back to article Goodbye, humans: Call centers 'could save $80b' switching to AI

By 2026 the call center industry could save up to $80 billion by replacing humans with AI chatbots, according to analysts at Gartner. Customer service companies are increasingly investing in conversational AI to chase those savings, safe in the knowledge that advances in natural language processing and text-to-speech models …

  1. Mike 137 Silver badge

    Knowledge?

    "in the knowledge that advances in natural language processing and text-to-speech models make it harder for people to detect whether they're interacting with a bot or not"

    More validly on the assumption that folks won'tt detect it. But just try asking the bot a question it hasn't encountered before - although I must admit this frequently flummoxes human call centre operatives as well, but at least one can sometimes argue with them to get it escalated.

    On the other hand, 'customer service' is typically viewed as a PR loss leader, so nobody really cares whether the caller gets a resolution to their problem.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Holmes

      Re: Knowledge?

      "this frequently flummoxes human call centre operatives as well"

      Aye, there's the rub.

      Call centers are only useful for simple questions and, if I used them, I'd prefer a computer to an outsourced 3rd world person.

      For complex questions both are useless. You'll do better asking Google.

      1. Enric Martinez

        Re: Knowledge?

        I have interacted with a few AI chatbots, and they were quite well implemented. I can't recall what it was, but I think it was KPN or the NS (Dutch ISP or the Dutch railroads).

        To start with, it was made clear that it was a chatbot, and you were told to state the question in simple terms.

        After a few answers that did not resolve my problem, I was asked to wait and transferred to a human second liner, thus a CS agent with more knowledge and possibilities than a first liner and who was able to resolve my issue.

        So, that I am not so sure that using AI, even very simplistic chatbots, will be a bad thing if what it will do is replacing a first line agent who's usual task is to filter out questions and reassign to the appropriate second line or do some simple tasks like resetting a password.

        An AI chatbot would actually not be replacing a human agent, but just functioning as an obligatory and fancy interface to the FAQ or knowledge bases that almost everybody has, but users just refuse to use. And its real value would be to avoid that the second and third line support gets overwhelmed by useless queries and can spend more time answering and resolving complex questions.

        I have, BTW, quite a few years of experience in the sector.

        In a nutshell: Whether an AI chatbot is a good or a bad thing depends, as usual, on the company itself and how they use it.

  2. LDS Silver badge

    Most call center drones are not more useful than chat bots

    They are just using scripts to answer you. Getting to talk to someone knowledgeable it almost impossible. So CCI (Call Centre Intelligence) bots are perfectly fine, they would be mostly indistinguishable - probably you can identify them when they don't get angry when you try to explain your router is perfectly fine and there's no reason to reset it to factory settings...

    1. Potemkine! Silver badge

      Re: Most call center drones are not more useful than chat bots

      I'm lucky with my ISP ('Free' is its name). When I call the support line, I start by saying I work in IT, so the support doesn't start with the usual check list. That's possible because the call centre is populated by competent technicians, not by underpaid staff in some third world country .

      == Bring us Dabbsy back! ==

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Most call center drones are not more useful than chat bots

        You're very lucky. On the few occasions I've had to call Free customer service I've ended up talking to someone with an almost incomprehensible N.African accent, who simply reads from a script, just like the India-offshored UK call centres do.

      2. Curtis

        Re: Most call center drones are not more useful than chat bots

        I'm a "drone" in an ISP call center, although I am not front line any more. If a caller demonstrates through their conversation that they're somewhat knowledgeable, I am glad to short circuit the checklist.

        1. Def Silver badge

          Re: Most call center drones are not more useful than chat bots

          Clearly you were promoted out of front line support because you were being too helpful.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_principle

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

      3. chivo243 Silver badge

        Re: Most call center drones are not more useful than chat bots

        == Bring us Dabbsy back! ==

        I upvote your comment, wish I had many to give your tag line!

        Mr. Dabs can be found here:

        https://autosaveisforwimps.substack.com/

        I too hope he comes back. I bet the clicks are way down, I recently saw one of his columns had over 150 comments, how do comments translate to clicks??

