The Philippine Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) and Contact Center Industry has been in existence for over 10 years when I started. Articles over the internet will say the first Contact Center in the Philippines started in 1992 and the first Call Center in 1999.
I came into the Industry after 11 years of Direct Sales Experience in 2003 working my way up from the phones as Technical Service Representative and now working as the Head of the Contact Center for the Premier Philippine NonLife Healthcare Insurance Company.
Throughout the years, I have seen the changes in how calls were handled, how the focus changed from Quality First Call Resolution to Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) to the Net Promoter Score (NPS) and now some looking at Customer Effort. This means how we can leverage Technology to Service our Customers more Efficiently and Effectively right away.
It was painstaking using the different Tools for Call/ Queue Monitoring, Managing Manpower and how we should be computing for our Daily Service Levels, Weekly Team Performance Reports and Monthly Business Presentations.
Starting from using Excel by working on the data extracted from the different tools and piecing everything together into a dashboard using Power Point.
In those days, Friendster and MySpace still dominated the virtual landscape.
Yahoo was still the search engine of choice.
IBM still made Personal Computers (PC’s).
Our mobile phones were mainly used for calling. MP3s and the iPods were still fashionable.
17 years after, the Age of Artificial Intelligence cometh.
Previously it was considered taboo to use Facebook in Business. It was crazy for someone to even consider using it but nowadays, this is a necessity. Besides having a Facebook account, you should also have a Twitter and Instagram account. These, on top of youyour own Web Page/ Site.
These are additional touch points and they also offer us with Data Analytics computed by Machines.
Machines Learning what our customers could potentially need based on patterns in their behavior. Information being analyzed by Artificial Intelligence, predicting possible choices, probabilities in what will be a preferred product or service by an individual.
One only needs to look at what Netflix and Spotify have done for us in terms of our choices with what to watch and what to listen to.
Waze maps out the best route for us to go to work or get back home. Telling us even the best time for us to leave our point of origin.
In the Insurance Industry, on December 23,2016 at 5:49 PM an Insurance Claim was paid in 3 seconds.
This was done by A.I. Jim, Lemonade’s Claim Bot (source: lemonad. com/blog/lemonade-sets-newworld-record/). Yes, this was a World Record and this was claimed using a smartphone.
From our end, our In-house Application reimburses claims payments within 24 hours.
Customer Service/ Contact Center work is now also complemented by Chat Bots, programmed to readily answer Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) or even to do more dependent on how robust your Knowledge Database is or how deep you will go to program your robot.
Recently, I became intrigued by all these Data and how possibly we can ‘mine’ it and use it for the benefit of the organization or society in general. This led me to enroll in a Data Visualization Class – specifically Data Story telling in Business under DataSeer (now called StoryIQ) and that sparked my curiosity to explore Data more, enrolling in Udemy and taking up R Coding and Machine Learning which led to more Udemy courses like Shiny in R, Python, MySQL, Excel Dashboards, HTML, Chatbots, etc.
I am intrigued by using Technology to make our works easier, to service our clients better, to look for that service differentiator to keep us ahead of competition and it is very obvious, the Machines are Here and I want to understand how they work.
Nevertheless, as the great Taiichi Ohno said, “Technology does not win wars, people do.”
All these Artificial Intelligence and Technology still depend on a brilliant human mind. We need these tools to move but they will not move ahead without us.
What then is the significance of all these Artificial Intelligence and the Worker of the 21st Century?
There is a Treasury of Resources out there for anyone or any organization to be more efficient in servicing their Customers in whatever Industry they are. The Contact Center Industry has greatly benefited with the new Customer Relationship Management Systems, Workforce Forecasting Tools, Natural Language Processing (NLP) used in Monitoring Quality of Phone Calls.
With all these tools, the Worker must learn how to use them and how to make the most for their work
Pretty much like driving. I started driving using the “Stick” – manual shift and eventually more cars are driven on “Automatic”. I needed to unlearn and learn new things.
As we move further into the future and “Skynet” slowly begins to become Non-fiction, we need to equip ourselves.
We will soon face a time when Human Workers need to prove themselves better than their Robot counter parts.
It was said, “Give man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach man to fish and feed him for a lifetime.”
Now I say, “Give man a Robot and he will work for a day. Teach man to build a Robot and he will work for a lifetime.