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4 reasons AI will never replace human agents in your contact center

smiling contact center agent speaking with a customer


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  • AI has enhanced many aspects of a contact center, improving customer experiencel.
  • Customers still appreciate the human touch to contact center communications.
  • AI and humans are both important components to contact centers to enhance the overall customer experience.

Is artificial intelligence (AI) poised to take over contact centers and eliminate the need for human agents? The answer is no.

Modern contact centers incorporate cutting-edge technologies to enhance their operations and services, and AI continues to be at the forefront of such innovations. Indeed, there’s been a marked shift to AI in contact centers. But does that mean it will replace human agents altogether?

As important as AI might be to the modern contact center, there’s no replacing the human agent completely. There are certain traits that live agents possess that technology will never be able to duplicate. Here are a few reasons why AI will never replace human agents in a contact center.

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1. Consumers still prefer human interaction

It would be tough to convince all consumers that there’s no need to speak with a live agent. There will always be people who simply prefer to have their questions answered and problems solved by an actual human being.

A recent survey showed that 83 percent of people prefer to speak to a live human agent instead of a bot, since live agents are better able to understand the needs of callers and juggle several questions at once.

Even if callers know they’re communicating with AI, 46 percent of those polled would prefer these bots to resemble humans to some degree, and 20 percent would like to see them as an avatar. The survey also showed that consumers want bots to exhibit certain human traits, such as politeness, humor, and a caring nature.

No matter how close to a real person AI can get, it will never be human. As important as innovation is to the modern contact center, having a team of live agents will never be entirely replaceable, simply because of the ongoing demand from consumers to deal with real people on the other end of the line.

contact center agent speaking with a customer

2. AI lacks emotion and empathy that customers crave

There is a level of empathy and emotion that humans can bring to the table, which is where AI falls short. AI is extremely innovative and intelligent, but it still lacks the human component of interactions with customers.

People are accustomed to communications with human agents that involve a level of empathy, which is something that AI cannot deliver. In many cases, customers rely on that empathetic voice to help them resolve their issues and feel better about the process. A lack of empathy and emotions would likely lead to dissatisfaction among callers.

3. AI can’t work alone

AI is incredibly advanced right now, but perhaps not quite intelligent enough to work unmanned. Human beings are still needed to set up and manage contact center AI systems.

Regardless of how evolved AI may be, it is still unable to think on its own. When there’s a glitch or issue with a system, humans are still the ones in control, even if they use technology to resolve issues.

While there are certainly advantages of enhancing human performance with AI, no machine is capable of mimicking everything that a human agent can do. No matter how close AI gets to human behavior, just knowing that a caller is not speaking with a human could be a deterrent to a satisfactory conversation. Some people simply won’t be satisfied without speaking with a fellow human being.

That said, AI can certainly augment the job of a contact center agent and level up the customer experience. While human agents may not be fully replaceable, having an intelligent system implemented in the contact center has become a great tool in the hands of a savvy agent.

4. AI can’t resolve every problem

Automation through AI is often best at simpler tasks that do not require a multifaceted solution.

AI may be able to provide straightforward information to customers.But when customers need more specific information about a complex problem, a more detailed solution may be too complicated for AI-based automation. As such, there is still the need for a human agent to help provide correct responses and alleviate frustrations.

As important as human interaction in contact centers is and continues to be, AI does have its place in modern operations. AI can help reduce costs thanks to enhanced self-service options for customers. Further, AI can help improve customer experiences by offering multiple channels of communication around the clock. No matter the time of the day, customers can choose which communication avenue to take to have their questions answered or issues resolved.

AI has brought a number of revolutionary solutions to the table to enhance contact center operations, such as conversational Interactive Voice Response (IVR), chatbots, analytics, and big data management. Callers communicate in any form they choose and cut down on any wait times they may experience to have their issues resolved. At the same time, contact center managers can gain valuable insight into their centers’ operations through detailed analytics.

More specifically, a cloud-based system gives contact centers the ability to enhance all aspects of operations. These systems help manage customer calls via the internet instead of conventional analog connections. With calls operated on cloud-based servers hosted online, the need for traditional telephone hardware is effectively eliminated.

At RingCentral, we offer cloud-based phone systems that prove to be much more reliable and cost-effective than conventional systems. As more and more companies continue to implement cloud phone systems, eventually even more contact center functions will likely move to the cloud. This will help streamline your contact center operations while ensuring an optimal customer experience.

Speak with a representative from RingCentral today to get your free demo.

Speak with a representative from RingCentral today

Originally published Mar 01, 2022, updated Jun 20, 2024

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