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Article : As Technology Progresses, Will We Ever Eliminate Live Agents?

Technology is advancing at an incredible pace, and the age where machines are used to do most of our work is fast approaching. But will technology ever replace the human element in the customer service sector? Will live agents ever be terminated and replaced with artificial intelligence? Industry experts share their opinions.

Janet Lum
B.C. Government
Canada

"No - people have a general preference to speak to a live agent as they tend to get frustrated by phone tress and the selection process."

 
Fawaz Hashmi
Engagement Director
Hashmi Consulting Services
United States

"No, but dependency is being reduced."

 
Tammy Self
Director
Allstate Insurance
United States

"I hope not. Emotions call for people ... and people will always have emotions."
About Allstate Insurance

The Allstate Corporation is a large publicly held personal lines insurer in the United States. Allstate was founded in 1931 as part of Sears, Roebuck and Co., and was spun off in 1993.
 
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....CONTENT CONTINUED BELOW
Amy Mortenson
President
Call Smarter
United States

"[Amy Mortenson] I sincerely hope not. I think that human contact, even through a phone is very important. It meets one of our most very basic human needs and creates a lasting impression if it is a positive experience. Technology is making it a very possible option, but companies moving in this direction to save money, may find that it will backfire in the end."

 
David Oldham
Vice President, Marketing
NICE inContact
United States

"No. I believe there will always be value in the human touch. The most effective contact centers will find that balance between offering as many self-service options as possible, while allowing customers to speak to a knowlageable human being quickly when needed."
About NICE inContact

NICE inContact CXone™ is a unified cloud customer experience platform. CXone combines Omnichannel Routing, Workforce Optimization, Analytics, Automation and Artificial Intelligence on an Open Cloud Fo... (read more)
 
Dan Collins
President
TMP Direct
United States

"NO, will always be a need for human interaction and customer service"
About TMP Direct

TMP Direct is a service provider with specialities in Customer Retention and Customer Acquisition supported by Inbound and Outbound Contact Center Services, Fulfilment Services, POS Distribution Servi... (read more)
 
Daniel Deschamps
Technical Operation Manager, Global Call Centre Operations
Toshiba of Canada Limited
Canada

"I do not see a total replacement, but what will always remain is live agents in a sales position which will always be critical. Technical agents will also be an area that will change slightly, but only to the point that the more skilled agents will be the ones sought to fill these positions."
About Toshiba of Canada Limited

Toshiba BCD is a provider of business communications solutions. It offers a comprehensive portfolio of communication systems and applications that enable customers to enhance customer relationships, d... (read more)
 
Annette Ferrell
Vice President, Community Bank
The Columbia Bank
United States

"Absolutely not; we will never totally replace Live Agents but we will be able to use their skills and talents to handle business development and problem resolution tasks that require high-touch and can ultimately translate to more profitable and satisfied customers. Customers enjoy, even demand, access to information through various delivery channels including VRU, Online Banking, and mobile banking but there is still a basic need to speak with a person to address items that customers view as high-touch. These are most commonly things that either deepen a customer relationship or preserve a relationship. These business development and issue resolution opportunities are also the contacts that centers want to manage with a Live Agent."
About The Columbia Bank

The Small Business Banking division was formed to provide resources to companies up to $3 million in revenues or less.
 
Martin Kaczynski
Business Architect
Royal Bank
Canada

"No. People today, more than ever, want to speak to an individual."
About Royal Bank

The Royal Bank of Canada serves seventeen million clients and has 80,100 employees worldwide. The company's primary corporate offices are located in Toronto, Ontario, while it is officially headquarte... (read more)
 
Tara Smith
Senior Manager, Call Center Operations
American Academy of Dermatology
United States

"You can't. Every customer is different and each customer has a different communication preference. You will always have those who want to speak to a person. Not to mention the fact that security it not tight enough to handle every situation."

