Are Robots Actually Entering the Workforce?

Are robots poised to take over the workforce in the near future? While it seems like something out of a science fiction blockbuster, it’s actually closer to reality than you might think.

According to recent a news article, Japan Airlines has introduced a robot customer care agent. The multilingual humanoid, called “Nao”, is 60 cm tall and assists customers with flight schedules, weather information and more.

While the airline is just conducting trails as of right now, there has been positive feedback. “The response was faster than I thought and it could also easily pick up what I was saying,” Travelmole quoted a passenger, university student Soma Yuki, 22.

While a robot customer care agent helps companies cut down labor costs and prevents some degree of human error, it will likely not replace the human workers. After all, several research reports have stated that people prefer to speak with a live person rather than an automated machine, such as a robot.

In fact, a recent study conducted by NICE Systems found that the telephone is the preferred method for 88 percent of people seeking to resolve customer service problems, which implies that real-life interactions are still paramount to customer satisfaction.

Sure people enjoy the convenience of self-service channels, such as social media, live chat, and IVR, but they still don’t offer the level of service that a live agent provides. For example, would a robot be able to sympathize with a frustrated customer who’s dealing with a complex issue? The chances are very slim.

Whether you need to cut agents due to budget constraints or you’re simply thinking “high-tech,” you may want to reconsider replacing your live customer care agents with robots, as customers still prefer speaking with a live person when resolving issues.

Steve Brubaker began his career at InfoCision in 1985. In his current role as Chief of Staff and as a member of the Executive Team, he is responsible for HR, internal and external communications, and manages the company’s legal and compliance departments. Brubaker is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the DMA, SOCAP, and PACE. He also donates his time to serve on several university boards, including the Executive Advisory Board for The Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at The University of Akron and The University of Akron Foundation Board. He is a frequent speaker for national events and has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry.