“Augmented intelligence is all about people taking advantage of AI”
–– Svetlana Sicular, research vice president, Gartner.
Without a doubt, AI stands as the future and, to a certain extent, the present. Its extensive presence has transformed numerous industries, with one of the swiftest adoption rates occurring in customer service. Having explored various avenues, the big question remains- will AI replace human customer support agents? Let’s get the ball rolling and see if there is the remotest of the possibility of AI replacing human agents in contact centers.
AI in customer support brings a myriad of benefits, from improving efficiency and responsiveness to providing personalized and consistent experiences for customers. Here are several key advantages:
Automation of Routine Tasks:
AI automates mundane tasks, allowing human agents to focus on more complex and value-added aspects of customer support.
Instant Response Time & 24/7 availability:
AI enables swift responses to customer inquiries, reducing wait times and enhancing the overall customer experience. AI-powered chatbots can operate round the clock, providing instant responses to customer queries, and ensuring support is available at any time.
Automating routine and repetitive tasks with AI reduces operational costs, allowing companies to allocate resources more effectively.
Data Analysis and Personalization:
AI can analyze vast sets of customer data to understand preferences, behaviors, and trends, allowing for personalized interactions and targeted services.
While AI enhances and augments customer support, the unique qualities of human agents, such as emotional intelligence, adaptability, and creativity, make them irreplaceable in certain aspects of customer interactions. AI has made significant strides in customer support, but there are several reasons why it may not completely replace human customer support agents:
Social and Interpersonal Skills:
Many jobs rely on interpersonal skills and human connection. AI cannot replace the value of a friendly smile, a reassuring touch, or genuine human interaction.
AI makes decisions based on data and algorithms, without a moral compass. Humans often need to make complex ethical and moral judgments, which require an understanding of values and empathy.
AI may struggle in unpredictable situations or scenarios that deviate from established patterns. Human agents can adapt and find innovative solutions in such cases.
Intuition and Gut Feeling:
Human agents often rely on intuition and gut feelings developed through experience, which can not be easily replicated by AI systems.
When dealing with customer needs, finding a balanced approach is crucial. Customers expect quick and effortless resolutions to their queries, and often, they prefer a human touch in those resolutions. AI excels in handling repetitive and data-heavy queries, while situations requiring human empathy can be directed to a live agent.
Now, imagine a scenario where both AI and humans seamlessly work together. Well, that scenario exists today and is known as augmented intelligence.
According to Gartner’s business forecast highlights, by 2030, decision support/augmentation will surpass all other types of AI initiatives to account for 44% of the global AI-derived business value.
In customer support, AI Bots and advanced NLP engines efficiently manage repetitive queries and straightforward issues. When queries evolve into situations demanding emotional intelligence, the transition from artificial intelligence to authentic intelligence— takes place.
“The goal is to be more efficient with automation while complementing it with a human touch and common sense to manage the risks of decision automation.”
In an augmented intelligence setup, humans remain in control, utilizing AI’s assistance to achieve superior outcomes. This approach acknowledges the distinctive strengths of both humans and machines, aiming to forge a synergistic relationship that maximizes the capabilities of each.
While Goldman Sachs suggests that AI has the potential to replace about 300 million full-time jobs, the consensus among most experts is that customer service jobs will undergo augmentation and automation rather than outright replacement.
The real magic unfolds when AI and humans join forces. Leverage the best of both worlds and witness a full-scale transformation in the landscape of customer service.
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