This week The Guardian reported on the Government’s review into industrial digitalisation. The report cited technologies such as robotics, AI, 3D printing, augmented reality and virtual reality as key to unlocking a potential £455 billion productivity boost over the next decade.

It’s an encouraging report, however it also relies on the creation of a next generation national industrial infrastructure, with specific recommendations including a national digital ecosystem, a series of digital innovation hubs and a ‘Made Smarter’ UK Commission to support the upskilling of up to a million industrial workers.

While this approach may be right for the manufacturing sector, it’s fair to say the customer service sector generally has to do things by itself. And, while we’re already seeing significant productivity gains resulting from automation, we can’t always be certain that the resulting reduction in customer effort is leading to true productivity benefits.

For example, we know that channels such as voice-self service and virtual assistants are proven to handle and deflect lower value interactions. However, we are also seeing that for every successful 5% reduction in customer effort, there’s a corresponding increase in interaction volumes. This is due to pent-up  demand for customer contact that’s now being serviced by increased digitisation.

So will the customer service sector start to secure genuine productivity improvements, or are we simply releasing human capacity to address pent-up demand? We believe this is the case and we’re looking to research this further. Perhaps there is a Moore’s law of increasing demand that we can apply to measure this phenomenon? If you have observed this in your organisation, please share this with us!

In this week’s SabioSense we discuss the balance between assisted and automated service, focus on conversational platforms, identify an expanded role for customer service teams and preview the demise of the smartphone.

  • Striking the right balance between assisted and automated service – With around a third of organisations actively planning to transition customers from live assistance to automated service, this CMSWire article suggests that it’s essential that the customer service function still invests in empathetic and knowledgeable agents.
  • Conversational Platforms make the Gartner Top 10 – Gartner sees conversational platforms driving a paradigm shift in 2018, with the primary differentiator between platforms proving to be the robustness of their conversational models and the API and event models that are used to access, invoke and orchestrate third party services.
  • Time to get your customer service team more involved – This Entrepreneur piece suggests that it makes increasing sense to get your Customer Service team into all your key strategy meetings – largely because they’re the people that really know what your customers actually want.
  • Smartphones to become extinct by 2025? – The Inc. story suggests that voicebots will become so prevalent by 2025 that we simply won’t need smartphones anymore. The article goes on to explain that earbuds will become our phones, bigger screens will provide entertainment, tablets/laptops will help us to remain productive – and for everything else it will be voicebots all the way.