The Death of Call Centres

Empty call centres

“If you would like help with X, please press 1. If you would like help with Y, please press 2. If you would like he-” okay I’m sick of it now. And I think you get the point. But seriously, it’s nearly 2018 and we still have this going on?! There must be a better way. And thankfully there is (for those quick enough to capitalise on it.) Find out why chatbots will mean you’ll never have to press 1 on a keypad again…


Call centres are not scalable. Chatbots are scalable. One well-designed chatbot can serve an unlimited number of humans at once. So even as the number of customers increases, only one source of conversational AI is needed. Contrast this to call centres where one human customer service agent is needed for each customer at any given time. The more customers that are served at once, the more employees that are needed in a call centre; meaning that the cost to serve is linear. And if there’s an overload of requests, this is a nightmare for both the organisation and the customer!

The scalability of chatbots suggests that the larger your organisation, the higher your relative costs savings are. This is one reason why so many contact centre heavy businesses have AI on their roadmap (do you?). Now, before you go on and say I’m a human hater (or a bot lover), this is actually a good thing.

AI will liberate call centre employees as, in our research, 80% of call centre queries cover the same 20 questions at most. AI frees previous call centre workers from the mundane to do more meaningful and valuable jobs for the organisation, such as consulting face-to-face with customers when they face complex problems for example. Or designing new customer experiences. Not to mention, the unimagined and yet-to-be-created roles. Thankfully, a trusty chatbot will never get sad doing the same thing over and over again. Unlike all the threats you see in the media today, AI and humans are complements, not substitutes. All this means is lower costs, happier employees, and higher value creation.

Oh, and one more thing. Chatbots, in advertising speak, are always “on message”. Whereas a human might not represent your company in the best way every single time, AI will always follow a script that is congruent with your brand message (if you want to see something off message in a call centre, see this!). Companies are able to design the customer experience from start to finish, that way you’ll never ever have an angry chatbot telling a customer off for not knowing how to turn on his router.


In today’s world of instant gratification, waiting on hold is never a pleasant experience. First world problem I know, but conversational AI will never have this problem. It is instantaneous and works 24/7. If you’re the only business with readily available support, this is a competitive advantage — 51 percent of consumers believe a business should respond to their queries around the clock. Frustrated customers who experience long wait times with your call centres may just abandon the call and head over to more innovatively inclined competitors. Time is money and customers will be most satisfied with the companies that get their problems solved the fastest.

It’s Happening Now

Gartner projects that 85% of all customer service interactions by 2020 will be managed by chatbots rather than humans. The truth is, it’s already happening today. Large organisations (larger organisations benefit from scalability remember?) such as National Australia Bank and The Royal Bank of Scotland have already rolled out chatbots that answer thousands of customer queries per day around the clock. But this will transition from banks all the way to small mom-and-pop Shopify stores which will use basic or pre-canned chatbots. Today is just the beginning. Might I remind you that countless businesses were decimated when they didn’t take websites seriously.

The 7 most expensive words in business?

“We have always done it that way.”

Don’t let AI be the ship that sailed.

Call centres were introduced in the 1970s. It’s about time we moved on. At Ambit, we have developed a conversational AI platform that makes it easier for businesses to do just that.

By Nicholas Walsh, Analyst at Ambit.

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