Do Humans Still Have a Place in Contact Centers

Chatbots are coming. Consider these stats*:

  • 4 minutes is the average time savings with a chatbot enquiry vs. a traditional call
  • $0.70 is the average cost saved per chatbot interaction for messaging-based banking bots
  • 11,000 operating chatbots now are on Facebook Messenger
  • $174 billion could be saved across insurance, financial services, sales, and customer service

Chatbots enable companies large and small to handle customer service inquiries across digital channels without involving human contact center agents. How smart are chatbots today? To be honest, not very smart.

Most of the chatbots out there remind me of the interactive voice response (IVR) systems built in the 1980s. “Select one to get your newest offerings, select nine to be connected with our rep.” Not cool, right?

But here’s why I am excited to see more chatbots every day:

1) They help mobile operators or banks coping with signal outages or mobile/online banking outages to respond to tons of incoming questions very fast. So people don't have to wonder why their Facebook wall is not updating (we know that pain very well), or where their money went (almost as bad as the outdated Facebook wall, right?).

2) They help retail consumers get a fast and relevant response about when their package will be delivered, or what happened with the availability of their eagerly awaited new iPhone X. Without bots, you’d be waiting days or, way too often, wouldn’t get a response at all.

3) And they help companies that are notoriously unresponsive to their customers to improve their service just a bit by responding automatically. Not an ideal solution, but let’s say any improvement here is better than nothing.

There are tons of other use cases and much more to explore. Feel free to add your suggestions in the comments below.

So should we get rid of the poor humans in contact centers? Short answer: not at all.

Longer answer: Thanks to chatbots, Intelligent Advisors, and other AI-powered technologies, human contact center agents can focus on complex tasks and meaningful conversations that require the most crucial component — empathy.

82% of consumers think that companies could have done more and been more empathetic. And $62 billion was lost last year due to poor customer service — a figure that grew by $20 billion in just three years!

Humans have an irreplaceable role in contact centers. I’m happy we are supporting them by making their work more satisfying and by developing their skills and passion for assisting people.

In the same way, I am super-excited to see our lines of code aiding the design of mind-blowingly intelligent chatbots that are bringing customer experience to whole new levels.

* Based on research from Oracle, Juniper Research, and VentureBeat.

Interested in learning other ways the digital age is changing customer expectations? Check out our webinar, Digital – First Customer Service: The Future is Here Today.