Crowd sourcing your expert/agents — will this be the next trend?

Talk to any Contact Center / CRM / Customer Collaboration vendor today and they’ll tell you how they are building/enabling BoTs. Great, talking/texting with a machine may not be as bad as you’d think.

The popularity of BoTs are due to many factors — from advancement in AI/ML/NLP tech to novelty and efficiencies created by the new experience. Yet the core of why we are seeing so much enthusiasm on this is that it comes down to cost optimization. Most big (and small) corporations will always look for ways to improve the profit margin, including replacing real people with robots/chatbots.

With the advancements in AI/ML/NLP technologies one can enable BoTs that may mimic human. Yet we all know that for complex interaction, almost all the time, BoT interaction is handed over to human agents. Let’s be real, nothing matches the satisfaction level of a real human interaction — at least not to date.

This brings up a question how these trends will change the agent/expert side dynamic. With BoTs taking care of the simpler task, today’s agents are moving to a role of expert/advisor. When customers actually get connected with a live agent after the initial automated / self-service interaction they are looking to talk to an expert. This trend is very visible where companies are hiring agents with more technical skills. The other dynamics we see is the projected growth in leveraging at-home agents.

Considering the above it makes one think — will we in the near future see crowd sourcing of agents/experts. We already see these trends in certain verticals — such as healthcare, FSI etc. in some form. Experts can be crowd sourced based on need/time/location and variety of other factors.

This also opens new areas of innovation. How will tomorrow’s expert routing, workforce management, compliance, expert training etc. look like? When specifically thinking about training — if machines can be self-learning why can’t humans?

Thank you for reading and I would love to hear your thoughts/feedback on this topic.