In an interview with Harvard Business Review, economists Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson outlined their vision for the future of the labor market. They argued that the “Second Machine Age” is “going to produce greater prosperity than the engines of the First Machine Age did.” The advances in technology and machine learning are going to compliment our abilities and boost productivity. Although technology is making huge strides, there are still a lot of key areas that machines won’t work without humans. This means that no matter how advanced machines get in the next few years, they’ll only be able to perform low skilled human jobs until they learn the human side of business.
At the heart of their ideas about humans + machines working in tandem, McAfee and Brynjolfsson believe that humans are still far superior than machines in three areas: creativity, emotion, and mobility. Which I couldn’t agree with more. Until machines can come up with their own business ideas, pitch them in a way that really pulls at the heartstrings, and help customers face to face while truly empathizing with their needs, there will always be jobs for humans in business.
Yeah, thanks for the economics lesson, Kelly. But what does any of this have to do with Customer Engagement Centers?
As McAfee and Brynjolfsson believe, technology amplifies our most valuable human skills, not replaces them. To get the most out of the human mind and out of technology, humans and machines must work together. Using machines to boost the reach and power of their creative abilities, emotional understanding, and flexibility, companies can better serve their customers and ensure that they feel the love. Customer Engagement Centers are the perfect place for these ideas to become reality. Customers don’t want to feel like just another caller, so despite its usefulness, IVR still lacks the emotional qualities needed to make customers feel like they matter. That’s where the human element comes in, as agents can provide the “experience”, and half of customer experience is simply being courteous, understanding, and doing your utmost to use the information at your fingertips to provide an exceptional, share-worthy customer experience. Contact center platforms can now provide call history, account information, and demographical stats for any customer instantly, but without an agent to synthesize and use that information, this technology loses its value.
One line in the interview with McAfee and Brynjolfsson really stood out to me more than any other: “This is an opportunity for entrepreneurs to think of ways of using humans in new applications, combining them with technology. We call that racing with machines as opposed to racing against them.” Because that’s exactly what we’re doing here at Humach. Using the combined forces of our creative agents and powerful technology, we’re racing with machines to deliver the ultimate customer experience.
People with interpersonal and creative skills will always be needed to conceive ideas and assist people with their problems. As humans we crave connection and value fast, reliable service. That’s why customer engagement is the perfect environment to test the capabilities of humans + machines. If done correctly, they can be the example that sets the stage for the peak of the Second Machine Age. An age where customers and companies both come out on top.
Want to be a catalyst for this movement? Let’s get started.