Will Artificial Intelligence Replace Call center Agents?


Call centers have been around for quite some time now. While many still employ a veritable army of agents, there are those who have moved up and achieved partial or complete call center automation. And the pace at which a regular call center is evolving into an AI call center, call center AI automation is all set to be the future of call centers. Last year, the number of calls handled by AI-powered or automated call assistants rose by around 40% between February to April.

This is one of the most encouraging call center automation trends to have recently emerged. An AI call center is not only automating the response process but is also proving to be a more efficient alternative. And the reason for this is that Conversational AI assistants are evolving and becoming more advanced. An Interface.ai virtual assistant engages and educates customers to enable them to try new products and even cross-sells relevant products automatically. AI for a contact center is rapidly becoming more advanced and is being increasingly deployed in the field.

There are many reasons for this, and economic consideration is just one of them. Yes, an advanced call center Intelligent virtual assistant can handle the work of multiple call center agents. But that’s not the only reason. Contact center artificial intelligence has advanced beyond mere handling yes-or-no questions. But many argue that AI has not yet reached the level where it can completely replace a call center agent. It is true to a certain extent as people are more comfortable interacting with a human agent rather than an AI-powered Intelligent virtual assistant.

But nobody can argue the importance of AI in call centers. It has become an indispensable tool that saves valuable time and resources by streamlining the response mechanism. Most Conversational AI assistants can handle routine queries without the need of a human agent being involved, thus leaving the human agents free to handle more complex queries. Let’s take a closer look at AI’s role in a call center.

How can AI be useful in contact centers?

Following are some scenarios where AI is enhancing the effectiveness of call centers.

1. Conversational IVR

Traditional IVR (Interactive Voice Response) systems rely on user input by recognizing the numbers entered or a spoken response. They have limited functionality as they do not have the ability to recognize context. Conversational IVR, on the other hand, can deal with subjective questions, cross-reference data, and provide real-time information. The blend of Conversational AI, Natural Language Processing, and Machine Learning is a potent combination that can save a lot of time and effort.

2. Chatbots

Like the traditional IVR, regular Chatbots follow a series of pre-configured steps for handling queries. AI-enabled Intelligent virtual assistants are much better at handling subjective queries, which needs them to have some contextual information. They make for a better user experience with shorter wait times and more informed answers to customer queries.

3. Analytics

Analytics is a useful metric to gauge and predict user behavior in a certain set of circumstances. AI enables call center systems to make sense of the analytics for better call handling and training of live agents. It can help agents to better interpret the tone of the caller’s voice and context to improve their response.

4. Big Data Management

Call centers collect huge amounts of data during their operation. Artificial intelligence helps organize, interpret, and analyze big data to deliver actionable insights. It also learns and grows its capabilities over time.

How do call center Intelligent virtual assistants work?

Intelligent virtual assistants mainly act as first responders wherever they are deployed. Whenever a user request comes in, either via voice or chatt. A call center never has enough live agents to handle users’ queries as soon as they come in. When Intelligent virtual assistants engage with users, they perform two crucial functions; they reduce the customer’s wait time and gather preliminary information that can later help a live agent to address customer queries more efficiently.

Artificial Intelligence in call centers takes this one step further. It not only handles queries in a much more efficient manner but also reduces the workload of live agents by closing more tickets on their own. Conversational AI assistants can work round the clock and improve themselves with each interaction they have. They can tap into an existing system and access all the data to draw context and get better at problem-solving. So, is AI ready to take over the call center?

Will Intelligent virtual assistants replace call center agents?

Artificial Intelligence may have made great strides in the past few years. But it is not yet ready to go on its own. Although it is tantalizingly close to human-like interaction capabilities, it still lacks the finer nuances. AI still cannot replicate the human emotions that a live call center agent can bring into a call.

Though it may provide answers, it cannot empathize, which may impact user experience. Also, AI still needs supervision and is not yet a ‘turn on and forget it’ system. The future of call centers is hybrid, where humans and AI will work side by side to deliver results. Like other industries, AI is very much a part of the workflow. It helps in optimizing processes and saves time and effort. AI in call centers may soon be ready for prime time. Till then, call center agents are here to stay.

For now, call centers are a mix of AI and live agents. But someday in the future, call centers may be fully automated.