Will Self-Service Eventually Replace the Live Agent?

With the development of technology, self-service has become a common affair for the customers. Technology ensures that a machine is able to perform many tasks, requested by the customer, without any manpower involvement. Riding on the power of artificial intelligence in the machine, the technology has developed pretty impressively. And thus, self-service has come up as more and more prominent.

Self-Service Eventually Replace the Live Agentt

Image Credit: botetourtview via Flickr

If you look around self-help is everywhere. You get yourself a mug full of coffee by using a coffee machine, get cash by yourself by using an ATM, and beverage vending machine is another example. And if we talk about the call center environment, IVRs have become a mean of great help sprawling through most of the businesses. So in all these services there is no human interaction involved.  As a customer, you help yourself according to your need with these self-service tools.

But is it indicative that the self-service is going to supersede agents? Let’s look at this matter in more detail.

A Smartly Designed Interface

With every step ahead in technology and science, it brought more intelligence to the machines.  Computers have challenged human intelligence time to time.  And that is the reason so many of self –help devices came into existence.

IVRs (Interactive Voice Response), if designed properly take the brunt of the heavy workload of helping customers, be it any business.  If the IVRs are smart enough and are designed properly then they definitely deter the purpose of an agent.

Human Interaction

Agents are of great help when they are well prepared for the customers who reach them out with their queries. If a good self-help interface is available for the customer, then the human interaction becomes optional. Although any machine has limited capabilities so, to overcome such limitations, human interaction becomes necessary.  When a said word is understood in the same context in which it has been said then the purpose of communication gets fulfilled. And for the same very reason, human involvement is necessary.

When a Machine Repeats Itself

Yes, this can be a case when a customer trying hard to get some help through an IVR but he may not be reaching anywhere. The reason could be, the not so simple or badly designed IVR.  With limited options available the IVR puts the customer repeatedly through the same menu, where a complicatedly designed menu doesn’t provide any solution.

In such situation, a live agent can only help out the customer.

Manual Vs Automatic

This unseen chasm between the two has always been a question for the science and technology to answer and to reduce it as much as possible for human convenience.

Live agents come out to be better against a self-help tool as tools act as they have been programmed but they don’t have human understanding. In this way, it is necessary to understand that the best results get visible only when a man and machine work in tandem.

A customer who goes for self-help is liable to look for an agent if, for the same service the interface take more than expected time.

When a Glitch Occurs

Self-help devices and interfaces may have some glitches at times. In that case, only human involvement can be helpful.  So it becomes necessary for a live agent to attend the problem and give a glitch free as well as a time-bound experience to the customers.

Live agents may not compete with the speed and execution of a machine, per se. But they can leverage a held up technical situation with their skill and intelligence.

Eventually, It’s all about Customer Satisfaction

Be it self-help or live agents, eventually, a satisfied customer is the only concern at the end of the day. So the self-help tool should be designed and likewise, agents should be trained accordingly. Improvement always remains a possibility for both. The alarming rate at which, technology is improving day by day, it can be said self-help tools will get a lot more efficient form in future.

4 replies
  1. Rouven says:

    Working as an agent I feel the possibility of anything as such is far lesser. The human touch in a conversation has many meaningful touchpoints that a machine can not compete with.

  2. Schmit says:

    The presence of live agents will always remain because the when a machine is stuck only a human can tackle with the problems.


Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *