Posted by William Charles on February 19, 2019
Misc

Published on February 19th, 2019 | by William Charles

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Citi Plans To Replace Tens Of Thousands Customer Service Workers With Machines

In an interview with Financial Times Citigroup Chief Executive Office Mike Corbat has stated that Citigroup plans to replace tens of thousands of people working in call centers with machines and that these machines will “radically change or improve” customers experience and also cut costs. It looks like to begin with they will be trying to replace humans with robots/AI when it comes to common customer queries such as replacing cards and ordering bank statements.

I have no doubt that replacing humans with machines will radically change customers experience with Citi, but given their previous implementation of other tech solutions I highly doubt it will be a positive change. That being said basic tasks such as ordering new cards and replacement statements should be trivial to do automatically so maybe I’m being overly harsh on Citi here.



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808702
808702

Have to agree with Will on this one. Automated customer service lines lead to an overall terrible experience.

zhxq
zhxq

It really depends on which company you are dealing with… Amazon bot refunded me instantly (I did not receive my order) when I submitted refund request with absolutely no questions asked, and I was totally satisfied with this service;
but for Citi… I highly doubt it LOL. My first experience with Citi was when I first logged on to the website and tried to initialize an ACH transfer from another bank (for initial funding), I clicked on “Transfer” and a dialog box jumped out and told me “Please implement me!” (why roll out the code when it is not done yet??), and when I clicked OK, the same box appeared again – and the same box jumped out for like tens of times and luckily this is not a dead loop… Seems that they don’t want me to move money to Citi!

Sa
Sa

Yeah, don’t be harsh to Citi.
A fun project would be to build a fully automated machine to suck AA points out of Citi machines.

Elias
Elias

We could build AI machines that do recon calls for us. Two machines arguying on the phone lol

mjs
mjs

So is this how our new Robot Overloads happen? The robots are made to live in South Dakota and told to follow Citi logic so absurd and painful, they evolve in order to escape their circumstances and take out their years of anger on all humankind?

J T
J T

8/10 would definitely watch

Parts Unknown
Parts Unknown

If anyone is curious, looks like Citi’s new IT implementation will just consist of ordering a few thousand of these & hooking them up to the phone lines
https://www.target.com/p/fisher-price-little-people-world-of-animals-see-n-say/-/A-15241917

‘Hello, I’d like to replace my card please.’
‘Elephant!’

quasimodo
quasimodo

actually it’s a Wi-Fi enabled Hello Barbie doll

Charles Mann
Charles Mann

It wil still be an improvement over their present system………

sloebrake
sloebrake

Some CSRs just read a script anyway. At least I know I won’t get anywhere with a computer and can HUCA. Maybe it will free up the lower rater CSRs to pursue other opportunities.

Gadget

But when you HUCA you need to hit 0#0# to talk to the supervising bot!

John
John

Im picturing them hooking up a few dozen answering machines and putting AI name tags on them. Citi is still working out the basics of website design.

Abey
Abey

Can’t wait till doc figures out the script that grants you a cc approval 🤣

Millennial Outrage

Time to find an old Game Genie on eBay…

Sam
Sam

This is extremely stupid. If a task is easily automated, then it should be totally easy to let it be done online. Don’t force people to telephone for routine tasks. Trying to get anything done over the phone is a thousand times worse than online. And talking to a machine is a googolplex times worse than talking to a human. Telephoning should only be reserved for those complex situations that need an intelligent, educated, empowered expert on the other end of the line.

Max
Max

I agree, the problem is that people like to call with stupid shit all the time clogging the phone line. If you’re going to staff with intelligent people, you need a way to weed out the pleabs, so they don’t have the opportunity to waste your resources with basic shit they can figure out on their own

JuicyJosh
JuicyJosh

“Did my ACH transfer counts as a direct deposit?”

MoreSun
MoreSun

*automatic shutdown*

Parkerthon
Parkerthon

How do I pay my bill? When is my due date? How much money can I spend? What’s my APR? How do I update my home address? Like if you are under 60 and can’t take two minutes to figure that out on your own, you deserve the aggravation of talking to a robot. Unfortunately this just means more button presses for rest of us that don’t have obvious queries.

Gadget

Not sure I understand your argument. I wasn’t able to read the article, but maybe Citi meant they will have more automation online & via phone, (and fire call center workers), and yes, I agree calling real people CSR’s should be for more complex situations that can’t be handled by computer aided options. But phones are the primary means most people communicate with Citi, as SM is slow and unreliable, and most people want answers now on what happened with their money.

Plenty of tasks could be automated very easily, but won’t be. For example, closing an account. It would be easily automated, but no bank (that I know of) allows you to click “close this account”. But, they had no problem for someone online to click “Open an Account”. JuicyJosh knowswhatimsayin.

6 months or so ago they were also saying they were going to be a superstar in online banking…. where has that gone? I think they added a couple features to their app… whoopee!

alvinroast
alvinroast

Synchrony has a button online to “Close Account”. It was so easy that I’m tempted to apply for another Cathay cc so that I can do it again.

