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Computer Says ‘No’: Empowering people to be more human

We’ve all experienced ‘computer says no’ moments and know how frustrating they can be. Those ‘I can see you’re due a refund sir, and I know how to process your refund, but the computer says I’m not allowed to,’ moments. In many instances, computers may be limited to yes or no answers because of basic deterministic programming – but it longer has to be this way.

Implementing Artificial Intelligence (AI) in deterministic work environments, such as call centres, can help employees to make accurate, calculated decisions beyond a yes or no answer. As long as these employees demonstrate a better attitude than David Walliam’s character Carol Beer in the famous Little Britain sketch, there’s definitely potential for greatly improving customer service.

Serving Customers as Individuals

There are several types of call centres, and the impact of automation is largely dependent on the type of service that the centre provides. ‘Service and fix’ contact centres, for example, tend to offer a poor customer experience because complex problems with massive variability do not lend themselves to scripting and rules based solutions. This normally means issues  are passed from desk to desk (or non-expert to expert … and back), which ultimately leads to poor customer retention and eroded brand values. Working in an environment where you have to deliver a poor service that you are not proud of, or do not think that the customer deserves, is demotivating and makes for a negative employee experience – and this is where AI comes in.

The introduction of AI will free up capacity and cost to allow companies to deliver better service, empowering employees to be the organisers and co-ordinators for the customer. It’s unlikely that AI will deal with the complexity and variation of service required in call centres for some time. Other automation technologies, however, will take care of delivering a good end-to-end service, allowing employees to focus on delivering awesome service and retaining valuable customers.

Creating Customised Experience

In the case of sales-driven call centres, AI will empower employees to have conversations that more closely tie into customers’ needs and wants. Real time analytics of the caller’s social media and linguistic preferences will allow agents to better identify callers’ needs, how best to meet them, and how best to persuade them to buy.

The right AI technology will be able to create precisely tailored customer services negotiated in real time, delivering a much improved customer experience than Carol Beer’s deadpan demeanour and hopefully put an end to ‘computer says no’ moments. With managed risk parameters in place, this ‘negotiation aid’ approach to personalised service has the potential give call centre workers a much more rewarding employee experience, and to help as well as customers better contact with the world.

Obviously – if you’re looking to bring AI to bear in your service centre then you need Service Orchestration deployed first to make sure that you are well placed to make use of the appropriate AIs as and when they work for your business.