Talk to any customer care or CRM industry vendor today and you’ll probably hear how they are enhancing their offerings with bots. If you’re like many people, your first reaction may be negative. But communicating with a machine may not be as bad as you think.

Bots are a trend in customer care due to many factors. These include their increasing capabilities and sheer novelty, but mainly it comes down to cost optimization. Companies will always look for ways to improve their profit margins, but this doesn’t necessarily mean replacing real people with bots.

Advancements in artificial intelligence enable bots to mimic humans. Yet we also know that complex interactions normally still require human agents. Let’s be real, nothing else matches the satisfaction level of a real human interaction — at least to date.

So how will these trends affect customer care agents? With bots capable of handling simpler tasks, agents can move to a role of expert/advisor. When customers get connected with a live agent after automated self-service, they are looking to talk to an expert. This trend is very visible where companies are hiring agents with more technical skills. And people like this aren’t always confined to the contact center. As a result, we see projected growth in at-home agents. Trends like these help us believe bots won’t replace human agents anytime soon, if ever.

Considering the above it makes one wonder whether we will soon see crowdsourcing of customer-care agents/experts. It’s starting to happen in verticals such as healthcare and financial services. You can crowdsource expertise based on a variety of factors, including need, time, and location.

For example, during tax season a tax consulting firm can onboard and offer crowdsourced tax experts for a set duration. The use cases can be many and varied across verticals. You just need imagination. For example, crowdsourcing can offer experts for college counseling, financial advice, basic medical care, and specialized technical support.

This also opens new areas of innovation. What might tomorrow’s expert routing, workforce management, regulation compliance, and expert training look like? How might crowdsourced agents be trained and informed?

Existing contact-center capabilities like precision routing and support for remote/home agents are steps toward formal crowdsourcing of agents. The agent experience is also a key element in this strategy. The Cisco Finesse agent desktop is designed to provide a great experience for customer support agents with a flexible and open interface.

Learn more about how Cisco Finesse can help you create a differentiated experience for your agents.



Ruchi Gupta

Senior Product Manager

Cisco Customer Collaboration