The world is changing at an incredible rate, and we are currently in the midst of the fourth industrial revolution. Technology has transformed the way we interact with the world around us and enabled business owners to speed up and automate vast amounts of their companies’ day-to-day operations.
When it comes to call centres, the growth of technology and Artificial Intelligence (AI) have helped make the process of engaging with customers faster and smoother—but can AI ever really replace the human touch?
Ralf Ellspermann is the CEO of PITON-Global, an award-winning call centre outsourcing provider in the Philippines. Over the past two decades, he has helped dozens of UK-based firms migrate their business processes offshore and has seen first-hand how technology has revolutionised the industry.
Having worked on both the client and vendor sides of the outsourcing business, he has unique insight into the workings of call centres in the Philippines and how consumers interact with the growing influence of technology.
“Technology has definitely driven customer demands and expectations to levels that we have never seen before,” says Ellspermann.
“There is now an expectation from customers of 24/7 service. Not only that, but they are expecting the highest quality customer service alongside technical and app support, no matter where they are in the world,” he adds.
This demand has continued to increase thanks to technology that allows customers to switch between devices and methods of communication seamlessly.
This has left many companies in a cycle of playing constant catch-up with the needs of their consumers; they need to be able to communicate effectively through call centres,
webchats, emails, social media, and a whole host of other mediums.
“Artificial Intelligence has definitely helped when it comes to businesses migrating their call centre requirements to us here in the Philippines, but for it to work, it needs to be at a very high level.
“Customers have already been using AI in various aspects of their lives, so they are able to distinguish between effective and ineffective AI. They will also be expecting [outsourcing] businesses to pay attention to everything, so all of these modes of communication will need to be accessed when required,” explains Ellspermann.
With AI becoming more common and more effective, it would be easy to think that it is the future of call centre outsourcing, but as Ellspermann notes, you cannot overestimate the power of the human touch when it comes to interacting with customers.
“People still want to engage with another human, particularly when they are facing a more complex issue.
Whilst AI can help to meet the demand for instant responses, it will not have all the answers, and customers value being able to talk to a person rather than a machine. When it comes to contact centre outsourcing to the Philippines, using a mix of AI and human interaction is the perfect answer and typically comes in the form of speech recognition and a call centre knowledge management system.
AI helps the agents find answers to questions very quickly using shared, cloud-based files, allowing them to move quickly on to the next customer.
Delays are a significant contributing factor to poor customer service, so the faster your team can deal with customers, the happier they will be. Poor customer service can be incredibly damaging to a business, particularly in this modern age of social media, and it can really be a make-or-break occurrence, so it is important to pay attention to it,” says Ellspermann.
Technology has only helped increase customers’ service expectations. Not only do they now require 24/7 service from a business, but they expect them to be active on all sorts of communication mediums. As we enter the new decade, customers expect businesses to bend to their requirements and not the other way around. They are also more informed, meaning they can make educated purchasing decisions on a company that can meet their needs.
“That is why your contact centre needs to be able to meet demands 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” continues Ellspermann. “Technology has made customers impatient, so you need to ensure that your call centre outsourcing partner in the Philippines is able to meet these challenges.
We do not know what the future holds or how customers’ expectations will change, but what is certain is that businesses are going to have to continue to grow and adapt. Their continued success will depend on the customer service they offer.”
This increasing demand from customers is forcing more UK-based firms to look for cost-efficient support. Call centre outsourcing to the Philippines is becoming the go-to solution for these companies, and industry-leading outsourcing providers such as PITON-Global provide businesses with the ability to meet their growing
customer service demands.
Not only that, but it is allowing businesses to reduce their operational costs whilst increasing the number of support agents available. In turn, this helps them to raise their service levels and customer experience and provides them with the ability to quickly scale their programs up or down to meet demand.