Call Center Jobs at Risk From Robots, Says Experts

Due to the growth in technology, experts are concerned that fully automated-voice software may soon replace customer service agents, putting thousands of call centre jobs at risk.

The rise in automation over the decade is fundamentally changing business operations across a variety of sectors, and experts are worried that this poses a risk to employees.

Current UK deputy Labour leader Tom Watson, who founded the Future of Work Commission, has already voiced his concerns about the issue. He recently expressed worries that the call centre sector “looks set to be changed dramatically… with traditional jobs potentially being lost.”

His concern is mimicked by futurists and economic experts up and down the country, and many are now calling on the government to carefully plan ahead on how to respond to these changes and protect jobs.

However, others are unconcerned about the changes. Some experts believe we are still years - or even decades - away from the point at which technology can really replace humans. Telecommunications services for industries like banking require a level of problem-solving that only humans are currently capable of. Many argue that it seems unlikely that automation will ever be able to replicate these complex processes and interactions.

Others believe that consumer demand will protect automation from ever fully replacing human agents, as recent market research seems to suggest that consumers still prefer talking to a human over a machine.

For example, a survey done by Avaya found that 79% of consumers prefer to talk to a live agent via phone, believing that this is the best way to quickly resolve their issues.

Perhaps a happy middle ground between the two - automated answering services and live agents - would be virtual answering services. Indeed, some predict that we’ll start seeing more widespread adoption of virtual answering services for small businesses over the coming years. These types of services enable businesses to outsource call centre live answering services to real humans by providing them with a script.

This could allow businesses to scale up their operations efficiently without having to employ more staff, while still avoiding the downfalls of complete automation.

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