Will artificial intelligence replace workers in customer service areas?

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Will artificial intelligence replace workers in customer service areas?

Just as previous industrial revolutions changed the course of societies, today we are also facing a turning point that promises to radically transform the way we live, work and communicate.

It is, of course, Artificial Intelligence (AI), a technology that raises new concepts, realities and ethical dilemmas that require a change of mentality and new skills in all work disciplines, including customer service. .

The technology revolution

AI is the most important revolution in technology since computing was invented. This revolution is changing many concepts and visions in various professions. However, it is important to emphasize that AI will not totally replace workers in customer service areas, at least not in the near future, but it will change many ways in which they work.

“In short, artificial intelligence harnesses computers and machines to mimic the problem-solving and decision-making capabilities of the human mind. However, the key to this tool is not to replicate or replace human capabilities, but rather to optimize them, simplifying and streamlining processes to allow for greater productivity and better use of time and resources,” said Javier Echeverri, president of Manpower Group Colombia.

Will AI replace human capacity?

Although AI has come to revolutionize many professions, it is not fully capable of replacing human capacity.

This is confirmed by Ricardo Morales, General Director of Experis Colombia, who assured that: “One of the pillars of digital transformation has been to eliminate repetitive processes carried out by people in different industries, so that they can really add value to the companies based on knowledge, innovation and the spark that characterizes the human being”.

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Precisely, although AI revolutionizes the labor sector, human characteristics are special and these changes had already occurred in the past; for example, according to Morales: “At the beginning of this century, attention was provided through people arranged for this purpose in warehouses, offices, and attention centers. Gradually they began to attend us through operators that expedited the service and little by little the service areas were disappearing and giving rise to specialized contact centers or call centers, which at the time configured a disruption to customer service. Final client”.

This is how with the new attention methodologies the need for omnichannel appears, since by different means the response was different. Also, the appearance of the first chatbots with very flat responses and even their connection to databases and machine learning was a long way off.

Later, over time, automations appeared in the processes, such as the attention through different channels such as the telephone, email, chat on the different platforms and on web pages, which allowed people not to interact with other human beings to reach a company.

Precisely, in the last five years it has been observed how advances in technologies such as Machine Learning, Deep Learning, natural language processing, virtual reality, augmented reality and RPA, among others, are increasingly helping to make these processes much more agile for the end user. It is noteworthy that every time the client is much more prepared for these innovations and demands a higher level of self-service, for which reason, telephone calls to call centers at basic levels have been decreasing, since this first contact is normally made through through self-service supported by these new technologies.

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Since the 50s there has been talk of artificial intelligence and its use in different processes of our daily lives, however, we have seen in customer service how the applications of new technologies positively impact the satisfaction of needs in this aspect, both from companies, users, as customers, and at the work level, how routine and repetitive jobs have evolved to jobs where human intellect, innovation, and knowledge are increasingly relevant in the final customer experience.

For this reason, many experts suggest that despite the widespread fear that exists around the possible impact of AI on labor markets, it is most likely that in the medium term this tool will gradually transform work dynamics, in favor of higher productivity and better use of resources.

“An illustrative analogy of what we are currently experiencing with Artificial Intelligence is the time when the use of the Internet began to become popular. At that time, at the end of the 90s, it was said that many jobs and jobs were going to disappear, but what really happened is that many roles have been changing and migrating towards other possibilities”, stressed Echeverri, who also opined: “With AI, what we will see is an innovation of work, an evolution towards greater efficiency and towards easier and faster ways of doing things.”

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Types of Artificial Intelligence

To further understand how Artificial Intelligence can influence the dynamics of the world of work, we can start by exploring some of the functionalities that determine how these tools operate.

Computer science experts Stuart Russell and Peter Norvig differentiate several types of artificial intelligence:

  • Systems that think like humans: automate activities such as decision making, problem solving, and learning. An example is artificial neural networks.
  • Systems that act like humans: These are computers that perform tasks in a similar way to how people do. This is the case, for example, of robots.
  • Systems that think rationally: they try to emulate the rational logical thinking of humans, following processes similar to the cognitive process of perceiving, reasoning and acting accordingly. Expert systems are included in this group.
  • Systems that act rationally: They are those that rationally try to imitate human behavior, such as intelligent agents.

Although the implementation of AI has been and will continue to be determinative for the evolution of markets in the future, it is likely that the integration of AI in the workforce will increase human labor instead of completely replacing it. In the short to medium term, the most likely scenario is that collaborative efforts between humans and AI create new opportunities and pave the way for a more efficient and productive future of work.

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