No matter who you talk to, it’s pretty clear at this point that artificial intelligence (AI) is here to stay. The question, then, is what the future with AI looks like. At Interactions, we firmly believe that the future is brighter with AI, specifically when AI and humans work together. When we focus on AI, it shouldn’t be about jobs that could potentially be eliminated, but rather about how existing jobs can be made better. It’s about leveraging technology for a greater good — for a future where people benefit from this advancing technology.
Let’s take a look at customer care for a moment. In a typical contact center that doesn’t leverage AI or automation — or does so only minimally — the agent is responsible for handling all interactions that come into the call center. Regardless of whether it’s chat, voice or text, a human is responsible for resetting passwords, checking account balance, providing store locator information, and so on. This isn’t only time consuming — it’s repetitive and, quite frankly, boring. There are a significant number of interactions on a daily basis that could easily be completed through self-service, if the proper systems are in place.
Now imagine you’re in a contact center that leverages AI to improve the customer experience and enable customers to complete more transactions via self-service. This means that agents are spending far less time checking rewards balances, and more time helping customers with more complex problems. In this case, AI takes care of the grunt work — the tasks that don’t take much effort or advanced skills to complete — while the agent gets to do the so-called ‘brilliant work’: solving complex problems for customers so that customers walk away with a positive experience and a willingness to return to that company in the future.
When automation handles repetitive tasks and then passes the interaction to a live agent to handle more complex issues, the result is efficiency for the consumer. This also means that the humans are able to do more interesting work, resolving larger scale problems and handling complex situations that may require uniquely human traits, such as empathy.
Very often, the discussion around AI is about the technology and how it will impact us. But rarely do people talk about the human side of AI. The side where, for instance, a human trains AI to make it better in the future — adding in information when the system fails to work the first time around. Or the side where an agent’s satisfaction level with his or her job increases, because they are now able to work on challenging and interesting problems throughout the day instead of spending most of their time on menial work.
The fact is that AI and humans can work together to create something better than either one can accomplish on its own. In the case of customer service agents, it means leaving humans with the more interesting portion of a customer interaction — the part that’s engaging, where they can make thoughtful recommendations. This helps to create retention and longevity among employees, while still improving the customer experience. A great example of AI making the future brighter for all humans — customers and agents alike.