Are customer relations jobs doomed to disappear in favor of chatbots? This would imply a complete overhaul of the sector and forced retraining of thousands of people… Should we flee this field? Should we engage in rapid retraining at all costs?
Chatbots are indeed everywhere in 2022. Webmails, messengers (Messenger, Discord, WhatsApp), streaming services (YouTube, Twitch), websites… They are very attractive and simplify the daily consumer experience.
The concern? With the rapid evolution of AI technologies, some professionals fear a loss of meaning in their profession and even massive layoffs. Among them: telephone advisors, customer managers, remote technicians…
Although the patents filed by GAFAM and other “cutting-edge” companies are increasingly impressive. And their theoretical potential is enough to make us worry. Several analysis firms such as the US Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that forecasts for the sector predict a drop of only 2% over the next 10 years in terms of employment. How can this figure be explained?
To answer this question, there are several avenues to explore. Let’s break down the current state of affairs as simple as possible!
The AI that powers chatbots is not yet fully mature
Yes, chatbots are always there to answer, but the relevance of their feedback is not always there. Most of them can detect keywords, identify them with query types, and use the following words as the subject of the query. In terms of customer relations, this is already sufficient to handle the simplest requests: general information, FAQs, regulations, procedures, etc.
On the other hand, as soon as the AI is confronted with a situation for which it has not been programmed; in the best of cases, it “admits” not having understood the request. And in the worst of cases, it responds completely off the mark… Giving rise to misunderstandings, wasted time, and customer annoyance.
Artificial intelligence is therefore today a tool that allows the customer relations advisor to concentrate on the subjects of greatest interest. Freeing him or her from the management of small requests that can be automated.
AI is not yet a substitute for humans
It is unlikely that consumers will start preferring to interact with an AI rather than a person for some years to come. The AI available to the general public is still very limited. And is not able to respond effectively to all requests. According to a survey by Survey Monkey Audience; 65% of entrepreneurs say they do not trust AI enough because of its lack of understanding of problems. And although 60% of respondents said they had used a chatbot recently, it appears to be because they could not talk to an advisor. Only 13% said they would use chatbots to process their request.
Moreover, many customers prefer to have a human interlocutor, for several reasons. Consciously, a human will always give the impression of being more competent than an AI in any situation for many years to come (because it is); unconsciously, one does not react the same way to an AI as to a human. Tone, voice, hesitations, speech patterns, and a deep personality give a comfortable sense of authenticity that is too complex for an AI to replicate.
Management takes the lead
Today more than ever, customer relations are a means for companies to build customer loyalty by offering memorable moments, but also a magnificent lever for improvement and listening to customers. To do this, technology must certainly not replace the human being, but rather help him.
Not wanting to supervise robots
Job cuts are not just a matter for those who occupy them. Team leaders and managers do not want to find themselves supervising only robots. Being in contact with other people linked to the same mission is one of the main assets of customer relations for those who have chosen to evolve in this field.
In addition, sharing the responsibilities of managers would allow for a better understanding of each other and reduce the pressure of a pyramidal hierarchy. For example, instead of carrying out tasks that are too quickly judged to be useless, and by discussing them more fully with their ‘superiors’ rather than just getting rid of them without flinching, the employee will have a much better understanding of the value of the task (even if it is a bit ungrateful). Because yes, it is too often forgotten that there is usually a good reason for every task assigned in any profession. This could save a lot of frustration!
This is why a transformation of the first echelons of companies in the sector will become necessary. By giving more diverse and important tasks to an employee. While giving him more time to exchange and think about a solution can only be beneficial if AI ends up taking care of the simple execution of tasks. That’s what the desired profiles will look like.
New technology means new problems
Finally, let’s not forget that each new technological solution brings its own problems. Unpredictable, humans are often more reliable than machines. And then, a professional environment cannot remain frozen in time. Some roles disappear to make room for others, and the jobs of the future are surely unimaginable for the moment. Nothing new!
The very first chatbot program, ELIZA, dates back to 1966: half a century of existence… For conversations that are still as comical as ever. If human contact and mutual aid interest you or are your strong point, it seems that a future in Customer Care is still smiling at you.
We suggest you read these articles:
- Artificial intelligence application in e-commerce
- 10 technology trends to boost your e-commerce in 2022
If you want to discuss this or any other topic, don’t hesitate to contact us! We look forward to hearing from you.
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