        Sorry to hijack the forum!! Situation Publishing are you listening? https://situationpublishing.com/ Perhaps we readers and followers need to ask??

  3. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    Circles of Rubbish

    Basically these AI systems are designed to have customer give up. If there is a problem, customer must feel that it is not worth their time dealing with it and they should just buy the product again.

    That being said, usually if you type something like "this is rubbish" in the AI chat (they keywords may vary), then they'll connect you to a human operator.

    1. Jedit Silver badge
      Terminator

      "if you type something like "this is rubbish" in the AI chat"

      If you get one of the bots that asks for a few key words to sum up your enquiry, you can generally get straight past it with "I want to speak to a human".

    2. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

      Re: Circles of Rubbish

      This is what human tech support is told to do too. It's ever escalating steps of difficulty to get rid of you. Factory reset (1 day cost), factory reset and don't restore from backup (2 to 3 day cost), send in for repairs via FedEx Ground (15 to 40 day cost). They never admit to any known issues.

      It's best that humans aren't forced to be so awful.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Might have one advantage

    Last week I was on holiday abroad when my car displayed a fault message. I used the built-in "call support" button, and was soon talking to someone in the UK. When she heard that I was out of the country she transferred me to the European breakdown service.

    That left me at the "press 1 if you want advice, 2 if you're stranded in the fast lane of the autoroute, etc" menu.

    Luckily I wasn't in a dangerous location, because the car's built-in calling system had no way to bring up a keypad, nor did saying "one" work...

    At least a bot that could hold a basic conversation might have got me to a real person.

    1. Killfalcon

      Re: Might have one advantage

      The keypad thing is tone based: try yelling "boop" in different pitches until it takes.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Might have one advantage

        It's tone-based on so far as it requires a pair of tones, one from each of 2 groups of 4. Good luck singing those simultaneously...

        1. David 132 Silver badge
          Boffin

          Re: Might have one advantage

          At the risk of overcomplicating OP’s scenario, I would have used a DTMF tone generator app (or even youtube video).

  5. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    Goodbye Gartner

    Ridiculous predictions could be made by AI and be believed by the AI replacements for PHBs.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Goodbye Gartner

      You might get better predictions if Gartner - other Analysts are available - replaced their ignorant analysts with some AI.

  6. Sampler

    But they already do...

    there is also value in partial containment, such as automating the identification of a customer's name, policy number and reason for calling. Capturing this information using AI could reduce up to a third of the interaction time that would typically be supported by a human agent,"

    Most banks I use already have automated systems (without having to throw around a trendy term like AI - maybe once that's flogged to death they could use the "AI" to store the details in a "blockchain") to collect these details, which are then rendered utterly pointless by the agent asking me the exact same details again, so even if they could collect them by AI, I'd rather they spend the time in getting one system to pipe information to the next....

    1. elregidente

      Re: But they already do...

      I remember exactly this from the Co-Operative Bank, many many years ago.

      I found if you hit star, or asterix, something like that, you'd short-circuit the questions and go straight to a person, so I always did that.

      1. Gary Stewart

        Re: But they already do...

        If they are using a voice system I have found that when it asks for a menu entry reply saying representative usually gets you to a real person.

    2. JacobZ

      Re: But they already do...

      Several of the companies I deal with as a consumer identify all of this almost instantly from my caller id. You don't need an AI or even a chatbot for that. AmEx is an example of actually doing this right.

      1. Sampler

        Re: But they already do...

        So if I borrowed your phone I'd have access to your Amex account? That doesn't feel right.

    3. TurtleBeach

      Re: But they already do...

      All well and good, except when the back-end systems are so pathetic that such identifying information isn't linked. Comcast voice bot asks for Zip code at the start of a call, then replies that no company with that zip code could be found. My company had service for 7 years, at a location in a zip code that has existed since the start of zip codes, and initially Comcast was the ONLY provider, yet Comcast couldn't find my company.

