Amelia has a resume that’d make her a great hire at a lot of companies, which is why quite a few companies have brought her on board to improve their service performance. Amelia’s incredibly intelligent and self-learning. The only thing is: Amelia isn’t human. Amelia’s a service robot worker.
In London, a city government has recently employed Amelia to assist with customer service. Sure, many in the general public are used to the idea of robotic assistants thanks to Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa. We’re used to asking questions and having basic conversations with this form of AI (artificial intelligence). But Amelia is for business use, not personal use. Still, interacting with this service robot shouldn’t be too strange for the people who have to contact this city government in our connected society.
However, other governments have taken different approaches to reacting to the presence of robots in the workforce. For example, earlier this summer, Switzerland voted on having guaranteed basic income for all Swiss citizens given that automation and robots are increasingly becoming a part of the workforce and doing jobs once only done by humans. The proposition lost by a large margin of voters who felt uneasy about how it would be implemented and how it would affect the economy.
Despite these kinds of hesitations, here’s why service robots are great for businesses.
Using a Service Robot with Customers
The UK isn’t the first place to use service robots. In Japan, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group bank has been using Nao, a 5.4kg robot, to help customers. Nao is multilingual and has a camera that allows it to read customers’ facial expressions and tone of voice. This way it can understand the person’s emotions and adjust its greeting accordingly, asking them what type of services they are looking to receive at the bank.
Though Amelia isn’t a physical robot, the AI service bot was developed by IpSoft, a tech firm, and it can do a large variety of tasks. Amelia is able to help customers navigate the city council’s website and help them apply for permits among other things. On top of this, Amelia doesn’t have to work regular business hours; the AI service robot is available 24/7 and can have thousands of conversations at one time.
Amelia is a type of AI that can do machine learning and talk to customers in a way that’s similar to how humans naturally communicate. It can also monitor customers emotions.
Because of this Amelia has worked in different types of roles; from IT service agent to bank mortgage broker.
And luckily, having Amelia as part of the service team doesn’t mean the robot works alone. If Amelia can’t answer a question, it calls a human colleague who can help. Amelia learns from this interaction so that when a similar question is asked, it can provide service without needing that human help.
Using Service Robots Internally
Service robots don’t only help customers, they also help make other service representatives’ jobs easier. They make processes more streamlined and lighten human service workers loads, giving them more time to do tasks that add value to the customer. In this way, service reps can do things faster.
Especially for small customer service teams, service robots allow businesses to do more with their limited resources. Artificial intelligence can automate many basic tasks that would otherwise keep human service representatives busy with little time for addressing more complicated problems. For example, Telefonica uses automated software robots to process orders and run credit checks. Blue Prism, the tech company, that developed Telefonica’s robots, said that the 160 robots do the work of 100 full-time employees.
Artificial intelligence and service robot workers are a way to free human workers from simple and repetitive duties to do more complex tasks and services that add value to customers.
What will be the relationship between AI and human service delivery? Let us know what you think!