 
Yuval Bauman
Project Manager
FTS
United States

"I believe a smart/intelligent IVR + Knowledge Base will replace most of the agents in the near future."
About FTS

FTS is a provider of Billing, CRM and Business Control solutions for communications and content service providers. By analyzing events from a business standpoint rather than just billing them, FTS all... (read more)
 
Kristopher Nunn
Director, Call Center Operations
Bankers Warranty Group
Canada

"I don't think the "live agent" will ever go away; just as ABM's may never completely replace Bank Tellers and "self checkout" may never replaced grocery cashiers. I think its natural for us as human beings to crave some form of human interaction. While automation makes the process quicker, it doesn't necessarily make it friendlier. Consider the friendship you may have with the local bank teller whom you have done business with for several years, would you get the same kind of human interaction from an ABM machine? Automated technology is designed to solve your problem as quickly as possible. There is no quality control, because there is no chance of deviating from a script, however, there is also no human element."
About Bankers Warranty Group

Bankers Warranty Group (BWG) is a leading provider of insured extended service plans in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico covering a variety of consumer products. With over 25 years experience... (read more)
 
Patrick Louis
Senior Director Customer Experience Global
Canada Goose
Canada

"Technology can help, support and enhance our day to day performance but I truly believe that there will always be a portion of clients that will require (want? Like?) to have interaction with live agents."
About Canada Goose

Founded in a small warehouse in Toronto almost sixty years ago, Canada Goose has grown into one of the world's leading makers of luxury apparel.Every Canada Goose product is designed with purpose and... (read more)
 
Suzanne Howe
Call Center Director
Kentucky Retirement Systems
United States

"Members can obtain some information through self-service, but since many issues within the retirement system are predicated on statute, we will need to continue to keep live agents to explain how it applies to each member’s individual situation."

 
Marquisha Bridgeman
Manager, Member Communications and Marketing
Pace Professional Association
United States

"Live agent is fundamental to human satisfaction because of our need to be understood. Automation will never provide enough comfort to enough people that they have connected with another person willing to accept responsibility for solving a problem. Although the adoption curve of automation is striking amongst young people, it is clear that some activities, particularly of a sensitive or private nature require the human voice of a live operator."
About Pace Professional Association

PACE is the only non-profit trade organization dedicated exclusively to the advancement of companies that use a multi-channel approach to engaging their customers, both business to business and busine... (read more)
 
Steve Trifelos
Director, Strategic Partnerships
ITM Marketing, Inc.
United States

"No. Not anytime soon. I believe depending on the industry category, contact objective, and customer profile there will always be a need for a variety of contact options, including live voice."
About ITM Marketing, Inc.

ITM Marketing, Inc. is an experienced, multifaceted teleservices company located in Coshocton, Ohio, dedicated to delivering customized, value-driven solutions for your company's telemarketing needs.... (read more)
 
Kevin Milewski
Product Marketing Manager
Veriato
United States

"I see it as just another support level - maybe the "new level 1 support" channel."

 
Marc Bellavia
Manager, Direct Sales
Sage
United States

"Hopefully not. Customers want companies that understand them and only live agents can do that. People like to do business with other people, unless they are only shopping on price and not value."
About Sage

Sage is a FTSE 100 company in the North East. Even though we've become a global company, we're still rooted in the North East, with our head quarters in Newcastle where around 1,500 of our people work... (read more)
 

About ContactCenterWorld:
Company LogoContactCenterWorld is The Global Association for Contact Center & Customer Engagement Best Practices. Today we have over 205,000 corporate 'individual' members have joined the association's website 'ContactCenterWorld.com'. We were established in 1999.
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Today's Tip of the Day - The Name Game

Read today's tip or listen to it on podcast.

Published: Monday, July 13, 2009

Printer Friendly Version Printer friendly version

2020 Buyers Guide Payment Services

 
1.) 
Eckoh

CallGuard, ChatGuard,
Securing payments for on-premise or remote agents for telephone, IVR, web, mobile, Chat and Chatbot.

A patented technology that is flexible way to take secure, PCI DSS compliant payments via live agents over the telephone, web, Chat, Chatbot, or IVR. No sensitive data enters the contact centre environment so, agents do not see, hear, store or record any card or personal details.

CallGuard can be deployed in various ways to fit the way your contact centre works. The solution can de-scope all, or parts, of your contact centre from the scope of PCI DSS compliance and works just as well for on-premise or home/remote working agents.

ChatGuard makes payments in Chat PCI DSS compliant and...
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PH: 01442 458300
 

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