There is no fix number for a customer support team. Some may consist of 5 representatives, while others may be formed of tens of employees. Now imagine an entire team (small or big) being replaced by robots. It may sound surprising, terrifying and extreme, but this is something expected to happen in the near future.
According to Forrester, robots will eliminate 6% of American jobs until 2021. This includes customer service representatives, truck and taxi drivers. With self-driven cars making the first move, it’s only a matter of time until they will reach other fields like customer service.
In fact, bots have already taken over a serious number of jobs. These include:
There are, however, a few jobs that robots will, most probably, not replace:
Bots have already taken over the customer service field. Mainly, they have the same responsibilities as support representatives: respond to customers’ questions, provide solutions for their problems and contact them if there’s an issue with one of your company’s offerings.
What makes bots special is how they do the work. While an employee works between 4 to 8 hours/day, a bot is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They do not need holidays and rarely require ‘medical leaves.’ Your customers will always have someone to contact, even during nights and holiday periods.
Bots can be cheaper. Although you pay a price when buying it or a monthly subscription, the costs can be smaller than the ones for an employee. As a business owner, you cut out the salary and taxes, while still obtaining the same performance.
Bots have also become an important element in the sales process.
When speaking about this subject, the following question comes up: is it a good or a bad thing?
Let’s look at a few elements. The “GenM 2013: One Year On” study shows us those who work in contact centers are considered “the most unhappy and isolated group of UK office workers.” They also experience great emotional and interpersonal relationships problems.
Answering the same questions multiple times a day, giving the same answers and dealing with angry customers are just a few factors which may back up the data from above. Support representatives may feel they stagnate or that their job is not helping them evolve, resulting in dissatisfaction and frustration.
Here is the moment when bots intervene. They can take over the easy and repetitive requests customers keep asking. They don’t mind to answer the same question over and over again. In this way, representatives can deal with more complex and demanding issues. Both your customers and your business benefit from this action. They have a pleasant experience, may remain loyal to your company, increasing your customer retention rate and your sales.
Hiring bots and keeping support representatives can be a great way to ensure you deliver excellent customer service and you maintain your personal touch. Impersonal customer service is avoided by customers. Combining these two elements is like mixing efficiency with your personal tone.
This also represents the perfect context for the birth of new jobs. As some of them become obsolete, they make room for new ones. Taking into consideration the direction in which the labor market is going, the new workplaces may be related to bots. Engineers and bot designers are two examples of jobs likely to become highly requested. There may also be a great need of salespeople to promote and sell these bots.
The image of the customer service field is changing significantly. With bots taking over, the labor market may look completely different in the near future. Luckily, there will be room for bots and people to help customers with their problems.