Chat-bot Challenges AI 01.2.18

Chatbots Present Challenges and Opportunities for Call Centers

With chatbots experiencing widespread adoption in virtually every industry, call centers may appear to be headed the way of the dinosaur. However, by getting on top of the chatbot craze, call centers may be able to survive and even thrive in the artificial intelligence era, according to one software CEO.

Call centers can turn over their text chats to AI chatbots, freeing up their workers to engage in video interactions with customers. This will allow them to build more personal relationships with clients, thus improving customer service and enhancing company reputation, according to Priya Iyer, chairman and CEO of Vee24 Inc.

“Text chat will be the first to be replaced with chatbots,” Iyer wrote in a contributed article appearing in Digitalist Magazine. “While text chat is very efficient and enables servicing multiple customers at once, most companies have built a repository of chat transcripts that can be used to train bots. If your company has a contact center, it is time for you to move more of your team to video-based live engagement.”

Iyer said this kind of video interaction is key to developing trusting relationships with customers.

“Customers who feel emotionally connected to businesses buy more products, use more services, provide vocal support, and pay more attention to company advice,” she noted. “Only humans can create a sense of relationships and trust with a customer. Video chat empowers your contact center teams to build a trusted-adviser relationship with your customer – something chatbots simply cannot offer.”

For call centers, selective use of chatbots an expansion into video-based customer interactions can guarantee their long-term survival.

“The more human your contact center engagements and interactions are with the customer, the more likely your contact center won’t be killed by the AI trend,” Iyer added. “While AI technology can provide efficiency and cost savings, human interaction creates value like no other. People are social beings, and ultimately nothing can ever truly replicate the experience of connecting with another person.”

The use of chatbots as a means of customer/business interaction is exploding. Nine out of 10 worldwide consumers want to use messaging to interact with businesses, according to Accenture. Global market revenue for chatbots will rise to $1.86 billion in 2020, up from more than $1 billion in 2016, the company forecasts.

“…in customer support, as the telephone loses its primacy as the preferred channel of communication, mobile apps, social media and web chats are taking over,” Accenture stated in a report. “This shift points to an explosion in the global market for chatbots.”

The debate is raging over whether AI technology will supplant human workers—or simply enhance their effectiveness. Iyer’s vision takes the optimistic view on this discussion, opining that AI will serve to augment the effectiveness of call-center workers.

Tyler Schulze is vice president, strategy & development at Veritone.  He serves as general manager for developer partnerships, cognitive engine ecosystem, and media ingestion for the Veritone platform. Learn more about our platform and join the Veritone developer ecosystem today.