Contact Centre: AI to Replace Human Agents in 2019?

Guest Blog by Bohdan Khomyn, Founder & CEO of VoIPtime Cloud

Contact Centre: AI to Replace Human Agents in 2019?

These days, brands communicate with their customers more than they ever did. However, the latest call centre tendencies show that companies still have to try a little bit harder. So what changes do you need to embrace now to stay on the crest of your business wave in 2019?

The hottest call centre trends in review

Gone are the days when moving to the cloud was a competitive advantage. According to the latest Forrester Wave: Cloud Contact Centers, Q3 2018 report, the latter is an absolute business necessity. The most successful vendors at the moment are the early cloud adopters, and they’ve set the bar really high. So now, customer service leaders look for partners that offer omni-channel support and scalability, native WFO (workforce optimisation) capabilities, and application of machine learning beyond automation.

Let’s take a closer look at each:

Omni-channel support and scalability

Forrester reveals that the most successful cloud contact centre vendors not only connect with their customers via different communication channels but provide omni-channel self-service at the same time. Besides, the ability to preserve context throughout different channels and the right timing were seen as important factors ensuring customer success.

Native WFO capabilities

As contact centres gradually enter the age of AI, having integrated WFO capabilities becomes another priority. According to the Forrester report, the largest cloud vendors provide native WFO features, such as extensive monitoring and speech analytics. As a result, users benefit from having a single user interface for a broad range of features, and vendors create a strong basis for a future implementation of AI applications.

Machine learning beyond automation

Machine learning is becoming an integral part of a call centre. So far, cloud vendors embed machine learning in their call centre applications in a very particular way. As Forrester reports, call routing is the function that gets most machine learning enhancements at the moment, but more updates are yet to come.

Shall we expect the emergence of a cognitive contact centre?

Yes. That’s exactly what call centres are moving towards. In the near future, we should anticipate that:

  • AI applications will increase the productivity of contact centres beyond chatbots. Stay tuned for some new exciting capabilities;
  • All sources of data in a call centre will require a better organization to facilitate machine learning. Prepare your facility in advance;
  • Cloud-based solutions will provide a more organized and more integrated data processing. Move to the cloud because on-premises call centres won’t survive

Will AI replace human agents?

No. People still want to talk to people.

PWC Image

Source: PwC Future of Customer Experience Survey 2017/18

Companies must be mindful about implementing new technology and they have to understand when they can replace real agents and when it’s impossible. For contact centres, it’s important to balance advantages given by the technology with a reasonable degree of personalization that can only be brought in by the real people.

On a final note…

In the foreseeable future, the technology will surely improve numerous aspects of a call centre operation. However, it will only be helping human agents, not replacing them. So stay tech-savvy, but keep your people happy and satisfied with their job. That’s the best piece of call centre advice for today.

Guest Blog by Bohdan Khomyn, Founder & CEO of VoIPtime Cloud

Read more contact center news stories here.

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