Goodbye, Humans : Call Centers 'could Save $80B' Switching to AI

upnorth

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Jul 27, 2015
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By 2026 the call center industry could save up to $80 billion by replacing humans with AI chatbots, according to analysts at Gartner.

Customer service companies are increasingly investing in conversational AI to chase those savings, safe in the knowledge that advances in natural language processing and text-to-speech models make it harder for people to detect whether they're interacting with a bot or not. That said, once humans start chatting to machines – by voice or instant messaging – discrepancies and other signs in the conversation can reveal the unreal nature of the non-person on the other end of the line or chat box. Contact center operators aren't deterred by these limitations and expect the technology will only improve over time. Gartner estimated that there are approximately 17 million contact centers around the world, and together they will spend $2 billion in total on AI software by the end of this year.

Daniel O'Connell, VP analyst at Gartner, said labor shortages are driving uptake of conversational AI. "Many organizations are challenged by agent staff shortages and the need to curtail labor expenses, which can represent up to 95 percent of contact center costs. Conversational AI makes agents more efficient and effective, while also improving the customer experience," O'Connell said.
 

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