Your technology doesn’t care about you. While this might sound harsh, it needs to be said. Don’t let the cute emojis and claims of personalization fool you.
There’s no doubt technology has come a long way in its ability to help automate tasks and assist with key functions. But in terms of picking up on humans’ unique needs, which change every minute, every hour, every day, we’re not quite there yet. Context matters, so when we are tired, stressed, rushed or happy, we don’t interact with people or technology in the same manner. Today, technology doesn’t pick up on our moods, it takes the same input and provides the same response regardless of a person’s temperament. To our technology, we represent the ones and zeros of data points. With no human to pick up on our mood, there is limited nuance explaining the context.
Traditional technology operates inside out – it requests input, captures our information, asks us for direction, and only steps in when commanded – forcing us to adapt to it and not the other way around. To take the next step in its evolution, technology needs a human layer. It needs to consider the emotions and feelings associated with a given situation, adapt its processing and provide feedback appropriately, both in substance and in form.
Without a better understanding of the human mind, technology cannot be as effective in augmenting our natural abilities. Without the human layer, there is an incredible amount of productivity and effectiveness left untapped.
Finding the Human Element in the Call Center
A perfect place to take advantage of technology and make it work for us is in the call center. Why? Consider the environment – two people having a conversation that is often emotional and complex. The emotional outcome of the call has an incredible impact on the customer’s decision to invest more in a brand or bash it. It also impacts the agent’s mental and physical state, which determines how invested they are in their job, how well they can continue engaging customers and how likely they are to not quit.
Customer expectations are high. They expect to interact with a person they can trust and who is empathetic, engaged and competent. As an interaction unfolds, the customer’s mood dynamically changes across a wide spectrum – frustration, confusion, anxiousness, gratefulness. The agent is under pressure to help the customer find the best resolution while meeting challenging KPI’s around call times, volumes, satisfaction, adherence, and compliance. They go through their own emotional journey, which they need to effectively manage in order to maintain their well-being and ability to interact in a caring professional manner.
Technology’s Next Phase
To be most effective, technology needs to help recognize the human complexities of the interaction and guide the user accordingly. Technology should reflect on the emotional state of each party and leverage this data to improve behavior and workflow. It’s time to take back control and use technology to more effectively recognize, interpret and respond to emotional cues so that we can be more productive.
While technology isn’t all that sensitive to our humanness yet, don’t lose hope. With live analysis of human behavior and contextual guidance, technology can sense and adapt to our ever-changing emotions helping greatly augment, not replace, our natural abilities.