Why should call centers in the Philippines embrace artificial intelligence and not fear it?
- AI can lift customer satisfaction
- AI can reduce training costs
- AI can help capture data from customer interactions
- AI can predict trends in customer behavior
There’s been a long-standing debate on how artificial intelligence (AI) can possibly affect call centers in the Philippines. Experts are divided. There are those that fear for the industry and those who want to take it as an opportunity. People, as in regular citizens and those in the industry, are leaning towards the side of fear. They view AI as a threat and are expecting robots to give them a run for their money and take over the workforce.
For those people standing on the other side of the argument, they see AI as an opportunity to call centers so they can grow and flourish. Their positivity stems from the fact that this isn’t the first time the industry has faced such a formidable enemy that displays such intelligence. When we – the Philippines – entered the call center industry, we weren’t really a force to be reckoned with and India was the obviously dominant player. However, in a short five years, the industry was able to grow exponentially and we knocked India out of first place.
You can say that our battle with India is very different from our upcoming battle with AI, but we beg to differ. They’re both superior intelligence that has an edge over us. If there’s a difference, then it’s the fact that India can’t really offer us a lot of benefits. AI, on the other hand, can still benefit call centers in the Philippines in the following ways:
AI Can Lift Customer Satisfaction
At the end of the day, the main goal of call centers is to ensure that their customers are satisfied. Agents tend to these customers 24/7 – they pick up customer calls, answer their queries, and guide them towards the right solution. While this setup is enough, for now, it might not be in the future, especially since call volume is expected to expand at 20% every year.
Soon, these agents won’t be able to tend to all calls and customers will most likely be left unsatisfied. AI is one of the solutions to this problem. Chatbots with enough intelligence and the proper software can answer the simplest inquiries, while actual agents deal with customers with more complicated problems and needs.
A collaboration like this will surely increase service quality and overall customer satisfaction, which is really all everybody wants.
AI Can Reduce Training Costs
It’s no secret that the cost of hiring and training human staff can be quite high. It can reach thousands and may chip away at the company’s revenue if the new employee doesn’t prove to be useful. Despite careful and intense screening, unwanted people can still get through and there’s barely any way around that. Companies will just have to let it go and learn from their mistakes.
AI can offer cost savings in this department. There are pre-programmed platforms that are equipped with sufficient industry and domain knowledge that can be used to do necessary tasks. These platforms will also prove useful when the company has to undergo process changes. AI tasks can be re-configured in just a matter of hours or days as opposed to re-training the entire workforce.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to replace your agents with robots. At most, AI is expected to do routine tier-1 requests that are too menial and tiresome for actual humans to do.
AI Can Help Capture Data from Customer Interactions
Data collection is extremely important for call center agents. It’s what allows them to come up with set processes and scripts, as some call it. Most of the data collection techniques today are done manually. Agents have to log their calls and list down important details.
They do this as they answer the customer’s questions so you can say that it’s not as detailed as it needs to be. Shifts in behavior, reactions, and other trends are often bypassed. If they do get noticed, often, it’s too late for the call to be saved.
This is another area where AI can step in and make the process easier for humans. If programmed right, AI voice agents and chatbots are able to capture significant granular data on every customer interaction. They can spot trends like dissatisfaction faster than a human can.
Once enough data is collected, it gets fed into an analytics engine that will hopefully help call centers optimize their processes.
AI Can Predict Trends in Customer Behavior
In years to come, there will be a lot of changes in the BPO and call center industry. Not only will there be a larger volume of calls, but customer behavior may also change. One of the most common changes and trends are related to customer behavior and they usually appear out of the blue. Even experts find it hard to detect and predict slight shifts in trends.
All this can change with the proper implementation and use of AI. These programs are able to notice changes in customer behavior and identify upcoming trends in their early stages. Although there are tools used today for this, AI will undoubtedly accelerate the process and lessen the need for human intervention.
Managers can then use the data provided by these machines to come up with the best practices that will produce the most ideal results with the least risk.
The call center industry has no need to fear the rise of artificial intelligence. They need to embrace it and utilize it to make their business flourish and stay on top of the game. They don’t have to fear the day a call center in the Philippines gets overrun by robots because it will never happen – at least not in this lifetime.
As it stands today, statistics suggest that people still prefer interacting with a human. Even if inquiries can be solved by AI, nine out of ten people would still like the option of being transferred to a live advisor. The reality is that people don’t like talking to robots. They crave for a little bit of humanity, and that’s just human nature.
So for those working in the call center industry, take this as a wake-up call. Instead of shying away from an unknown intelligence, learn to understand it and use it to your advantage. AI can offer your business a lot of benefits but only if you allow it to!
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