Since the first call center was established in 1960s England, the history of customer service has been deeply intertwined with the evolution of communications and digital technology. Indeed, customer service organizations have a long history of being early movers in the adoption of cutting-edge tools and techniques. They were among the first to embrace the once state-of-the-art automatic call distributor (ACD) systems that enabled those early customer support centers, and more recently have been trailblazers in the use of the artificial intelligence technology that is transforming the industry today. 

Unfortunately, as our CEO Antony Brydon points out, implementation of these new technologies is rarely smooth — and it’s usually the customers who pay the price. In a recent episode of Amazing Business Radio, Antony sat down with host Shep Hyken to discuss the role of AI and other automation technologies in the rapidly evolving customer service industry. During the conversation, Antony touches on the history of customer service and, in particular, the industry’s bad habit of fumbling the CX ball when first adopting new technologies. 

“In the 2000s, the economic advantage of IVR [interactive voice response] was so compelling that it got adopted broadly, but the customers also fell in the lurch there,” Antony remarks. “We spent a decade repeating our 10-digit, 12-digit card numbers in endless amounts of frustration.” He goes on to suggest that 2020 presents a significant opportunity for customer service organizations. As AI and automation continue to play a bigger role in the customer experience, businesses can leverage platforms that harness human experts to train and support their AI systems, ensuring that they get the most out of the emergent technology without damaging the customer experience. 

“We’ve got the ability to make that shift now without putting the customers in the ditch for five or six years, without destroying our NPS scores and our CSAT scores, and without customers having to pay the price,” Antony says. “That’s our mission. We believe there’s a way to implement this technology without leaving the customer behind.”

Listen to Antony’s recent Amazing Business Radio interview below or visit Shep Hyken’s website here. You can also read our blog to keep up with the latest trends and insights on the intersection of AI, technology and customer experience.