As Expected, Robots Are Taking Over Call Center Jobs

Image courtesy of Tara Chavez

Instead of talking to customer service representatives who adhere to scripts in a robotic manner, soon we might be talking and chatting with customer service employees that are actual robots. While industry experts say that technology isn’t quite there yet, the companies that run outsourced call centers, including offshore ones are already worried about having their jobs outsourced altogether to machines.

Sure, robots assemble our cars and move Amazon fulfillment center shelves around . Some robots have even taken jobs in hotels. Yet it’s jobs that require thinking and speaking that robots will go after next.

One telemarketer that attracted some attention a few years ago has a curious hybrid of a robot and a human phone operator, with pre-recorded, pre-scripted responses chosen by a human operator. Advances in artificial intelligence will mean that call center representatives and chat representatives can be replaced with cheap and reliable workers who don’t need sleep or meal breaks.

The Wall Street Journal reports that companies in outsourcing capitals like Bengaluru and Manila are planning ahead, taking on more sophisticated work that bots can’t do (yet). One outsourcing firm in Manila is already looking ahead, and has gradually been decreasing how much phone work it does. Instead, the company works on more advanced projects for clients like United States law firms.

Robots on Track to Bump Humans From Call-Center Jobs [Wall Street Journal]