Studies suggest that AI could eliminate the future of at least some white-collar jobs. If the results are to be believed, call centres are already feeling the effects. This article briefly explores the influence that AI is having on call centre jobs and whether there is ever any substitute for the human touch.

Will AI threaten call centre jobs?

In the context of routine enquiries, AI can provide customers with the correct information at the exact time they need it through self-service. This, in practice, will eliminate the need to speak to a human operator for routine enquiries. Just as other technology has positively impacted call centres (for example, the low call costs and CRM interoperability afforded by engaging with a VoIP wholesale carrier), the growing usage of AI within the call centre environment is inevitable.

However, AI also has the potential to give customer service agents more relevant information, helping to resolve complex issues that a self-service system cannot. This is an example as to how AI and human operators can work in harmony in delivering improved customer service.

AI can also evaluate the impact that a call has on a potential customer. It can relay the following to managers and supervisors:

Was the issue resolved?
Did customer loyalty increase following the call?
Will the customer return?
What could have been done better?

Through the evaluation of these metrics, AI solutions can subsequently predict customer behaviour and provide recommendations. AI can thus improve overall service, however, it far from removes the need for human interaction in delivering the best possible consumer experience.

Driving value through a virtuous circle

Correctly implemented, AI gives staff more time to concentrate on service. Operators can focus on individualised responses whilst AI takes care of the simple or routine tasks which are increasingly uneconomic to service. This is, essentially, a virtuous circle in which the job satisfaction (and thus retention rates) among call centre operators improve markedly as the repetitive element of day-to-day call handling diminishes.

A happier team results in qualitative improvements to call handling, driving better consumer engagement, retention and up-selling opportunities. Staff can focus on learning and on improving their own value in delivering ever better customer service.

It is clear that, as with other advancements in technology, AI has considerable value to add to a call centre environment. The technology can positively impact on unit call handling costs, response times, lost call ratios and other critical metrics. What is equally clear is that it will, in no way, represent a substitute for human intervention where a personalised response is required.

Value through integration

Since AI is, at its core, a software application, additional value is likely to come through the integration with other applications including VoIP, allowing for ever more unified interfaces and closer management. VoIP has long since offered interoperability with other enterprise software solutions, including ERP and CRM suites.

For further advice as to the potential benefits afforded by VoIP in a call centre context, why not contact the expert team at IDT.