The greatest fear and reservations the general public tends to have regarding the influx of Artificial intelligence is the sheer number of jobs it’s taking from hardworking men and women all over the world. Unfortunately, their fear is justified.
Why AI is bad for customer service jobs:
It is taking all the jobs.
It’s that simple.
… and there is seemingly nothing we can do to stop it. AI’s influence is already daunting, but it is now finally coming to a point where actual, real human livelihoods are lost as an expense.
In this article, I’ll go over how Artificial Intelligence’s quick spread is taking over the job market, and especially work that was previously considered human-only, like customer service.
The Rise of the Machines: AI’s Devastating Impact on Customer Service
A recent McKinsey study predicts that between 400-800 million workers will lose their job due to AI by 2030 – to put that in perspective, this means that if we’re looking at the worst-case scenario, over 35% of the world’s workforce will be lost to robots in just a few years.
In this article, I will be covering the customer service sector of this workforce, as it is possibly the first one to have started the process of a full conversion. Call centers, chats, and tickets are being replaced all over the world by soulless machines that cannot feasibly share in human empathy when it comes to solving real issues that real people are experiencing.
If you work or plan to work in customer service, you need to be aware of the influx that Artificial Intelligence has on the market. Although there are some humans still manning a part of the sector, many businesses are looking at complete conversions – and there is absolutely no guarantee that you’re safe.
Remember: AI is slowly taking over not just the workplace, but the world.
Artificial Intelligence Takeover of Customer Service
The world of artificial intelligence is starting to become increasingly terrifying. Especially so when we start analyzing its actual impact on real people and their lives. ChatGPTs wildly increasing reputation with people, and now also its integration into customer service-related jobs have created a massive way of “innovation” that has heavily targeted the customer service department of many industries.
Harvard economist Lawrence Kratz warns us and the world that the influx of AI is not only going to have a huge effect on the labor market but also exacerbate inequalities as a result. It is these inequalities that make us worry about the future of human kind, because if AI can have such a heavy impact this early I don’t dare imagine it’s potential in the future.
There is no hiding that the world, and especially the Western world, is ran by billionaires who hoard all the money. Did you know that the top 1% is richer than the entire rest of the world twice over? AI is just another way to replace real peoples salaries with robot slaves that first off, does not cost very much, but also doesn’t need additional structures such as an HR department – and wont go to unions to pitch a fit anytime they’re not comfortable enough.
Which, for the record, you should always do.
It makes sense that the wealthy do what they can to save costs and take bigger profits. Why hire tons of people that all cost on average $34,000 a year for their salary when you can just hire a third-party AI software to take all that cost from you for a fraction of that?
The Inverse Robin Hood Effect
So on one end of the spectrum, we can see that the rich are getting even richer. Replacing pricy but quality manpower with cheap and vastly inferior Artificial Intelligence.
On the other end of the spectrum, the poor are getting poorer as their livelihoods are destroyed in droves. It can be easy to forget that actual lives that are severely impacted by this, and it is disproportionally targeted toward the less fortunate.
Tech based customer service-related jobs are heavily manned by individuals who often do not come from the same privileges and luxuries that many others do. In fact, it is one of the few careers where people who lack college degrees or a vast amount of experience can still land a wage that they build and start a career on.
It is also one of the few jobs where people who struggle with mobility-related disabilities can stay at work and earn a living. Work is now just another thing taken away from an already heavily disadvantaged group of people.
Like an inverse Robin Hood, AI is leading to higher rates of unemployment, leading to higher rates of poverty – and as a result, taking money from the poor and giving it to the rich. The domino effect increases this to a much larger set of issues: increasing wage-gap, inequality, unemployment, and poverty.
What Have Been Lost to AI?
Layoffs due to AI is nothing new. In fact, it’s a phenomenon that has been going on for quite some time. Ever tried to get in touch with your tele provider, or maybe the bank – but had to go to great lengths to have a chance at talking to a real person because a little pop-up robot insists on getting chatty?
