Automation Hits the Contact Center
We've heard about automation more than once, and the kind of benefit it can have on a variety of fronts. We've also heard a lot about potential downside. Will automation give us a more fulfilling work life, free of pointless drudgery? Or will it destroy the economy? With automation's arrival in the contact center, it's time to start analyzing this concept more closely.
With the global unified communications (UC) as a service market growing at a projected compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of over 25 percent through 2021, it's clear that these tools—including automation and even robotics—are poised to make gains throughout many market centers. Tools like machine learning, cognitive computing, and others will improve the contact center's overall level of responsiveness and make for an ever-increasing demand package.
Better yet, those humans still in the contact center will likely be repurposed; instead of spending a lot of time on repetitive outbound calling or low-end questions—how many times a day can a human being say “We're open until five” without going insane?—humans will be moved to more complex question answering. Even managers will get benefit here, as the increased automation also improves reporting processes and makes issues more readily spotted. Issues that are more visible are more readily addressed, in turn, making the entire department better.
Solutions finding the most ground in the space are those that are easiest to deploy, as well as best able to enhance collaborative efforts among employees. Particularly in the contact center, this can be especially useful as more complex matters require consulting across departments to ensure the best outcome for callers.
Sure, there are risks that come with this new technology. Automation, used improperly, can destroy a market by removing paying work from the hands of regular people. When jobs automated out of existence aren't quickly replaced, that's income that isn't going to buy things and keep the economy running. If the automation is used as a supplement to current employees, then chances are it will have a positive impact on the economy, especially if it results in more disposable income for employees as well as more time to get out and spend it. If it's used as a substitute for employees, then it's going to be a drag on the overall economy as fewer people have disposable income.
Automation can be a big help for contact centers, contact center managers, and even contact center employees, assuming it's used the right way. If it's not, then it has the potential to cause many more problems than it solves.