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Why Call Service Center Agents Will Still Outperform Automated Options

In one of the many unforeseeable outcomes of the ongoing pandemic, the lockdowns over the past year have accelerated the shift to greater automation in certain sectors. Lenders, insurers, and call centers are a few of the industries where this growth is most evident.

In the digital and pandemic age, service center operations, including call centers and help desks, have become increasingly important as ways for organizations to interact with their customers. Companies are actively searching for efficient ways to manage service centers — including routing calls to appropriate representatives — because service centers undoubtedly directly impact customer satisfaction.TRC_Automation_SocialMedia_2@1.5x

The answer might seem (irritatingly) obvious to consumers: press 0 and give us a human on the phone. But customer service that requires human interaction is expensive, making automation an increasingly attractive option for companies. But, what’s the downside?

For one, humans do not always follow the guidance as expected — as indicated by something termed as “behavioral inertia.” Inertia is effective when the call center agents deal with complicated issues. Human discretion will always be needed in certain situations. Humans are social beings, and empathy given and received is a piece of human behavior that machinery cannot replace. As such, companies should establish protocols that allow agents a certain amount of discretion when making routing decisions and should not leave that up to AI to determine.

Whatever a company decides to automate, the bottom line is they will rely heavily on the people in their operation to manage the process because humans are psychologically better equipped to handle the nuance and emotion of customers. Automation shouldn’t be about replacing people with machines; it’s about augmenting a workforce with technology that makes it easier for teams to operationalize scale and quality.TRC_Automation_SocialMedia_3@1.5x

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