These jobs, which used to be manned with overly friendly individuals ready to help you over the phone or chats, have all been slowly replaced by lifeless strings of code over the last decade. A job that used the basics of human empathy to navigate the technological world has now been taken over by technology, leaving many consumers frustrated and many people unemployed.
Now keep in mind that many companies didn’t completely rid themselves of their customer service department, just partly. Big bizz saving some money on true salaries to have a robot half-ass the same task is a natural progression of what AI is doing to the work market, but no sector has been hit harder than todays example: the gaming industry.
Activision-Blizzard, the very popular gaming company behind hits such as World of Warcraft, Overwatch, Diablo and Call of Duty, has been progressively laying off their customer service department starting back in 2012, and last back in 2019.
The world of online gaming was once a place of wonder and joy, where players from around the globe could connect and immerse themselves in fantastical realms of adventure and discovery. However, although the graphics and game design itself might have moved in a more advanced and fantastical direction, that of customer service and help for its members has significantly decreased.
Games such as World of Warcraft were one of the first places where AI customer service was pioneered. Back in the day, it was a program that was manned by real gamers who would often to go to extreme lengths to solve issues thoroughly and promptly. Sometimes, they would literally fly their characters into the world and observe the issue themselves. It was an award-winning and efficient system that players loved and relied upon.
Now, those glory days are over.
The company has sacked thousands of employees in an effort to cut costs, and the reins have been handed over to a soulless AI that doesn’t even come close to the efficiency of its human predecessors. Players are left stranded, waiting for days, even weeks, for a response that may never come.
And then finally, when they do get their automated response – the AI lacks the personal touch of a human, leaving players feeling frustrated and abandoned when their issues involve more serious topics: such as harassment or racism.
As if this wasn’t enough, Chinese-based “bots” have swarmed the game, taking over the virtual world, generating currency, and ruining the experience for the players. The bots are controlled by AI and their sole purpose is to generate in-game currency by performing tedious tasks that would otherwise be boring and lengthy.
They then sell this in-game currency to real players for real money.
World of Warcraft, a once-beloved game, has lost millions of players due to the incompetence of the AI, which has caused a sense of frustration and dismay among the remaining players. The future looks bleak, as the hostile AI continues to wreak havoc on the game, while the customer service AI struggles to solve the problems created by it.
Why Artificial Intelligence Is Terrible at Customer Service
One of the biggest issues facing AI in the customer service market is its inability to comprehend basic social-emotional intelligence. A skillset humans start developing in infancy is completely at a lack when it comes to dead strings of code.
AI can only imitate life, not become it. No matter what you feed into artificial intelligence, and no matter how hard you make it try to sound like an empathic being, it will never become it.
There is a reason we find it so incredibly frustrating having to deal with the automation of customer service when we try to have an issue fixed by one of those customer service robots.
First off: they’re terrible at their job. Like, if any human had done the work they do, they would be fired. Yes, simple solutions they can often figure out and maybe save some time – but a lot of the time I find that by the time I have to reach out to customer service, it’s no longer google-able.
No Customer Service Jobs Left Behind: The Grim Reality of AI’s Takeover
The reality is that AI is that guy at the office that just absolutely sucks at his job. This makes sense: AI isn’t a person, it doesn’t have the emotional intelligence required to do work in an industry literally based on empathy.
In addition to just straight up being obnoxious to the consumer, artificial intelligence is also stripping away the livelihoods of real people who are reliant on these jobs to be able to provide for themselves and their families.
Artificial Intelligence in the customer service department does nothing but decrease consumer satisfaction and take money away from those who need it, for the sole purpose of saving billion-dollar companies more money.
Money is saved so that the executives of said companies can get even nicer planes to take them to Cabo or Ibiza or Aspen or wherever it is that rich people go.
AI is a plague taking over all industries, and customer service is just one of them. Stay in the know, and always be aware of the truth. And as always, I promise you that