There is a lot of speculation about how AI will affect the call center in the coming years. The alarmists claim AI will be able to completely replace human interaction and the call center will be completely automated.
A more practical prediction centers around how AI will augment the human operator and enhance the customer experience in seemingly invisible, yet powerful ways. This idea is something called Soft AI.
Soft AI applies big data, natural language processing, and machine learning to the call to anticipate customer needs, augment the call, and automate processes where necessary.
Big data finds patterns and meanings in the enormous amount of data a call center generates. For example, a call can be prioritized by looking at the caller’s history and the behavior of similar callers. Call intent can be identified even before the caller speaks by tapping into external databases like weather for instance, which might predict the subject of the call.
Natural language processing can be used to listen in to a call with a human agent and trigger immediate responses to the caller’s requests without the agent being distracted from what they do best, offering a reassuring human voice to the customer.
And soft AI can automate where possible based on the request. It can decide the channel assistance can be delivered in based on the most popular method for the user and the content. Routine tasks can be handled purely by virtual assistants but when people are more comfortable talking to another human, AI can route the call to a live agent.
The immediate future is not about creating perfectly human-like artificial agents to handle everything. It’s about augmenting the human experience and letting the live agents do more, offer more, and be more efficient in everything they do.