      With service drop-outs and increasing prices, I switched to Verizon Fios. Fios is great; Verizon systems are arguably even worse that Comcast. 6 and counting calls to get service fees correct. Go to account to view bill - not visible - click the link, page refreshes. A representative (through chat) had to e-mail it). Receive a separate e-mail to register to receive promotional gift card. Go to web site to register. Click register link. Page refreshes to initial page. And round and round. To their credit, eventually Verizon staff are usually helpful (voice or real person in chat), but otherwise Verizon systems are a disaster. Hard to see how the company manages to get anything done (other than its billing is so Byzantine that annual profits are probably greatly enhanced by incorrect charges).

      The BoD of every company implementing customer-facing technology should require CEO and CFO to use the systems under the watchful eye of an independent auditor before foisting the systems onto the customer base.

  7. steviebuk Silver badge

    No no no no no

    just NO! If you are in the UK, most people moan when we get pushed to a foreign call centre. Rightly or wrongly this is just the mentality of us. We want an English, Scottish, Welsh or Irish call handler just because we then feel they can relate. Having said that when I had issues with PayPal many years ago I got better service from the Malaysian call handler than the rude Irish guy that answered earlier in the day.

    But anyway the point is EVERYONE hates the automated call handlers. So much so I always swear at it telling it to put me through to a human. Knowing the more I rant with garbage, the more it won't understand the quicker it is to put me through to a call handler.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No no no no no

      As an American an Indian is generally easier to understand than a Scot.

      But either of them are easier to deal with than the stupid bot.

      1. NeilPost Silver badge

        Re: No no no no no

        You are talking pish there.

    2. stiine Silver badge
      Megaphone

      Re: No no no no no

      No, what you want is somone who speaks your language, in your dialect, with your accent.

      1. Falmari Silver badge

        Re: No no no no no

        @stiine "No, what you want is somone who speaks your language, in your dialect, with your accent."

        That's not what I want. All I expect is someone who can speak and understand my language (english) with out any dialect. As for accent if it is a problem (mine or theirs's) all it requires is to slow down a little and pronounce words clearly.

        If they can do that, then I ain't going to go all sarf London on them.

    3. FirstTangoInParis

      Re: No no no no no

      You beat me to it. The only voice bot I’m happy with is actually the much maligned HMRC. All chat bots are useless.

      But what’s really going to annoy me is replacing the constant stream of silent calls I get (all reported - text Call to 7726 - and blocked) with some voice bot. I’ll go from ignoring any call coming from 020 codes to ignoring anyone I haven’t already got a number for. Better still would be a spam caller trap like I have on my land line.

  8. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Okay, AI chatbots - so how would this work out ?

    I had my FTTH line snagged by the local farmer's tractor - don't ask me how but apparently it had been installed a bit low on the pole across the street.

    The line was intact, but it was on the ground. So I still had my connection, but the line was on the ground.

    I had to explain three times to the helpdesk drone before he got the message. The line is intact, yes, but it is physically on the ground. Please come and hang it back up again.

    I even got a visit from an actualy supervisor (yes, in person) who came to check on the situation.

    Didn't make any difference though, they left it on the ground until some vehicle passed and wrecked it a month later. Oh, then they were there in two days to redo the whole installation.

    So how could I explain this to an AI bot when actual humans took an hour to understand and then still didn't do anything until the line was actually physically cut ?

    1. Mishak Silver badge

      So how could I explain this to an AI bot when actual humans took an hour

      Who knows, it might actually "listen" / work better.

      Though I doubt it...

    2. stiine Silver badge

      Re: Okay, AI chatbots - so how would this work out ?

      You report it to the local police as a safety hazard, and let them call the ISP.

    3. usbac

      Re: Okay, AI chatbots - so how would this work out ?

      Someone I knew years ago had a somewhat similar situation. They were doing some fairly major landscaping work, and despite having all of the utilities marked as legally required, managed to take a chunk out of an unmarked gas line.

      They called the local gas company to report the problem, and after spending about 45 minutes getting bounced around, finally got a repair person on the phone (with gas shooting up in the air the whole time). The repair person told them it would be Tuesday before they could get out there (this was on Saturday morning). You could hear the the gas jet several blocks away.

