AI Vs Live Agents- Will AI Replace People in Customer Support?

It’s annoying when you need an instant solution to your problem, but you can’t get it. It’s disappointing and you can even think about leaving for other brands. How sad is that?

Technology advances every day and because of that, we all have the dream of having all our problems resolved at a click of a button. No matter the difficulty, people want instant solutions and quality experiences. Many believe that for customer service, Artificial Intelligence (AI), is the future and maybe the disruption of the entire call center industry.

The discussion on whether AI is the future of customer service has been around ever since this technology has been introduced into the business world. There are no doubts about the fact that AI is going to make a huge impact in the coming future when it comes to customer engagement. But does that mean that human chat agents are a thing of the past?

There are certain aspects where AI has an advantage over human beings. Some of these advantages are knowledge of many languages, can handle unlimited chats, faster response time and it’s cost effective, but also, have some disadvantages as the lack of human touch and the incapacity to reply to specific questions.

Like humans, every bot has its limits. Those recurring FAQ-style questions are usually every bot’s dream. But how does it handle complicated problems? Can it deal with colloquialisms? One-word answers?

It’s important to remember that AI is at an early stage of development. This means they don’t always can achieve the tasks they were specifically created to carry out.

 

There are two main reasons why chatbots won’t be replacing live agents any time soon:

  1. Chatbot applications are only as good as the data they leverage.

AI relies on machine learning in order to function properly. Machine learning, in turn, relies on good training data to train the algorithms. Getting the right data fast is not a simple process. Organizations who are serious about building an effective AI need to have a long-term data strategy. After all, AI is not a “one-and-done” process, but an interactive one where new learnings in the form of data are continuously used to improve the performance.

For the call centers, it would be best to start using AI with very specific use cases that need low human-touch and where good quality training data exists. It’s important that such an implementation can either provide a faster turnaround time for the customer or improve agent productivity.

  1. Importance of human interactions.

AI is not adept at understanding human emotions (like sarcasm) or recognizing high-stress situations. At the end of the day, whenever there is a need for emotional intelligence or critical thinking, humans are the heroes we need. Some situations call for empathy and delicate handling, AKA a live agent.

The key here is to analyze the conversation history and use that data to optimize. Essentially, we see AI being really effective in a call center when is tasked with mundane tickets, leaving agents to focus on issues that require a human touch.

 

What do the experts say?

Some of the most respected customer service leaders think that AI and humans really should complement each other for effective customer service mainly in large companies. AI can effectively handle simple, transactional queries and it can also work in the background to help human agents quickly find answers to customer questions. Human agents excel at solving more complicated issues and empathizing with frustrated or upset customers. The key for humans is to consistently prove their worth by bringing humanity to the service they provide.

 

Conclusions

The future of call centers is better and faster customer service through technology while retaining a human connection. AI, in congruence with live agents, can help get us there. If the capabilities of AI are combined with the emotional connection and elevated skill set of live agents, you will have the ultimate super-agent.

Having AI for your customer service is great especially if you have the resources to handle it and/or in large companies. However, they are not here to replace human beings (at least not anytime soon) but to help us save money, time, and energy.

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