Call Center Locations, AI Call Centers, AI, ChatGPT, Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence and the Customer Support Call Center

When I started my first call center job in 1992, many people were already talking about artificial intelligence.  Many people feared that technology and automated processes were on the verge of replacing human agents.  Heck, I even had an artificial intelligence class in college three decades ago.  Today, with artificial intelligence (AI) finally maturing with the emergence of ChatGPT & Bard, that familiar tone about AI Call Centers replacing human agents is stronger than ever.  Except that they won’t. At least not yet.

No matter how advanced technology becomes, it will never be a proper substitute for human-to-human connections.  That is especially true for high-stakes customer interactions.  Automation is wonderful when we need to schedule an appointment or make a payment.  However, there is nothing like a real human agent when disputing a hospital bill, filing an insurance claim or committing to a purchase agreement.

Misuse of Artificial Intelligence

Unfortunately, some call centers are repeating errors made with early chatbots.  They are viewing the current generation of AI applications as viable replacements for human agents.  Needless to say, this is causing a power struggle between people and machines.

The Wall Street Journal recently published an article that describes how some call centers are using machine-learning models to take decision-making responsibility away from call center agents. For example, they’re scanning conversations and recommending how agents should respond based on words and sentiments expressed by customers.  However, many agents are pushing back.

The agents interviewed said they value AI’s ability to access information quickly for decision making.  However, they object to being forced to use AI-generated scripts against their own judgment.  They would rather customize their own conversation when it comes to the inherently emotional aspect of customer support.  In fact, AI assistants can still make errors and most agents are not willing to trust the system completely.

Helping Agents Improve, Without Replacing Them

Technology really does affect the way human beings work.  Automation of key contact center processes in recent years has streamlined workflow.  However, it hasn’t improved agents’ ability to satisfy customers once they’re connected.  That is essentially because they’re still handling direct customer engagement and also processing and interpreting the data needed to resolve customer problems.

Rather than replacing human workers, AI applications (like ChatGPT and Bard) will change the way some jobs are done.  AI isn’t a threat. It’s an opportunity and a great one at that. The way to get the most from this technology in the call center is to use AI’s uniquely powerful capabilities to take over the transactional and processing tasks it can do better than humans. This additional support can help agents get better and faster at delivering great service to customers.

AI can access and process huge pools of data, identify relevant patterns and predict the best solution to whatever problem is at hand in a fraction of the time required for a human agent. This collapses delay and inefficiency, retrieving and collating critical missing information and placing it on the agent’s screen instantaneously. AI support liberates agents so they can remain focused on applying nuanced judgment based on the urgency of the situation, the comfort level of the customer, and other variables.

Artificial Intelligence Complements Human Intelligence

We all want our customer service experiences to be quicker and more efficient.  AI customer support can help make it so without losing our primal need for compassion at high-stakes moments.  We recognize the reassurance in a firm handshake, a steady gaze and the cadence of a confident voice.  Artificial intelligence may get there one day.  However,  until it does, we should focus on leveraging its enormous potential to complement human intelligence.

As AI continues to mature, call centers should keep routing transactional and computational tasks to chatbots while reserving more complex requests for human agents.  Innovative companies can provide stronger support to agents through new AI applications.  Many of these are specifically designed to streamline training, coaching, time and stress management and other steps to boost skills and well-being.

Customer support is a quintessentially human domain.  Promises to deliver outcomes or remedy mistakes are premised on a bedrock of faith, so people will always play a decisive role.  Despite AI’s awesome ability to fill in the gaps of our deficiencies, there’s still no algorithm for faith.  So its role in contact centers should be as an effective support tool that allows agents to better satisfy customers’ needs.

Call Center Outsourcing is a powerful tool that can use AI to supercharge your customer support & sales efforts.  You can trust Worldwide Call Centers to connect you with the best global call centers.  Our partners have the technology and skilled agents to capitalize on the AI revolution!

Please call +1.719.368.8393 or complete our online form to request a consultation.  Start Outsourcing with Team WCC Today – No Cost or Obligation!  

Scroll to Top