      They told the repair person "I'm going to toss a lit match out the front door, I can guarantee you will be here within minutes after that!".

      When I got there, I told them to just hang up and call the fire department. That is what we ended up doing. The fire department showed up with full lights and sirens, and closed the whole street. They weren't very amused when we told them that the gas company wasn't going to come out until Tuesday. They managed to get the repair people out very quickly.

    4. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

      Re: Okay, AI chatbots - so how would this work out ?

      I haven't been able to get humans at AT&T to understand imminent failure either.

  9. Korev Silver badge
    Terminator

    Success criterion

    We'll know when AI is good enough for replacing call centres when they also use it for sales too

    1. Mishak Silver badge

      Re: Success criterion

      I assumed all those spam sales calls were already done that way.

      I've never managed to get any sense out of whatever was at the other end when I told them my number was TPS registered and I wanted to speak to their data controller.

    2. YetAnotherXyzzy

      Re: Success criterion

      My stepsons both worked in call centers under contract to first world mobile phone operators. Their scripts included a great deal of upselling mixed in with the tier 1 billing and tech support.

  10. IGotOut Silver badge

    You mean...

    Vermin Media Indian call centre ISN'T AI bots?

    Oh no, that would be able to detect you've phoned up half a dozen times before, had 4 engineers out and rebooting the fucking router for the 5000th time won't fix the problem..

    1. dinsdale54

      Re: You mean...

      I've found the Virgin Media call centre in India to be polite and relatively easy to understand. Obviously they didn't fix my problem (billing issue) until after 5 hours of calls but they were nice about it.

      The offensive and difficult to understand Scot on the other hand.....

      1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

        Re: You mean...

        Weirdly, I had great difficulty with the vermin media's indian call center understanding my problem (they kept referring to me as "Mr Boris"), when they gave up and escalated it to the scotland center, the scots resolved it in about 5 mins.......

        To be honest , all these call centers should have an option " Press 4 if you are an extremely capable IT geek type person who's already looked on our web site and applied the solutions there"

    2. NeilPost Silver badge

      Re: You mean...

      Despite CFM systems, Trailblazers etc NO-ONE (or no AI) EVER FUCKING looks at your prior history, or last call. It’s always back to square one.

  11. Filippo Silver badge

    I've had the dubious pleasure of having to interact with an AI-powered customer service. It works (barely) if what you want is within a small set of predetermined and well-defined functions. In this case, it is providing the exact same service as the old "press-3-to-do-this" robots, only it takes longer and is less reliable. For example, you might ask for how much credit you have left on your contract, and it might actually give you the amount. It might also provide you with your contract number, or ask for your credit card details so it can refill the contract, or ask you to update your contact informations, or whatever.

    If what you want is not within said functions, then it's utterly useless. In that situation, after you describe your problem, it's pretty much going to pick one of the predefined functions at random.

    In my case, eventually, I told it that I just wanted to speak with an operator, so it asked me to describe my problem anyway so it could connect me with the correct department. I did, and it connected me with a department at random, completely unrelated to my problem. The operator of that department forwarded me to the right department, and that was it.

    The following time, I opened up with "I want to talk to an operator", and when prompted to describe the problem I followed by dictating the header of their website page dedicated to the service I was dealing with, verbatim. That seemed to do the trick. However, "press 0 to talk to an operator" then "press 5 for sales" would have been much easier and faster.

    1. Magani
      Happy

      Eels and hovercraft for the win!

      I have now reverted to the epic line, "My hovercraft is full of eels" when the AI wants me to, "... describe your problem in a few words".

      Only takes a couple of repeats before they give up and I get a real human.

      1. Killfalcon

        Re: Eels and hovercraft for the win!

        I got a scambot call yesterday, claiming to be "calling back about the issue you raised to the housing officer".

        Naturally, I elaborated on the vast amount of cheese that had piled up against the south wall. I'm reasonably sure it huge up in about the same time a human scammer would have done.

