Why Emotional Intelligence Matters in The Contact Centre thumbnail image Published on 23rd November 2021 by Gemma Harding

Artificial intelligence (AI) is one of the most popular subjects in the customer service contact centre right now. Strategic conversations are taking place in boardrooms over its applicability for customer service, the possibility for employment disruption, and the ethical considerations underlying replacing people with machines.


Although Eliza, the first chatbot, was created in 1966, it’s only more recently with developments in AI and machine learning that interest in bots from a customer service perspective has really taken off.


So, all in all, this sounds fantastic. These chatbots are accessible in real-time, 24 hours a day, handle all communication channels, and automate processes. It’s the rise of the machine, the human is redundant.


But the truth is chatbots cannot replace essential human skills and business knowledge. The fact is that they are being utilised for call queue control and can only interact at a basic level. In most circumstances, the human agent is then re-engaged to deal with the consumer displeasure caused by the bot. This, in turn, results in lengthier call-handling times, a bad customer experience, and disgruntled agents.


Customers have a preference for human connections, and there is always a pleasant emotion when users realise humans rather than machines are helping them.


Importance of Empathy in Customer Experience


Of course, we all want people to be happy, but in customer service, knowing how crucial it is to your company’s success would most certainly inspire you to make it happen. So, what is the connection between pleasant feelings and an excellent customer experience?


Consumers are more patient and forgiving when they have a pleasant experience, which starts with making them feel good about their interactions. When a customer feels heard, appreciated, and respected, they are less likely to be dissatisfied with the length of their wait. They are less inclined to feel irritated when things do not go their way. Even if the reason for their first contact was highly unpleasant, they are considerably less likely to provide negative feedback or describe an overall lousy engagement.


The call centre is where emotional intelligence, or a lack thereof, is most noticeable. Your contact centre agents have a fantastic chance to create connections, lower churn, and boost lifetime value. They may answer client issues, bring new goods and services to light, and spread the word about your business. Since every action is complicated, there is an infinite number of ways to please the consumer throughout their journey.


Why AI Will Not Replace Humans in Call Centres


The drive to reduce cost and the growth of tech (AI) should not be at the expense of customer experience (CX).


Consider the emotional state of someone calling in. They have a problem; they want a solution – but they need empathy and understanding, not an algorithm.


We’re not buying technology firms’ exaggerated sales pitches about the demise of human interaction in call centres. It’s just reckless hyperbole. We don’t think R2D2 will be able to replace the human agent anytime soon.


According to studies, an average customer prefers to contact a real person rather than a chatbot. According to a recent Forrester poll, if given the option, 83 per cent of customers would prefer to talk with a person because human agents better understand their demands (78 per cent) and can answer numerous inquiries at once (57 per cent).


Consumers’ top three complaints about bots were that:

  1. They couldn’t handle complicated inquiries,
  2. Give tailored offers as effectively as people, or
  3. Comprehend human emotions.

However, dismissing the potential influence of automation in the contact centre, especially when AI is paired with robotic process automation (RPA), would be a mistake. We anticipate that contact centre agents will continue to be a critical touchpoint in the customer journey. You may leverage technology to complement human performance in the call centre to create more efficient, effective, and value-added experiences throughout time.


Collaboration between humans and chatbots in the contact centre? Excellent decision!


Businesses that understand how to establish efficient human-bot cooperation will benefit both their staff and their consumers.


“To display empathy involves two critical factors: a deep understanding of the client and their journey, and an ability to hear and comprehend where they are right now,” says Brendan Dykes, director of product marketing at Genesys. Information is aided by technology, which provides fundamental insights into where the client is in their journey and presents this in a timely and straightforward way throughout the interaction. It also gives the agent the ability to deliver insights into what the consumer is genuinely saying, recognizing context, emotion, and insight via a thorough grasp of both the conversation’s content and mood.”


Real-time technologies are available to analyse conversations for emotional tones, such as determining if the client began the call neutral but is now unhappy. If there is an issue, the agent is given real-time indications to assist them to think about and express empathy for the consumer. For example, you may inform the agent that she is talking over the client or be reminded that she must wait for the consumer to complete their phrase before speaking.


People supported by tech are the best answer, not people replaced by tech. Another great example is Livechat. Livechat is good because one person can handle multiple chats simultaneously as compared to one voice call at a time. Therefore, it’s cost-effective; still, there’s a real human providing an answer.


While measuring client emotions might be challenging, analytical tools can give important information. Your company may use social listening techniques to learn about client sentiments on social media platforms. Traditional surveys are the most straightforward approach to get tangible client input, and speech and text analytics are perfect for understanding emotions. Finally, your organisation may include widgets into websites that enable consumers to rate product descriptions, blog entries, and other material, allowing them to submit fast and easy feedback.


The Takeaway


Using AI and deep learning, Chatbots will get more intelligent and more communicative over time. They will begin to replace human agents in specific interactions and become significantly more helpful as a result.


They can replace assets such as FAQ sites and knowledge-based solutions, leading many users to messaging solutions, whether chat or speech-based. However, for the time being, chatbots are only queueing management solutions, greeting callers before passing the call to a human agent with more skill and emotional intelligence to do the job.