Expert sees happy future at call centres thanks to IT

In the technologically driven world of tomorrow, hospitals will be run by
machines and call centre staff will enjoy their roles, an expert claims.

Ian Pearson, chief futurologist of British Telecom Labs, said customer care
will dominate employees’ working lives as technology increasingly performs
functions.

He said, "Technology is accelerating rapidly to transform the way in
which existing jobs work.

"In call centres, for example, there will be a transformation of the
way in which employees work as they will be able to concentrate more on the
human aspects of the job and leave the technical side to machines."

He cited Cisco, which uses only three people to process expenses for 38,000
employees, as an example of how automated services can become.

"The majority of enquiries to call centres are transactional and will
be carried out automatically in the near future, leaving the workforce free to
concentrate on reassuring customers, dealing with more complex issues, and
providing a better service for consumers," he said at the Scotsoft 2001
Conference in Edinburgh.

Pearson can even envisage machine-run hospitals. "Diagnosis can already
be done more effectively with a machine. Consultants’ skills will be available
online, and I think that surgery will soon be carried out by machines. But we
will need more nursing staff to provide the caring qualities," he said.

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