  12. Andy Non
    FAIL

    In my experience

    Human call centres and AI chatbots are both pretty crap. The AI's have too poor comprehension and only understand simple, common questions - they also don't understand when you tell them the information they are giving you is incorrect. Trying to phone a call centre can be a nightmare wading through deep menu systems only to wait on hold for an hour before the line drops. Communicating via emails or online forms with humans is also terrible. I had to report the same fault to Shell Energy multiple times over several months before they acknowledged there was actually a fault... but apparently it is beyond their ability to fix it (the smart meter display which they installed doesn't actually work and never has done).

    1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

      Re: In my experience

      Human call centres and AI chatbots are both pretty crap. The AI's have too poor comprehension and only understand simple, common questions - they also don't understand when you tell them the information they are giving you is incorrect

      I think you meant "The AI's, too, have ..."

  13. Big_Boomer Silver badge

    Cheap-Cheap-Cheap

    The problem is that companies all see Support as a cost centre so they cut costs to the bone and then cannot understand when their customers desert them in droves. It's typical short-sighted incompetence and happens everywhere.

    It makes no difference to me if it's a human or an expert system that talks to me as neither of them are of any use whatsoever. When I am confronted by automated phone systems I just swear continuously whilst pressing zero over and over again until the system can't cope and passes me to a human. I then tell the human that I am highly technical and have already done everything that is on their script and several things besides. Sometimes a brave soul asks me for details, but they normally put me through to Tier2/3 after the 3rd or 4th detailed description of my troubleshooting.

    1. NeilPost Silver badge

      Re: Cheap-Cheap-Cheap

      Yes, CX - Customer Experience and NPS - Net Promotors scores.

      … or were they just too expensive in the post-COVID, post Trump, shrink-flation/customer service, supply chain, energy price speculated inflation ridden wasteland we now occupy.

  14. b0llchit Silver badge
    Facepalm

    No accent anymore - zero understanding established

    That means the accent of the operator will be perfectly matched with the caller. And the caller no longer complains about the operator's accent (as per recent other article here on El Reg).

    But now the user can complain that the operator does not understand the user anymore. The AI may know the words, but what it all means is a mystery once you talk outside a narrow and known schedule.

    But at least the corps have gained something! They now do service ever cheaper and worse than before. Why don't these corps just rob your bank accounts and leave?

  15. Howard Sway Silver badge

    Conversational AI

    Since when did a flowchart-based menu system become "AI"?

    Oh right, since it was time for Gartner to desperately think of something to put in their latest "industry analysis".

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: Conversational AI

      Who knows, maybe some company will take a real AI* chatbot like the ever-popular GPT and attach that to the phone line. While it's busy not solving your problems, you can have nice philosophical conversations that start to get confusing about twenty seconds in. Or, given what's happened with many other attempts, you get something worse.

      * AI in the sense that it's not using a script and its responses aren't supplied by the programmers, but created from intensive computations based on stuff it copied from someone else. Not AGI, so in case you were planning on calling me out using a definition I didn't mean, this is my disclaimer.

  16. JacobZ
    FAIL

    Not saving at all

    By "save $80B" they mean "push $80B in costs onto the customer, who will pay for it in wasted time, increased frustration, abandoned attempts to get help with problems, and failing to get billing problems resolved".

  17. elregidente

    Those AI interactions are people asking to talk to a human

    I may also be wrong, but I'm of the view customer support has never been about supporting customers - any support call to a bank, telco, fintech, insurance company, any major internet company, etc, etc, etc will demonstrate that.

    "Customer support" (misleading name) are there to willlessly and with complete lack of discretion or flexibility implement the customer-facing processes created by the company, regardless of whether or not those processes work, and those processes often fail terribly in the face of the complexities of real-life.

    I would add that customer support agents never read any prior emails, and when support has been arranged so a different person replies each time, it is impossible to have any kind of dialogue, and this approach is taken by all large companies. These companies could implement bone-throwing monkeys for all the difference it would make to the support they offer; AI will do no harm, because support can't get worse.

  18. Snowy Silver badge
    Joke

    Just need to...

