Contact Center Pipeline Magazine, December 2023 December 2023 | Page 51

To me , the when , how , or why aren ’ t as interesting as the “ so what .”
Machines take over our jobs , so what do we do ?
We could take a Luddite approach and try to strike up a revolution to overthrow technology . But if we ’ ve learned anything from The Matrix it ’ s that we cannot win against the machines ( I ’ ve only seen the first three … does anything important happen in the fourth ?). The advancement of technology will not stop .
But simply because technology will not stop advancing , and that machines are coming for our jobs , doesn ’ t mean we are powerless . Contact centers can , and should , start taking steps now to prepare for that future .
I believe as machines continue to get smarter , our hard skills will become less and less important .
• We already see this to some extent with forecasting in WFM becoming more automated and smarter .
• We see this in quality management as 100 % of calls are scored and coaching insights are automatically generated .
• We see this in chatbots already being able to provide answers to customers with no human interaction .
The value of our ability to find a coaching insight , normalize the volume , or provide answers to customers is already starting to be diminished and will continue to be as the machines get smarter .
This is why our soft skills will be what sets us apart in the future . Soft skills that focus on our humanity like curiosity , asking great questions , and treating others with empathy and kindness .
We ’ ve seen some amazing advancements in AI ’ s and ML ’ s ability to store , consume , and process large amounts of data . The advances in quantum computing make the future look even faster , larger , and easier to find great answers .
However , to find an answer you must have a question to start with , and it ’ s there that I think we need to focus .
Too many of us have made a career out of being the problem-solvers and the go-to persons for answers .
• If someone needs to know how to set up a multi-skill routing set , we ’ re their person .
• If someone needs to understand why service levels are dropping but Marketing didn ’ t change anything , they come to us .
In the future , however , problem-solving and answer-giving will be from machines . And this isn ’ t new , we ’ ve all gotten used to being able to Google any of our questions and get an answer within seconds .
The change that hasn ' t happened yet , that we still need to get our heads around , is that we need to get comfortable with our new primary value-add : not giving answers but asking questions .
Studies keep coming out that show being willing to ask “ dumb ” questions can be critical for your career advancement . We need to lean into asking more “ why ” questions versus “ how ” questions .
We need to focus on understanding our environment better and helping others consider different perspectives when looking at problems . While the machines might be great about giving us answers , we will still be the ones asking the questions , and we must make sure they are good questions .
Knowing what button to push , what system to implement , or how to improve a process has gotten many of us very far in our careers . We add skills like project management or process improvement to our careers , believing they will get us to the next point in our careers .
And it works ! We get that next role , and we leverage our newfound knowledge of Python or R , and we keep moving along .


For most roles , especially those in contact centers , the knowledge bar to perform our jobs will continue to be lowered .
Which is great for our labor shortages and attrition challenges in contact centers . However , those treating professional skills like Pokémon (“ got to catch ‘ em all ”) will find that their ability to acquire skills and climb the corporate ladder is diminishing , and fast .
I ’ m not arguing against gaining knowledge and skills , but I do believe that empathy will be more important in the future than knowledge .
It ' s through empathy that we are able to connect with others , appreciate difference in perspectives , and take action to help those in need . This skill will continue to be critical as we become more ignorant of how our world works ( who actually understands how the internet or blockchain works ?).
I come from a WFM environment where people know how to push macro buttons but don ’ t know how to build them . Or know how to leverage the WFM tool but have never heard of Erlang . And you know what ? That knowledge really doesn ’ t matter !
I don ’ t know where the following quote came from , but many of us still believe that “ nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care .”
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