December 16, 2021
The Death Of The Call Center
In the spring of 2020, as the pandemic began to intensify, CEO Rob Locascio of LivePerson, a company that develops conversational AI software, heralded the demise of call centers. “What we ushered in is, really, the death of the call center,” he said in a Mad Money interview with Jim Cramer. “I’ve been talking about this for two years and now it’s come.”
CNBC dug deeper, uncovering a clear shift: Call centers were shuttering throughout 2020 while enterprise-level companies began leveraging new AI-driven tech to manage customer queries. Seems like no coincidence that LivePerson’s sales jumped almost 18% in the first quarter of 2020.’ At the same time, the conversational AI platform I built, OneReach.ai, experienced something similar. New sales jumped by more than 20% and growth within existing accounts soared more than 35%.
Leaning heavily on scripts and predetermined prompts and relegating difficult questions to customer service reps, AI-driven messaging tech doesn’t entirely solve the problem. If we look at this scenario through the lens of hyperautomation, however, these challenges fade away.
T-Mobile, the third largest wireless carrier in the U.S., moved their Colorado Springs call center to an all-remote operation shortly following the announcement of COVID-19 lockdowns. The first steps were all about equipping reps with the right tech—logistically challenging but not insurmountable. What came next was more difficult: supporting the team remotely. Onepage guides were printed and handed out, virtual training sessions were set up, and an IT war room was created for in-the-moment tech issues.
It was an impressive pivot, but one that uncovered a problem: there were never enough experienced call center leads to guide and mentor reps as they wrestled with unique customer problems. Here, hyper-automation could be the solution.
Let’s say a remote T-Mobile sales rep gets a call from a disgruntled customer about a purchase he made online. While the rep listens patiently, an IDW processes the conversation in real time, prompting the rep with possible responses and solutions. There’s no one-page guide to dig up, no virtual training to wait for, no war room to lean on. With all relevant company and customer-released data at its digital fingertips, the IDW can offer practical solutions tailored to each situation.
Not only does this alleviate the burden on T-Mobile, otherwise scrambling to find support channels for its team, but it makes training superfluous. If an IDW is always at the ready to instruct and guide, an employee wouldn’t have to drudge through onsite training; they could simply walk through a quick tutorial guided by the IDW and dive into work.
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December 18, 2023