    Learn how to consume.

  19. chivo243 Silver badge

    Just another layer of insulation or is it isolation?

    The fact that these companies use an automated assistant to direct your calls gives them another layer of isolation from the customer(whose money they already have) and don't give a flying fsck about the issue at hand...

  20. 080

    Chatbots are designed to wear you down until you give up, certainly NatWest's does by spewing out random words that don't make any sense in the order they are spit out. They may be Artificial but they will never be Intelligent.

    Plusnet use real people who know what their company does, the Yorkshire accent is thrown in free.

    A tip to get to a real person quickly is to select the Welsh language option, if provided, they all speak English perfectly.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We're going in the opposite direction

    Granted, we have rather discerning clients so foisting an AI or even a menu maze on them would cause trouble, but our management has just started to study how they can get a max 3 ring policy in place - and yes, they will be taking on staff to cover that properly. I think the main discussion is now no longer about 'if' or even 'how' but more 'when' as we're not yet a 24/7 operation other than IT.

    It'll be interesting to see what we end up with, but they see that as the face of the company. I must say I can't disagree, I hate waiting as well.

  22. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

    bathtub

    Whenever I have to ring BT on behalf of someone else, it asks me to describe the problem and I say "My bathtub is filled with brightly coloured machine tools". The AI bot pauses for a few seconds and says "You have a broadband problem". It's usually right.

  23. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    FAIL

    Scottish Power in the UK tried this a while back, but just the data protection questions.

    Nope.

    You might think a company with the word "Scottish" in their name might test the system with regional accents, but they didn't, according to friends who experienced the system.

    This sort of bu***hit prediction is easy to figure out because the meat sacks are such a huge part of the costs.

    The trouble is that all humans have an almost unlimited way to say the same things in different ways.

    Unlike the demonstration conversations they also tend to pad the "conversation" with all sorts of extraneous, random garbage, which humans ignore but the system will continually chomp through, desperately trying to make sense of the non-sensical.

    TBH companies could save a shedload of cash if they just didn't f**k things up when they set the account up to begin with.

  24. Bitsminer Silver badge

    Tin men

    My mother -- 98 years old and still going strong -- objects strongly to the "tin men" that answer the phone at her bank. She did figure out how to get a real human to speak to, however.

    Eventually her complaints were so bad we re-organized her bills so it's all automatic. She has no reason to phone them anymore. And we get no more complaints about "tin men".

    "AI" or "bot" or "automated whatsis?" doesn't quite describe the tech. "Tin men" does.

  25. Il'Geller

    Nice! All these comments show that AI-parsing became the industry etalon, and therefore that Philosophy became science because the parsing produces numbers. Which the numbers brought math in Philosophy.

  26. Julie2Stead

    Virtual Assistant at National Savings (NS&i)

    I rang up NS&i to report the fact that my father had passed away. A virtual assisstant answered the phone speaking in a lovely gentle male recorded voice asking how it could help me. I shouted at it 'My father is dead' thinking it would not be able to understand and put me through to a real human.

    However it recognised my request and said 'I am very sorry for your loss' and how much they care etc and then began to real off a list of documents i needed to send them. It did not put me through to a human. I was really angry, in this situation I wanted to speak to a human. How dare they have computer tell me they are sorry for my loss !!!"£$% and not put me through to a human.

    I then tried to phone back to speak to a human. When the AI asked me why I had rung, I said investments and continued to repeat myself and kept saying I want to speak to a human and it finally put me through. As it turned out there was an on line form i could fill in which the AI (ironically didnt tell me about)

    Then today I needed to ring up because it appeared that the closing statement I had been sent was not accurate, that only one third of the investments had been listed. I didnt know what to say to the AI and tried saying i want to be put through to an assistant (probably should have said human). It didnt comply so i went quiet. It said the phone line sounds like it is dead Im going to hang up, I shouted Nooooo, dont hang up, put me through to an assistant, i shouted over and over and it still put the phone down

    I then rang up again. This time I tried to explain what the problem was but it told me to list the ones that were missing !! it was not going to put me through to a human. I started shouting at it to put me through to an assistant over and over until it finally did.

