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Leveraging Technology and Human Touch in Call Center Operations in 2024

As technological innovations continue to rise, many industries worldwide benefit from their impacts on work efficiency and productivity. Organizations are finding different ways to develop their products, processes, and services using new tools.

This includes all the potential developments it can make to enhance the customer service industry. Matched with the empathy and skills of service providers, the collaboration between technology and people can be a game-changer for call center and contact center operations around the world.

 

Technology Usage in Customer Service

Technology has significantly improved call center operations and performance. It enabled companies to deliver exceptional customer experiences with more efficiency.

For example, one of the most significant technological advancements in call centers is the integration of AI. Using machine learning algorithms, these powerful tools analyze vast amounts of data, identify patterns quickly, and provide insights that enable call center agents to deliver high-quality service.

Similar to almost every industry and role, customer service agents were able to reduce repetitive and time-consuming tasks. Take, for example, the implementation of intelligent virtual assistants.

A survey from Ipsos in 2022 revealed that nearly 69 percent of Americans have used virtual assistants to answer their questions and resolve issues.1 Moreover, organizations can implement other tech solutions like chatbots and robotic process automation to enhance their operations further.

 

The Value of People

Despite how useful tech tools can improve efficiency in contact centers, relying purely on them can sometimes frustrate your customers if their concerns aren’t met with accuracy.

Since AI relies heavily on the information put into them, they may not completely solve complex issues. This creates limitations on their abilities and can often lead to misleading and damaging outcomes:

  • Predictive analytics may provide inaccurate results.
  • Language and tone may be too robotic or bland.
  • AI’s knowledge of diversity may perpetuate biases.

Considering this, it’s evident that generative AI can never fully replace people. According to Cogito’s study, published by Business Wire, 53 percent of the respondents prefer talking to a live agent for complex issues, while only 17 percent prefer a live chat.2

Some look for agents who can understand their concerns, while others look for personalized solutions for specific problems. While AI enhances call center services and operations, many customers would still look for a human touch.

 

A Blend of Technology and Human Interaction

Technology can help your company meet your KPIs, but too much reliance can disrupt your primary goal—connecting with customers. On the other hand, prioritizing your agent’s improvements and efficiency may negatively affect their health and productivity, leading to the adverse effects of your initial efforts.

To ensure that your contact center can produce exceptional customer experiences, you need to find the balance between technology and human interaction. It’s time to consider a human-AI collaboration to improve your customer engagement while maintaining a healthy environment for your workforce.

 

What is Human-Centered AI?

Human-centered AI refers to developing and implementing AI systems that prioritize customer satisfaction. They’re designed to utilize technology to support human agents in effectively interacting with customers and enhancing their experiences.

AI collaboration can showcase how humans and AI can work together toward the same goal. It can also bring benefits to your company, such as:

 

Utilization of Human Resources

When contact centers use AI and technology for repetitive tasks, they allow their agents to focus on more complex interactions. Specifically, they can address concerns that require empathy and creativity that machines struggle to replicate.

 

Improved Productivity and Efficiency

Aside from customer interactions, agents also have other responsibilities that require time and effort. For example, data entry and call routing can occupy an agent’s focus. By using AI to accomplish these tasks, your agents can handle more calls without compromising customer service quality.

Related Article: Agent Support: 5 Strategies for Call Center Leaders to Combat Burnout

 

Consistency in Services across Channels

AI systems can be trained to understand and respond to customer inquiries. From voice calls to emails, agencies use AI to provide omnichannel support. So, even if a customer wants to shift communication channels in the middle of a ticket, you can ensure a seamless and cohesive customer experience.

 

Ways to Leverage Human-AI Interaction

To help you make the most out of human-centered AI, the following are ways to improve overall agent and customer experiences:

 

1. Foster a Collaborative Human-AI Ecosystem

One mistake you can make as an employer is prioritizing speed over efficiency. This applies specifically to AI implementation. Instead of quickly automating repetitive tasks and integrating tech tools overnight, it’s necessary to slowly introduce AI solutions first to your people. This will allow your teams to understand and adjust to new systems.

