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Fall meeting of the i-Service Initiative in Hamburg: Automation is a key topic

In mid-September, the partners of the Institute for Customer Experience Management (i-CEM) met in Hamburg as part of the i-Service Initiative to discuss current developments and challenges in the contact center and customer service environment.

At these quarterly meetings, experts from technology providers, integrators and consultants exchange views on what is driving the industry today and which tasks need to be solved in the customer service industry. Particularly interesting: In the closing trend survey, all participants agreed that automation in telephone customer service is one of the key topics.

Costs as an automation driver?

Contact and service centers are currently facing a dilemma: The overdue minimum wage increase means that employees are becoming more expensive and the associated cost increases have to be passed on to customers in order to be able to operate economically at all. Other cost drivers include skyrocketing energy prices and the rising cost of living, which also affect contacts centers.

One possible solution: near- and offshoring, i.e., outsourcing customer service to other European countries or even beyond - demand growing. But experiences with this outsourcing strategy have already been very mixed in the past: the supposedly cheaper customer service is often bought at the cost of significant losses in quality, and customer satisfaction drops.

Automation never comes cheap

The above-mentioned cost pressure also increases the demand for greater automation of customer service through ChatBot and VoiceBot solutions. Preferably completely AI-based ones as Conversational AI that handles all customer concerns on a case-by-case basis. 

But beware. Companies that tackle such projects purely for cost reasons are on the wrong track and run the risk of failure. There are enough examples for this.

It is therefore important to analyze in detail and in advance which customer service processes are suitable for automation - and whether these previously analog processes have been well thought out at all. After all, poor analog processes lead to even poorer digital processes. And it must be determined how customers formulate their telephone requests (intents) in concrete terms. Real conversations can be recorded, transcribed and analyzed for this purpose. Finally, an AI must learn which terms are used in which context and how they are to be interpreted. The more material available for teaching the AI, the better the results, the higher the customer satisfaction.

Urgent recommendation: ask the experts

It pays for companies to ask experts in good time in the course of project planning, before the high-minded intention turns into a dead-end project that only burns money by the end.

Don't hesitate to make an appointment today with our automation expert Stefan Riesel on LinkedIn: or write to




Meeting of the i-Service Initiative
Fall meeting of the i-Service Initiative at novomind in Hamburg: Technology providers, integrators and consultants discuss what moves the industry today and which tasks will have to be solved in the future in the customer service industry.
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