I have worked in the Call Center space my entire 25 plus year career. I have witnessed and participated in the technology boom that has targeted the field over the years. Most technology has made a positive contribution, while other technology has brought doom upon the call center. Understanding what technology is appropriate for your operation must take calculated consideration, otherwise the technology you deploy in your call center will turn to disaster. I love the work I do, helping Call Center become much more effective and efficient. I enjoy the time I spend teaching front-line agents how to hold a compelling conversation with a customer, or teaching call center leaders how to inspire their people and manage a productive team. However, much of my time seems to be spent cleaning up technological mistakes Call Centers are making incorporating new or different technology. I realize that what I am about to say is a bold statement, but I must speak my mind based on the real-life experiences I encounter. Outsourced technology providers are literally destroying call center operations with their slick presentations, usually given by one with little to no experience operating a call center. The sales pitch will contain words that lead the call center executives to believe that the technology is the “be-all-end-all” of the call centers problems. Their technology will increase production and save them tons on money. I see from first-hand experience, this is rarely the case. Technology sales reps are not totally to blame. The decisions made by the call center executives must accept some of the responsibility. Of course, not all technology is bad for the call center. However, there are advances in technology that, in my opinion and 96% of those customers we have surveyed, that has absolutely no place in a call center operation. I am speaking about the clever developers of the “voice robots.” This technology, which utilizes an artificial human voice to converse with the customer. Although, this technology is sold as an intelligent strategy for call centers that employ people with heavy accents, the technology is not so much a solution as the developers and call center executives may think. The customer does not approve by an overwhelming factor. The savings to a call center is also not what was sold to them, sometimes in the short term but always in the long term. I do understand the “why” this technology seems to make sense, but losing the live energy that cannot be artificially manufactured from human conversation is what is at stake here. Using this technology is like wearing a toupee and passing it off as your natural lock of hair. It’s ARTIFICIAL and the fact of the matter when it comes to human interaction is, live and natural will far out produce what fake and pretend can generate. If you are considering “voice-bot” technology to hold a conversation, you would be making a big mistake. It is much better to develop the conversation skills of your real-life people than to rely on technology’s artificial intelligence to hold that conversation for you.
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