The future of call centers: chatbots and agents working together

May 18, 2018

As today’s digital revolution continues, the evolving technology of chatbots is becoming ever more important, and for good reason: chatbots can deliver exceptional customer experience.

It’s no doubt that chatbots are the next big thing in the tech world. According to a research conducted by Oracle, 80% of businesses are already using or plan to use chatbots in their customer service by 2020.

But are they still capable of delivering excellent customer service without any human intervention? And if so, does this mean that call center agents will soon have to say goodbye to their jobs? Although there’s been a lot of buzz around the rise of AI and how it will replace human labour, the answer here, in our opinion, is without a doubt NO.

Our belief is that the ultimate aim of chatbot use is not to replace human call center agents but to improve overall customer experience. Chatbots have been proven to efficiently and effectively handle repetitive and monotonous tasks, but they are not able to provide a holistic customer experience. And this is where the concept of customer service chatbots and agents working together comes in (indeed, if you look, you will realize that in many call center workplaces the two forces already rely on each other).

Bearing this in mind, rather than writing another article on the rise of the robots, we are instead going to take more of a deep dive into the topic, to show you in practical terms how chatbots and call center agents can work together to create better customer experience.

Sharing the workload

We have all dealt with the struggle of seemingly never-ending and low-value repetitive tasks, such as spending the whole day answering the most commonly-asked questions a company receives. It’s no surprise that everyone (human, that is) would be happy to stop spending their time on these soul-sucking activities before they totally burn out. This is one area where customer service chatbots can definitely help.

Many companies already started to implement chatbots in their customer service, letting them carry out the kinds of repetitive tasks mentioned above instead of call center agents. In recent years, chat solutions have gained a massive popularity in the call center industry, and as already mentioned in a previous article, if used properly, it can even boost your sales.

As a consequence, agent workload is reduced, allowing them the time to comfortably handle more complex tasks. The result? Customers get answers to simple questions within seconds, while agents deal with higher value activities. It’s a win-win situation!

The age of automation

In today’s CX-driven world, customers can choose from a number of platforms when they want to communicate with a particular brand. As a result, businesses receive far more inbound conversations on various channels than they used to.

While your call center agent team on its own would struggle to respond to all of your business’ incoming conversations, customer service chatbots can handle thousands of conversations simultaneously across all channels. As a result, after a while you’ll only need to employ a smaller but more skilled call center team, which will inevitably lead to a higher level of customer service across the board, while giving the opportunity to your agents to improve their skills (if you are too an ambitious call center agent, make sure to check out our article on how you can get promoted to call center supervisor). Once again, it’s a win-win for everyone!

Customer service chatbots act as a backup

As already mentioned, in many call center environments chatbots rely on call center agents, and call center agents rely on chatbots. There are a lot of situations in a call center where both chatbots and agents can serve as a backup for each other.

For example, customer service chatbots can be programmed to answer routine questions and therefore provide automated conversations with your customers. But if any problem occurs, a live agent can always intervene in the situation and take over the communication.

On the other hand, while call center agents are on the phone, customer service chatbots can suggest answers and supply all required information. By doing this, communication with clients becomes smoother, and without interruptions.

Chatbots are the new personal assistants

Having a personal assistant isn’t increasingly just the privilege of management. In fact, in many call centers, customer service chatbots are already programmed to serve as personal assistants to call center agents. True, the vast majority of consumers still prefer to talk to agents via phone when it comes to complex issues. And as call center agents know it very well, it’s quite challenging to handle incoming calls, especially if they’re complex ones.

However, chatbots have the ability to serve as personal assistants to call center agents, quickly gathering all necessary customer information, such as the customer’s history with the company, to help inform agent interactions and allow them to efficiently resolve the issue. As a result, customers can enjoy personalized conversations, and agents can take advantage of new opportunities when taking more complex calls.

So, we can see that customer service chatbots are already starting to work alongside call center agents, and it’s more than likely that this trend will continue to grow over the next few years. Together, they form the perfect partnership: input from call center agents help chatbots provide better customer service, while chatbots take the responsibility for routine work off of agents’ shoulders, so they can focus on high value issues. Did I mention already that it’s a win-win situation?!

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