Artificial intelligence (AI) is a series of technological innovations that have radically changed industries, enabling call centers in the Philippines to operate on a smarter level. The technology is not new—it has been around for years—but to the uninitiated, these developments are still eliciting fear, with some believing that they can actually replace human talent in the workforce.
Call centers in the Philippines that do use AI in their operations have, of course, dispelled such doubts, showing instead that this kind of tech simply enhances what humans still do superbly: provide genuine service.
These days, one would be hard-pressed to find a brand that isn’t using chatbots to enhance their customer service, and customers also appreciate the speed at which these tools can respond.
That’s how AI improves the lives of consumers—but what about call center agents, the ones providing customer support?
According to Ralf Ellspermann, CEO of PITON-Global, a leading call center in the Philippines, AI essentially makes a call center agent’s life at work more productive and efficient. It does so in a number of ways: First, AI can handle simple, repetitive tasks for customers, allowing an agent to focus on the much more complex ones. When the need for an agent to personally handle a call does arise, AI can deliver pertinent customer data in real time, allowing them to resolve any problem much quicker. This, in turn, reduces the duration of a call, freeing up an agent’s time to take other calls and focus on matters that require more of his or her attention.
“AI can even detect sentiment and use speech pattern recognition, so it’s easier for agents to know whether a customer is irate, stressed, or generally in a good mood,” says Ellspermann, whose company has been operating successfully in Manila for the past 20 years. “This can help call center companies in the Philippines prevent avoidable mistakes, and overall, improve customer experience.”
And speaking of speech patterns, those of the call center agents can also be analyzed by AI, and the data can be used to easily monitor his or her performance. If the AI system detects that something is amiss, it can give an agent who is on a difficult call the right amount of support needed to address his or her concerns.
Another familiar AI-powered tool is conversational interactive voice response (IVR), or the advanced version of the prerecorded voice that instructs callers which number on the keypad to press to be routed most effectively. As the term connotes, conversational IVR can analyze voice inputs instead of the usual keypad inputs, picking up keywords that help the system determine which agent can best help a particular caller.
But if AI were a person, it would still be an infant, Ellspermann emphasizes, allaying fears of technology replacing humans. However, he does note that the pandemic has accelerated adoption of AI—which he also says is all for the best, because call centers in the Philippines need to put their best foot forward when it comes to customer service, now more than ever, in order to recoup their losses because of COVID-19.
Besides, people’s coexistence with AI can no longer be denied, Ellspermann says. Virtual assistants such as Siri and Alexa are already embedded in personal devices and homes, providing the same desired results: convenience and efficiency.
“In the same manner, AI is a very powerful tool that can increase call centers’ efficiency,” he says. The use of AI in call centers in the Philippines is here to stay and will only get better and bigger from this point onward.