According to last year’s Smart Speaker report conducted by YouGov, within just one year the use of smart speakers in our UK homes has doubled from 1 in 20 to 1 in 10 with Amazon’s Alexa, Siri, and Google Voice being the most popular brands of WIFI connected voice recognition technology to benefit our homes. Whilst many owners of the device originally bought them with the intention to play music, the report highlighted that over 50% also used smart speakers to answer questions. Setting alarms and reminders closely followed and a small but growing percentage used devices to order products online.
Gary Blower, a solution architect and senior technical consultant for software and development company Clearvision, explained in a recent article for businesscloud.co.uk – ‘AI TO WIPE OUT HUMAN CUSTOMER SERVICE IN FIVE YEARS’ Concerns around these devices and how voice recognition could really change the way we interact with businesses, especially in terms of customer services in the future.
Blower explained that only a few years ago this type of technology would have been completely under-estimated in its capabilities to completely change how we communicate, yet it has been embraced by so many homeowners at such a rapid rate, that it shouldn’t be overlooked.
These voice recognition devices are essentially a machine learning tool, based on algorithms and the AI device technology is now been explored as an opportunity in so many uses. One new approach is that it could potentially be used in customer service.
Many corporate companies are already using live chat technology to interact with customers online, rather than physically speaking on the phone. Using voice recognition to offer assistance seems like a natural step on from this.
Voice recognition could dehumanise customer service
Whilst voice recognition could create a cost saving for businesses, the concern is that it will dehumanise customer service. Replacing face to face customer service with machine learning AI, completely removes the human element to a customer service conversation as showing empathy and discussing a problem allows two people to find a solution.
Blower raised concerns as to how individuals would share banking and personal data. He added, “There needs to be good governance around it, and that should be built into any use of artificial intelligence and machine learning while providing a service.”
Whilst Blower believes that large companies could be forced to rely on such technology to field large numbers of customer enquiries, that SMEs could gain an advantage by offering a more traditional and personal customer service.
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