Chatbots have come a long way since their inception, maturing  into multilingual, AI-driven tools capable of handling full customer transactions. However, somewhat paradoxically, they’ve actually made human jobs harder, according to James Kraeutler, VP of the ISV and technology alliance program at Genesys.

Kraeutler explained to Which-50 that chatbots’ increasing ability to handle complex customer requests means that when they can’t, and the request goes through to an agent, it’s usually a difficult one.

“The things that do get through to an agent at the end of the day are going to be much more complex, much more difficult to solve and they’re going to be more valuable,” Kraeutler said.

The human interactions will also increasingly be high-value or high-emotion interactions — like sales opportunities or customer churn, according to Kraeutler.

“We think as we automate more and more conversations the agent’s job’s going to get easier — our call volumes or our interaction volumes are going to come down. But really the truth of the matter is that agent’s jobs are going to get much more difficult.”

The problem is not necessarily a bad one to have. Kraeutler notes that the more challenging requests are often the most interesting and rewarding ones to solve for employees. Still, the challenge remains. Gartner suggests the volume of customer interactions will triple over the next four years, meaning a solution is needed.

“Of course, in this short period of time we’re not going to be able to triple the workforce in contact centres,” Kraeutler said. “Nor are we going to train the same people to field what are going to be much more difficult questions and at a higher volume.”

The solution, Kraeutler says, will require more advanced artificial intelligence on both the consumer and agent side.

“So as we’re analysing those conversations, whether it’s voice or text, in order to provide a bot-based response, in the same way once the customer is connected to an agent we can use the same exact technology to continually monitor either the voice or the text-based conversation.

“And then in real time be looking through the knowledge base, be looking through the next best action and be prompting the agent.”

The AI assistance will help create the necessary “uber agents” to deal with the complex requests, Kraeutler said.

“With the power of AI, [we can make agents] an expert in subjects, giving them really deep expertise in fields where they might not be very familiar.”

About this author

Joseph Brookes is a writer for the Which-50 Digital Intelligence Unit, of which Genesys is a corporate member. Our members provide their insights and expertise for the benefit of the Which-50 community. Membership fees apply. 

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