By Dr Rashi Gupta, Chief Data Scientist and Co-Founder, Rezo.ai
Artificial Intelligence has broken through several existing industries and helped in the emergence of new industries. It has enabled businesses to automate their contact centers. Customers use contact centers to reach out to their favorite brands with queries, complaints, and feedback. Thus, contact centers are a very important link between businesses and customers. In a traditional environment, contact centers are operated by human agents who respond to customer emails, instant messages, and phone calls, etc. However, as the volume of communication increases, human agents may feel overwhelmed, make errors, or respond slower than expected. All these situations lead to a suboptimal customer experience. AI-based contact centers automate a major chunk of iterative workflow. As a result, customers receive fast and accurate responses and businesses save immensely on operating expenses.
Despite the well-documented benefits of AI-based contact centers, there are still debates about whether AI reduces the ‘human touch’ at contact centers. Every time we see machines doing what only humans could do, such conspiracy theories are bound to emerge. Here’s a perspective that clarifies that AI-Human integration is the way ahead for customer engagement.
Machines bring mastery and humans bring heart: AI-based contact centers can consume petabytes of unstructured data, process it at lightning speed, and come up with insights that help customers. It can also learn to respond in different languages, sense the customers’ mood and intent based on the tone of their communication. However, AI is still nowhere close to replicate human empathy and other cognitive skills. Thus, AI serves as an assistive technology that helps human agents become more effective and efficient. By no means, it aims to replace the human touch from our lives.
Speed matters: As aggrieved customers, we all want to be heard with empathy. We need a human on the other side of the phone or messenger at such times. However, there are many other times when we just want a fast and accurate solution. AI-based automation scores over human agents during such situations. Bots are neither fatigued nor bored while performing iterative tasks all day long, for years. Moreover, machine learning (ML) capabilities also help bots learn from their previous interactions and improve their future performance. Hence, AI bots not only respond faster but better than all the previous instances, not only making them faster but also better than themselves.
Makes agents’ lives better: Without sophisticated automation, human agents at contact centers were often swamped with the workload, responding to calls, emails, texts, etc., often repeating their responses. The workload would peak during the festive season. As a result, contact center agents would often complain of burnout, their inability to handle the workload effectively, or other forms of job dissatisfaction. AI addresses this challenge by taking on a significant chunk of iterative workload at contact centers. Thus, human agents can devote more time and effort towards solving complex customer problems which do not have a templated response. They can also selectively validate the response of AI solutions to make them more effective. By doing so, the agents attain a higher sense of purpose in their work and get rid of their workday anxiety.
The amalgamation of AI-based solutions and human understanding creates delightful customer experiences. Using AI-based automation helps human agents respond faster and in a smarter way. On the other hand, human agents can input intuition, empathy, and other cognitive skills to make AI more effective. At the end of the day, the AI-Human saga is not a zero-sum game and a reality of our future.