decide whether or not it should become a priority. So, you could get to skip the queue. Automation will ease the pressure of high volume calls, requests, complaints and enquiries.

Ultimately, customer service should be exactly that – a service. And good service is the key to a successful call centre. So, whilst technology has made many incredibly advances, it shouldn’t be at the expense of human interaction or an excellent level of service offered to each individual customer. Technology should provide the support to enable a better customer journey every time but it can only go so far – a big part of the customer experience will still need to be provided by humans.

Customer Service agents, therefore, need to be upskilled in order to deploy the technology on offer to them. Our world of work – in terms of skills required and tools available – is changing. The digital world will have to be customer led. Artificial Intelligence can deal with simple requests, for sure, but more complex, emotional issues will always need a human touch.

Certainly, businesses need to ensure that they are employing technology that enables their customers to have a better experience, but they also need to ensure that their employees are accurately trained in order to create the perfect blend of AI and human interaction.

In that sense, the Call & Contact Centre industry could look to other markets – such as FMCG – who have managed to successfully adopt Artificial Intelligence into their workplaces. There needs to be a balance between developing technology and developing your people.

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