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We talk a lot about the impact evolving technology has on business. But if the future of the call center is about making customer service more human, you need to focus on how technology affects your frontline agents. When considering upcoming trends, factor in the people who have direct contact with your end users — they’ll drive the results you want.
1. The job of a call center agent will become more difficult but also more rewarding.
According to 2019 research from Dimension Data, 88.3% of contact center decision makers anticipate that robotic automation volumes will increase within the next two years. This will have a big impact on the day-to-day job of agents. With artificial intelligence (AI) automation handling basic and repetitive tasks, agents can shift their focus to more impactful work.
Agents will handle interactions that AI or self-service can’t solve. So, while the number of voice calls is expected to drop, their complexity will increase. Calls will take longer; solutions will be trickier and might have multiple stages or questions. Plus, callers might be anxious or frustrated already because self-service didn’t work for them.
Agents will need to be trained to deal with these escalated issues and emotions. Give them the tools and training they need, and they’ll provide a level of customer service that sets your business apart.
2. AI augmentation will let agents focus on what only humans can do — empathize.
At the end of the day, we all want to feel like our time is being valued. And if a person has escalated to a live agent, they’ll need reassurance that they aren’t wasting their time. AI-powered companion tools enable agents to better understand and serve these customers.
By automating what you can, you free agents to focus on the human aspects of customer service. This empowers them to emotionally connect to customers and drive brand loyalty. And that can’t be automated.
3. The number and type of call center agent jobs will grow and change.
As changing technology continues to augment call center agents’ jobs, that role will also change. Bots and automation can handle things that generalists and Tier 1 agents handled in the past. This opens the door for agents to receive further training and education so they become knowledge workers or subject-matter experts.
And, these call center agents could grow into new jobs that emerge. To manage your new technology, you’ll need people to work on bot supervision, conversation design and data stewardship. This gives people a reason to stay with your business longer. Offering opportunities for advancement will lower your turnover rates and improve overall employee engagement. As you first roll out new automation, it’s especially important to note that it won’t mean fewer jobs for people. But it does mean opportunities for advancement into more complex and interesting jobs.
Look to the Future on Your Time
Learn more about how 2020 megatrends will affect your call center in our on-demand webinar, “Megatrends shaping customer service in 2020.”
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