Should Live Agents Be Concerned About the Voice AI?

Should Live Agents Be Concerned About the Voice AI?
Photo by Pavan Trikutam / Unsplash

Is Voice AI: Friend or Foe to Live Agents?

When we introduced Alex AI to the world last month in the WebSummit, we received a lot of questions: should live agents be concerned about the AI? Artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming businesses at a whirlwind pace, and the realm of customer service is no exception. Voice AI, particularly in the form of chatbots and virtual assistants, is becoming increasingly sophisticated. Naturally, it raises the question: should live customer service agents be worried about their jobs?

The Capabilities of Voice AI

To understand the potential concern, let's look at what voice AI can do:

  • Handle Basic Requests: Voice AI excels at answering frequently asked questions, resolving simple issues like password resets, or providing general information.
  • Offer 24/7 Availability: Unlike human agents, voice AI doesn't need sleep. This allows businesses to provide round-the-clock support without increasing staffing costs.
  • Gather Data and Insights: Voice AI can analyze customer interactions, pinpointing trends, bottlenecks, and opportunities for improving service.

The Irreplaceable Value of Human Agents

Despite the progress of voice AI, here's why live agents remain crucial:

  • Complex Problem-Solving:  When issues require deeper analysis, nuanced understanding, or out-of-the-box thinking, human agents are superior.
  • Empathy and Rapport: AI struggles to replicate the emotional connection humans can form.  In sensitive situations or when customers are frustrated, a real person's empathy is irreplaceable.
  • Proactive Relationship Building:  Skilled human agents don't just resolve issues; they can upsell, cross-sell, and strengthen customer loyalty in ways AI currently can't.

The Future: A Hybrid Approach

The most likely future isn't the complete displacement of live agents, but a collaboration between AI and humans.  Here's how this might work:

  • AI as the First Line: Voice AI can triage calls, routing simple inquiries to automated solutions and escalating complex ones to live agents. This allows agents to focus on the cases where their skills truly make a difference.
  • Data-Empowered Agents: AI's ability to gather insights can arm live agents with valuable customer information, making their interactions more efficient and personalized.
  • AI as Training Tool: Analyzing AI-handled conversations can be a powerful way to identify areas where human agents can improve their skills.

Should Live Agents Be Worried?

It's less about worry, and more about adaptation. The customer service landscape is changing, and agents who embrace the changing technology landscape will stand out. Here's how agents can thrive in the age of Voice AI:

  • Focus on High-Value Skills: Hone your complex problem-solving abilities and emotional intelligence. These are areas where humans hold a distinct advantage.
  • Become Tech-Savvy: Understanding how voice AI works and its capabilities will make you a more effective collaborator with the technology.
  • Embrace a "Hybrid Mindset":  Be open to AI-assisted tasks and focus on the higher-level, strategic aspects of customer service.


Voice AI is powerful, but it's not a replacement for the human touch in customer service. Instead of fearing it, live agents should view voice AI as a tool that can augment their skills and streamline their work. By adapting and leveraging the changing technological landscape, live agents will not only secure their positions but elevate the overall customer service experience.