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Contact centers: work smarter not harder

Posted on May 21, 2018 by

Technology is evolving faster than ever before, which means some major changes in the job market. The contact center industry is a great example, as many positions are becoming obsolete with the introduction of new technology and the need to reduce the cost to serve. The McKinsey Global Institute estimates that between 400 million and 800 million of today’s jobs will be automated by 2030.

Currently there are about 1.3 million people employed by customer-service centers in the UK alone, which means local economies depend upon these centers. The area of Swansea, however, was recently blindsided with the loss of nearly 800 call center jobs when Virgin Media pulled their operations from the area. They are not alone, in February Tesco closed their Cardiff call center eliminating another 1,100 jobs. Although Virgin did not comment on whether or not changes in technology and automation had an impact on their swift departure, experts have reason to believe this could be one  influences. Tesco, on the other hand, decided to close their center to reduce their costs in order to keep up with their aggressive online competitors.

Although there might be looming threats that technology and robots will completely replace humans in this industry, many experts argue that this thought process is irrational. They might successfully reduce the number of humans needed, but complete automation does not make sense in many situations. So what does this mean for contact centers needing to reduce costs but also interested in integrating new technologies to raise efficiency? 

Work smarter, not harder! Machine learning and artificial intelligence can help reduce the cost to serve while also tending to a higher volume of inquiries by routing online visitors to the most appropriate contact channel, if any. By understanding digital body language, companies are able to ensure that the right visitors end up in the contact center queue and the rest are directed to online self-service channels. This reduced volume of contacts helps to keep cost down, while also making sure the customers that do make contact receive the best service possible.  

While contact centers are starting to shutter their doors in the UK, this should not induce panic across the industry. There are many ways that companies can introduce new technologies to increase conversions and efficiency, and cut down on costs without massive layoffs and loss of the 'human touch.'

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