Customer service has been through many changes over the years, but the most rapid change has been in the past year or so with the dawn of new technology and ever-rising customer expectations. This chart from customer service influencer Blake Morgan illustrates the evolution of customer service and how technology has improved the customer experience landscape.
Some of you may remember – or may have seen the reruns of – the popular game show “What’s My Line?”, where a panel of celebrities would have to ask a contestant yes-or-no questions in order to guess their unusual occupation. That seems to be the resounding question many customer service professionals are asking themselves. What will be their line of work, as artificial intelligence make its way deeper into the realm of customer experience? To answer that question, we need to first ask the question –
How will AI affect jobs?
Though some people may warn of the negative impact of AI on jobs, a lot of research speaks to the contrary. Accenture predicts that AI will boost productivity by as much as 40 percent by 2035, because AI technologies will enable people to make more efficient, creative, and innovative use of their time. In fact, AI will reinforce people’s role in driving business growth. In addition, some argue that machines will increase the “demand for flexible, mobile workers with skills and agility that no robot can come close to matching.” These thought leaders are finding that even though more artificial intelligence and robotics are being used, the growth resulting from the automation is causing companies to hire more people in areas like marketing, sales, or IT.
How can customer service professionals adapt to the rise of AI?
As for contact center agents, AI will relieve them of the lighter customer issues, allowing them to tackle more complex situations. The way for agents to survive these higher-stress customers is to shift their attitude and increase their aptitude in answering these kinds of questions.
More importantly, though, is that AI won’t take away from their job, but assist them in their job, working in the background. Additionally, human agents will be assisting the virtual agents by supplying them with more human-sensitive, intuitive responses, allowing the machine to learn as they work together.
If we feel threatened by AI, we should make use of the resources that are made available by new technologies. Learn new skills or create a job that is necessary to make some AI tasks more relevant. Reinvent how you run your contact center – or reinvent yourself.
An article in Wired magazine addressed the issue well, “Innovative technologies create more wealth and better jobs in the end by eliminating unpleasant rote work and increasing overall productivity… We must think about the future of labour with a healthy dose of creativity and an expansive frame of mind… New technology will open up richer worlds of human interaction as we develop new techniques for measuring and understanding our humanity.”
After reading that, it may become a question that evokes excitement. So go ahead and ask, “What’s my line?”