Creating an ecosystem where your agents and technologies work harmoniously allows you to design workflows that seamlessly integrate AI-powered tools into your agent’s responsibilities. Aside from making their tasks easier, this strategy also gives them the idea that technology is not here to replace but rather supplement them.

 

2. Use a Blended Approach when Providing Service

AI has the potential to aid many customers all at once. It can handle routine inquiries and provide scripted responses quicker than any human agent. But, unlike people, AI can’t empathize with customers. So, to give the best customer experience, using a blended service approach is ideal.

Structure your service so that AI and human agents can work together. You can begin by programming your chatbots to transition customer inquiries seamlessly with human agents. This ensures that your customers will get the service they need without repeating themselves when transitioning communications from AI to human agents.

 

3. Utilize Customer Journey Mapping

To further improve your call center operations, you need to identify critical touchpoints where human interactions are most valuable and sought after. You can use AI-driven analytics to map out your customers’ journey. Find out which steps of communication require human involvement and contextual awareness.

By pinpointing specific parts of your service that need a human touch, you can implement more successful changes in your operations. Moreover, it would be easier to strategically allocate human resources, which would enhance the customer experience.

 

4. Prioritize Human Oversight and Involvement

The success of AI tools depends on how you’ve programmed them to function. Although it’s your responsibility as an employer to ensure that they work correctly, involving your agents when training AI can be beneficial.

Prioritize human oversight in different steps of AI training. From the development process to feedback and suggestions, remember that your agents are the most knowledgeable about your operations. Give them opportunities to speak regarding the advantages and growth opportunities of your chosen tech tools.

 

5. Invest in Nurturing Your Unique Identity

Successful human and AI integration can ensure exemplary customer service. Moreover, it aids in storing and organizing customer information into a secure database. But no matter how great your security and overall operations are, you still need to gain customers. This is where your brand identity comes into play.

Invest in nurturing your service brand by putting in the effort to communicate with potential clients. Communicate your commitment to providing personalized customer experience through human-AI strategies. Market your customer-centric approach to differentiate yourself from others within your industry.

 

6. Create Clear Ethical AI Frameworks

Marketing human and AI collaboration within your service can only be possible once you establish clear ethical frameworks. As your agency integrates AI-powered tools, it’s crucial to implement rules and regulations that can guide technological development and deployment.

Ensure that your frameworks address vital considerations such as data privacy and transparency. Follow regulatory requirements while regularly reviewing and updating rules. You can also consider finding a partner that can provide you with experts in ethical AI implementation.

 

7. Invest in Continuous Development

The effective integration of human-AI collaboration in call center operations requires ongoing investment in employee training and development. You need to provide regular upskilling opportunities for your agents to ensure that they remain proficient in utilizing AI-powered tools. Help them adapt to evolving processes and customer expectations.

Aside from investing in the development of your agents, you also need to pay attention to the continuous improvement of your AI systems. Monitor their performances, and don’t be afraid to optimize the tools that aren’t aligned with your organizational goals.

 

IMPROVE YOUR SERVICE QUALITY WITH THE RIGHT WORKFORCE

Founded in 1985, Corporate Job Bank is a staffing company that matches employers with talented and capable individuals. We are driven by our desire to help candidates and organizations succeed in meeting their goals.

Together, we can improve your services and customer experience by building a strong and skilled workforce.

Contact us today to learn more! 

 

References

  1. Financial Services. “Most Americans Have Used Virtual Assistant to Get Answers to Their Questions.” Ipsos, 24 Oct. 2022, www.ipsos.com/en-us/news-polls/wells-fargo-most-americans-have-used-virtual-assistants.
  2. Business Wire. “Human Interaction in Customer Service Still Preferred Despite Technology Innovations, New Research Finds.” Business Wire, 19 Dec. 2023, www.businesswire.com/news/home/20231219762940/en/Human-Interaction-in-Customer-Service-Still-Preferred-Despite-Technology-Innovations-New-Research-Finds

 

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