Will AI Define the Future of Customer Support?

AI and Machine Learning are becoming a staple in the IT industry, with surprising industries seeking advantages with this exciting field of automation. One of these industries with a constant focus on productivity improvement and automation is the call centre industry. Tech giants are taking their own in-house steps towards automating this labor-heavy market, but how do robots and people work together in a field where 79% of customers still prefer to speak to a human being?

Will AI Define the Future of Customer Support?

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AI and Machine Learning are becoming a staple in the IT industry, with surprising industries seeking advantages with this exciting field of automation. One of these industries with a constant focus on productivity improvement and automation is the call centre industry. Tech giants are taking their own in-house steps towards automating this labor-heavy market, but how do robots and people work together in a field where 79% of customers still prefer to speak to a human being?

A Business Case For Call Centre Automation

The business case for customer contact automation is straightforward: 93% of customers are likely to repeat their business with companies with excellent customer service. On the other hand, by employing teams of employees to cover 24/7/365 customer service is costly, and for most businesses, out of their budget range. Automating the first contact with customers does not only make business sense, but it also allows companies to free up valuable resources to refine their service in other ways. Gartner stated 9 years ago: “By 2020, customers will manage 85% of their relationship with the enterprise without interacting with a human.” – but is this the case today?

Automation Means Collaboration, Not Job Decline

CEO of Agents Republic,
David L. Papp

The future is here, executives are trying to maximize productivity at customer service, but in the meantime, customers just want to talk to a human. What does the future look like then? David L. Papp, CEO of Agents Republic, with a 13-year track record in managing cloud-based contact centers, AI implementations, cloud automation, and AI support services, paints a collaborative picture. “The future is definitely about robot-human collaboration, but it’s not detrimental to the value of a good Customer Support Agent. By automating the first contact and tier 1 support requests, the Agents can monitor the robotic process and focus on the more complex issues. Automation takes their roles and skills to new depths, instead of replacing them.”

“How Can I Help You Today?”

David continues with an example of how Customer Service looks in a collaborative environment. “Let’s take a multi-layered chat system as an example. An automated Bot answers your first inquiry with exploratory questions, while a trained AI layer evaluates your answer. The AI is not only judging your information to find the fastest route to solve your problem, it also escalates the issue to a live Agent as soon as it detects any disruption, like a hesitant or a very disgruntled customer. The Live Agent is called in when their exceptional interpersonal people skills are needed the most – instead of wasted on routine requests.”

The Foundation Is Laid – AI Data Services

Contact centres know automation is critical to businesses – and the first responses of how the future of AI-human led customer interaction are positive – as long as we don’t try to replace Agents with Chatbots. – “Gartner’s prediction must be close, if we look at the front line of customer interactions. Self service systems, IVRs and chatbots have made a massive transformation of customer support in the past five years. However, the second layer, the AI part is not yet there, and most probably, Live Agents will be and have to be there for a very long time for a premium customer experience. – states David. If we want to maximize productivity, a trained machine is supposed to “delight” the customer without a human taking over the conversation. – “The technology part is already getting there, but what about the training part? AI algorithms require tens of thousands of non-bias, privacy free examples for average cases, and hundred thousands to millions of data sets for complex cases, or anything that requires deep learning, like a voice based customer service. In 2020, we are not even close to managing 85% of customer relationships without humans.” – explains David.

.Contact centers like Agents Republic are offering AI Data Services to businesses seeking to train their AIs in customer services. With their vast database of customer support Agents and existing technology, they can provide the data sets and data labeling that are acutely needed by AI operating enterprises to simulate a natural conversation. But beyond providing the means for automation, thought leadership around the subject of customer service automation is venturing into sci-fi territory – for good reason.

Customer Support Redefined – What Makes Us Human?

The first steps towards AI and Machine Learning Customer Support Services are being taken, but there is still much more to be done. For one, collecting tremendous amounts of correctly labelled data is already a high priority for executives, and it’s only a matter of time until AIs will be working in tandem with human Support Agents. Which also means that the customer contact industry must redefine and rethink their strategies of customer support, and along with it, their metrics and KPIs. Industry standards like “SLA” or “Shrinkage” are moot when automation takes over the contact and answers instantly without offline activities. This means that the future of Customer Service metrics brings us in surprisingly philosophical territory: what makes us human, and how can we measure that? After all, it is the quality of the human interaction with the Support Agent that will be the defining factor, not the speed, accuracy or amount of tickets resolved. Emotion and empathy, this is something that is not even on the AI horizon, while we must not to forget what the customer really wants.

The Future Is Filled With Human Conversation

The vision of a robot-human collaboration is no longer a sci-fi dream, but rapidly becoming reality. As with every industry, the future automation brings up interesting questions, but yet a handful of contact centre companies are building their businesses, and training their employees, to be future-proof. The trend and need for highly skilled Customer Support Agents who can work alongside AIs will only continue to grow, transforming this so-called low-entry role into a much sought after job for skilled professionals.

About Agents Republic Inc.

Agents Republic provides next-generation contact centre services and AI support services with a globally-distributed workforce. The company was formed by industry professionals with over a decade of proven track record in cloud-based contact centre outsourcing across 38 countries. Agents Republic provides next-generation contact centre services and AI support services with a globally-distributed workforce. They are digitally disrupting the $300 billion global call centre industry, an industry that currently struggles to deliver transparency, flexibility and high standards at a low cost. Agents Republic can provide multilingual customer service, technical support, and provide Machine Learning ready datasets to businesses of all sizes, from SMEs to NASDAQ listed corporations, all at a low cost and flexibility in delivery.

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