In the last couple of years, we’ve witnessed the acceleration of AI-powered solutions in contact centres. Most of the leaders see this as an opportunity to support contact agents in solving complex issues.

Last week, we met with Aimie Chapple, Chief Executive Officer at Capita Experience, to comment on the relationship between humans and technology. She joined Capita in October 2019 to lead the Customer Management division and is a member of the Executive Committee.

As an experienced leader, Aimie gave insightful answers to some burning questions around artificial intelligence, conversational AI, and the importance of human skills in the modern world of business.

Aimie, as someone with long experience in the CX industry, you had the opportunity to witness digital transformation and development over time. One of the topics you are an expert at is the relationship between humans and technology. What role do human skills have to play in this context?  

an image of Amie Chapple

It’s clear to me that we need to be more human as customer needs become more complex. I think something we all recognise is that human skills matter more than ever. While AI can now recognise less emotional needs of customers, call centre agents manage the most emotionally complex situations: the death of a loved one or not having money to pay the mortgage. 

In the past two years, much has been written about the importance of empathy in the customer service industry. The need for human interaction and emotional intelligence at difficult moments is only increasing. How can AI technology help support agents embrace empathy and deal better with emotionally charged conversations? 

The Covid-19 pandemic brought to light the importance of treating customers with empathy, and those who got it right are now reaping the benefits. An empathetic interaction is only possible when we truly understand how the customer feels. Empathy is powerful on both sides of the interaction. In other words, it is equally important how the customer and the agent feel when they are receiving and delivering the service.   

The art now lies in leveraging technology advancements to improve the human experience for clients, employees and society in general. AI-assisted customer conversations, for example, enable us to safeguard customers by identifying vulnerabilities, stress and anxiety of people. The same tech is also focused inwardly to protect the wellbeing and safety of frontline teams. 

One of the common discussions around AI technology is that instead of enhancing human capabilities, it might completely replace them. How do you look at this challenge in the context of customer service support? Will talking to a human when reaching out for help become a privilege? 

an image showing the technology for humans perspective.

Many commentators were pondering whether the growth of AI will see the end of the traditional call centre. Over time, it became clear that AI is only one part of delivering service rather than replacing it. 

Conversational AI is the first line of defence. It is a rapidly deployed solution that allows you to scale fast. It ensures that you can reprioritize and focus customer support for the most vulnerable so that urgent needs are addressed first, with non-critical contacts deflected to digital and self-serve. It also provides insight into the most common topics, allowing you to respond accurately and quickly based on customer needs and publish better-informed content externally.  

 As we develop more sophisticated systems, it will be possible to deploy more of the one-to-many approaches. For instance, one employee skilled and equipped to deal with multiple enquiries, and supported by the right AI, will be able to provide the right insights. 

What is Capita’s vision of bringing technology and humanity together so people can prosper, connect, and thrive?  

Our purpose is to create better outcomes by making every interaction we have with our customers, employees, and partners a positive experience. This is only made possible by the amazing advances in technology we are witnessing. 

The uniquely human skills of empathy, integrity, and imagination are crucial for developing a sustainable society. These are the skills that machines cannot take over. Therefore, adding human value to the business is our primary goal.

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