Why Customer-Centric Services Outsourcing Won’t Be Replaced by AI Completely

Published by Fair Trade Outsourcing on

The outsourcing industry is not invulnerable to automation. Some processes like rerouting calls and leaving voice messages may be automated, but the bulk of customer-centric services will continue to be handled by the human call center agents, not machines. It’s highly implausible for robots and A.I. to completely replace humans in a variety of jobs. Here are several reasons why.

1. Customers still expect some human interaction in customer service.

Customers appreciate the quick responses they get from intelligent bots, but they expect humans to follow-up on their questions and complaints. A BBC Capital article pointed out that following up is an essential part of customer service.

There are queries that can’t be easily resolved with an automated message. While machine learning makes intelligent conversations with chatbots possible, it does not teach them how to process metaphor and sarcasm or even respond to customers with a semblance of empathy.

2. Intelligent bots will always be used as a tool; they will never be considered as employees or part of the team.

Most humans prefer to use technology as a tool to make their jobs easier. It does not matter how lifelike a bot may seem or how efficient it is at work. Most people have a deep-seated fear of being overrun by machines.

The automation of some agricultural and manufacturing jobs was an inevitable phase in the technological evolution of society. But humans are still a necessary part of the process; they had to oversee the work and make sure the machines are functioning well.

3. The wellspring of creativity isn’t as deep with artificially intelligent bots as with humans.

Undoubtedly, bots are way, way faster at analyzing big data and identifying patterns. With the use of deep learning algorithms, bots can effectively reconstruct works of art and even create derivative works from them. But, that’s as far as artificial intelligence can go.

Bots don’t work from a blank slate. They need human input in order to produce what seems to be highly creative work. Symmetry may be a key component in art, but there is beauty in chaos. Case in point: Only humans can appreciate this artful arrangement of roses and orchids, among other plants. Temperate blooms don’t usually go together with tropical flowers.

floral arrangement of roses and orchids

4. Bots don’t know the kind of language and behavior that are considered acceptable among humans.

Bots that seem socially aware respond to the context in the customer’s queries. They may be able to analyze correctly what the person may be feeling or experiencing based on the tone of voice and the words being used. But, that’s as far as they can go in a social situation.

In a social setting, there are times when a response is not needed or even ideal. Bots, however, will continue to respond despite the need for silence because that’s how they were programmed to do.

Moreover, many people don’t like being deceived. That’s why robots that seem too lifelike for comfort or chatbots that do not let people know they are bots are perceived as dangerous. At the very least, it can cause problems with customers who think they’re talking to a human representative. At its worst, a bot can be used for malicious purposes by fraudsters.

5. Bots or A.I. software can never replace workers who provide emotional labor.

Jobs in education, healthcare, psychotherapy, and counseling can never be replaced by machines. These jobs require human interaction with clients or patients.

Doctors may use a robotic arm to perform surgery and teachers may use remote screens to teach students thousands of miles away, but the teachers and doctors remain human. Patients and students do not respond well to robotic substitutes no matter how efficient they may be.

Only humans have the ability to recognize and respond appropriately to the different emotional states of people. This is especially true in outsourcing companies where agents can’t see their callers, and so, they can only respond to the distress they hear from their callers’ voices.

Humans as Custodians of Future Tech

While some jobs may become automated, they still need the guidance of a human worker. Someone has to take care of the machines, manage the upkeep of software, fix bugs, and install upgrades.

And, humans have to teach bots how to behave properly in social settings. Aside from the legal declarations of privacy and terms of use, bots have to announce themselves as non-humans to avoid misunderstandings and probable lawsuits in the future.

In the end, bots will not truly take away the jobs from humans, especially in outsourcing. The future will create new kinds of work that will need the human touch.