Why it’s important to keep the human touch in this age of customer service automation
Our Chief Information Officer, Karsten Kraume, explains why:
• Automation in customer service cannot come at the expense of human-centricity
• Human expertise will continue to drive contact centers for the foreseeable future, complimented by AI
Read time: 2 minutes
The recent launch of CLAIRE, a Europe-wide initiative to establish a CERN-style confederation focused on AI, highlights the significance the international community attaches to automation and its potential to change the way we live and work.
At the center of the initiative is a focus on human-centered AI, ensuring that the drive of this technology’s development is to complement rather than replace human intelligence.
One area where this will be of critical importance is in the way brands deliver customer service, and we’ve discussed in previous blog posts the key role AI will play in allowing brands to meet customer expectations in the years ahead.
The human-first approach
As the progression towards more automated customer service continues, maintaining human-centricity will be essential in two main ways.
Firstly, contact strategies will need to remain entirely customer-focused, putting their requirements ahead of any need for increased efficiency – after all, customer service is a human thing, even if it’s delivered by a robot.
That means that where a self-service model can be designed that will allow people to get access to the information or service they need more quickly and easily than speaking with a person, then automation will be appropriate. However, in more complex cases, where a customer has a query that cannot be resolved by the automated interface, it will be essential that a human operator is on hand to resolve the issue quickly. Or a hybrid combination of both approaches, but with the goal of delivering excellent customer service.
The second way in which contact centers will remain human-centric is in the way they are staffed.
According to research we conducted as part of our Customer 2027 report, the number of people employed in contact centers isn’t likely to fall as a result of increasing automation. In fact, the opposite is expected to happen, and job numbers are set to rise to help deal with the sharp increase in customer interactions.
Instead, we will see a change in the work staff are doing, from direct interaction with customers and problem-solving tasks, to overseeing processes and ensure they are continually improving. As a result, software engineers, user-interface specialists, data scientists and design thinking consultants will play a much bigger role in the process, and roles that are in their infancy will become much more common, such as Robotic Process Automation (RPA), chat bot or content managers.
The impact of CLAIRE
Given the key role AI is going to play in the way businesses operate in the years ahead, we at Arvato CRM Solutions are excited to sponsor and support the CLAIRE initiative.
By bringing together some of the leading minds in the field from across Europe, including Prof. Dr Holger Hoos of the University of Leiden, Prof. Dr Morten Irgens, of Oslo Metropolitan University and Prof. Dr. Philipp Slusallek of the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence, it promises to shape thinking on a critical area for technological development in the years ahead.
The members of the initiative, along with other interested parties, met on Friday September 7 in Brussels for the CLAIRE Symposium where the group outlined its vision for the road ahead.
This is a very exciting time in the development of AI, and I believe we will see far-reaching impacts in the way we live and work in the future. The CLAIRE initiative will help make sure AI develops in a way that will maximize the potential benefits on offer.
Read more about the CLAIRE initiative here.
Author: Editorial team Future. Customer.