    This is one of the most distressing and upsetting things I have come across. It felt so dehumanising... ...so frustrating.. ...so upsetting in the circumstances..

    I am so upset that i have written a physical letter which i will send in the post... ...there is no option to send an email... ..only to type to a virtual on screen assistant !!!"£$

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Virtual Assistant at National Savings (NS&i)

      Make sure you send it recorded delivery, it's harder to ignore.

    2. snowpages

      Re: Virtual Assistant at National Savings (NS&i)

      Having gone through similar experiences twice over the last 2 years, I found that the keyword you need is "bereavement". If you search for that on most organisations' websites you *usually* find a dedicated phone line and downloadable forms etc. These phone lines seem to be staffed by real, caring, humans!!!! Made a difficult process slightly easier.

  27. Mike Lewis

    AI Scam Calls

    We're going to have AI initiate scam calls and learn to change what they say to get the most money.

  28. MonsieurTM

    Yea Gods! Call centres are bad enough! Now we shall replace what little sanity that remains in them with utterly un-empathic and buggy software.... Am I alone in foreseeing The End in part due to a fundamental collapse of society due to the necessity to effectively complain being denied it?!

  29. Blackjack Silver badge

    I thought they had done that already, is been over five years I have been able to talk with a human when calling a call center. Is all automated options, press one, press two and so on.

  30. Bernard

    But will the chatbots be smart enough

    to know if the customer they are talking to is human or AI?

    1. Blackjack Silver badge

      Re: But will the chatbots be smart enough

      Why would anyone bother to do a script to call a calll center?

      Actually forget that; since is all automated nowadays, doing a script that automates some complains would save a lot of time.

  31. This post has been deleted by its author

  32. Auntie Dix Bronze badge
    Mushroom

    Ladder-Climbing Management Scum Laps Up This AI Crap

    "By 2026, the call-center industry could save up to $80 billion by replacing humans with AI chatbots, according to analysts at Gartner."

    Subscribers to Gartner are mostly ladder-climbing, technically incompetent, ruthless dullards who got their money by sh!tting on people.

    Unfortunately, all of us already suffer too much AI BS. We may find workarounds (Say "Agent!" five times!), but eBay and fifty others who hide their telephone numbers will then, as retaliation, deliberately drop the call in order to force us to redial and suffer again the deliberately annoying VRU menu.

    How does one fight back? Make their disregard cost them. Spend money elsewhere, first. Next, when they are all screwing with AI, do other things that cost them money:

    Split a free-shipping ten-item order into ten free-shipping one-item orders; order extra and choose multiple free returns; demand full refunds; invite Amber Heard to make a deposit on the sheets sold in store...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      ladder-climbing, technically incompetent, ruthless dullards

      Pinder, is that you?

  33. Mr Dogshit
    FAIL

    This shit has never worked and never will.

    Gartner and their Magic Quadrant can fuck right off.

  34. emmawaston79

    Artificial intelligence is the most advanced technology because robotic systems operate automatically without the involvement of humans. It gives more efficient results in the working environment. In my opinion, if this technology is implemented in the call center, maybe they will give better results as compared to humans, but keep in mind that it’s just a machine. If we replace that machine with people, many people will lose their jobs, which will have an impact on human life. A lot of people are suffering from unemployment, and this is having an effect on the economy of the country.

    1. Paul_Canada

      Whilst I agree, we can't stop progressing just because people will lose their jobs. People said the same thing about literacy and the industrial revolution.

  35. Paul_Canada

    A better solution

    Make sure I don't have to ring in the first place. Provide what I need online, so I can simply log on and change things! I'm either ringing to discontinue my service, or query incorrect/increased pricing.

    I don't want to ring and you don't want me to ring. So make it easier that I don't have to.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    HSBC mobile phone chatbot

    Tried to use it three times now.

    I just seem to round in circles.

    Gave up.

    Probably what they are hoping.

    Next time I'm going to use telephone banking...

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