A study conducted in the Filipino BPO industry showed that generative AI does not take away call center jobs but instead makes agents far more productive.
“Our overall findings demonstrate that generative AI working alongside humans can have a significant positive impact on the productivity and retention of individual workers,” stated the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) in its report.
The findings will be a relief for call center professionals in several other countries. Among Caribbean nations, for example, there was concern about the potential impact of AI in the labor force.
Generative AI increases productivity, by 14 percent on average, as measured by issues resolved per hour, from @erikbryn @Danielle__Li, and @LindseyRRaymond https://t.co/UhcuD5Fpbk pic.twitter.com/gNLFoltoNF
— NBER (@nberpubs) April 27, 2023
As part of the study, NBER equipped around 1,500 customer support agents with AI tools such as GPT and machine learning solutions.
Some of these solutions were trained on agent conversations and provided links to the company’s internal documents. This easy access to reliable data enabled agents to resolve customer issues more quickly.
Even agents with less experience increased their productivity. NBER’s report concludes that it is all about the type of generative AI used.
The AI tools used by the researchers were designed to “augment, rather than replace, human agents.”
According to the study, AI tools could be a game changer for the contact center industry grappling with a skill shortage. The researchers discovered that AI assistance had a more significant influence on the performance of less experienced individuals than it did on the performance of more competent and experienced people.
This was due to AI assisting lower-skilled workers in communicating more like higher-skilled professionals.