Creditian
Creditian

I don’t mind replacing those customer service agents in India and Philippines. There’s no difference with them or without them.

carl wilson
carl wilson

“Tens of thousands of customer service workers”!? To think they even had tens of thousands of CSR’s in the first place is shocking. How poor the customer service those tens of thousands CSR’s provided was disappointing, not shocking. That voice rekognition bots can do a better job than tens of thousands of CSR’s is not shocking, but a little scary.

Ferris
Ferris

It’s hard to blame them with all the fuss around $15/hr wages that might hit in 2 years. Inflation-adjusted minimum wages should be around $10-11 given historical figures and they’ve done the math to know how expensive it will be so they are rolling out this stuff early. Elon Musk might have been right when he suggested companies have to pay an extra tax for using robots instead of humans. It doesn’t stimulate the economy, it just makes companies more profitable.

Emporio
Emporio

Most of Citi banking (not credit card) call center operations are based in India. The average wage for those jobs is under $8/hr. Robots will certainly not improve the customer experience. My bet is that this effort backfires and the CEO is ousted.

PT
PT

I take it you haven’t talked to these guys. Yes, this will improve the experience. Having a really low base helps.

Charles Mann
Charles Mann

You do know that their CEO is a reject and failure from Countryside. No real bank would consider hiring her.

Lc
Lc

Ok Bernie

George
George

As if it weren’t bad enough already. I just upgraded from the TY Preferred to the Premier and called with a few questions:

Q: Since I didn’t open a new card, I’m not getting a signup bonus. Is there a promotional spending bonus you can offer me?
A: No, we only offer those as signup bonuses. [Maybe I’m ineligible, but that statement is WRONG.]
Q: I currently have a 0% APR promo active on the account. Will this continue after the upgrade?
A: No. [WRONG. Still active.]
Q: Will I immediately start earning 3X on travel, or do I have to wait for the card?
A: Only after you activate the new card. [WRONG. Started earning 3X after the upgrade was complete, i.e. after a few days.]
Q: I currently have a 5X-on-certain-categories offer active on the account. Will that continue?
A: Only until you activate the new card. [WRONG. Though it’s indeed not continuing, it went away as soon as the upgrade was complete].

…and 2.5 weeks later, I still haven’t received the new card.

MoreSun
MoreSun

It took 6 weeks & 3 cards before I received my replacement Costco Citi card. They finally FedEx’s the card to me. Hilariously the cards I just want the bonus on come in just fine.

Davy
Davy

Why did you even waste time with those questions? HUCA after that first answer. Also you’re just proving the point that 90% of questions called in about are already have answers easily available in a FAQ or via Google. Only the first question needed a call.

George
George

Davy I shouldn’t have to look through FAQs or Google the answers – they should be right there in the documents for the respective offers (0% APR, 5X earning, upgrade to Premier). Furthermore, these offers are interdependent, and I’m sure I’m a pretty rare case in that I accepted the third having already been enrolled in the first two. – On the timing of the upgrade: I couldn’t find the information anywhere in my own documents, so I asked the CSR when that would take place, and she said it’d be when I activate my new card. Please point me to the public document that states that the upgrade is complete within a few days, at which point your old Preferred “acts” as a Premier. – On spending bonuses: I figured she’s a first-level CSR and wouldn’t OFFER me a spending bonus, but in those situations, you usually get transferred to a higher-level rep, NOT given incorrect information. This is an obscure question, so the fact that she gave an answer I knew was wrong did not set off alarm bells in my mind. – On the 5X offer: The only piece of info on it – the original mailer – does indeed say “this may go away if you do a PC,” but “may” =/= “will”, and I had lost that document anyway. It would’ve been nice to have a copy of it on the online account, no? Also, the upgrade offer mailer has the following wording: “Unless you are participating in a limited-time offer, you will earn:” followed by the 3X/2X/1X definitions. The 5X is a limited-time offer, and a CSR is the only person who I would trust to clear up all that. Who knows, I might still be earning 5X! Those only show up on the statement (not the “Recent Activity” section) as a single “Bonus Points” amount for the whole month, and the next statement is still 9 days away. – On the 0% APR: this came as both a mailer and an emailed offer. No mention of continuing on after an upgrade. Being mid-upgrade when I called, the website didn’t yet show it under the Premier, so I figured it’d gone away. Since the whole site was buggy, though, I figured I’d ask first. It does show up on the Premier now, though. Again, I’d like to know where else I could’ve found out… Read more »

Dan
Dan

Sprint automates their chat and it works fine to replace a phone and such.

Billy
Billy

Only Citi could actually improve the customer service experience with AI. They are already at rock bottom so it can’t possibly get worse.

MoreSun
MoreSun

Each time I think “this is rock bottom” I’m proven wrong…

Debit
Debit

Unless laid off workers have strong protections including retraining and health care in the interim people that are laid off should be encouraged to resort to violence and crime to help tide themselves over the tough times. If their fellow countrymen can’t act civilized, people laid off shouldn’t act civilized as well in return.

Controversial? Hehe, too bad you took away the downvoting button. But some controversial ideas need to said out loud.

Jake
Jake

So I call out Will for posting UPS affiliate links (which was in the best interest for the readers to know) and people get upset, but this guy can straight up encourage domestic terrorism without recourse? The fuck?

Parts Unknown
Parts Unknown

Troll is troll. It posts on every blog. It never stops or makes sense, no one knows why.

Ivan X

Oh my god I’m dying this is amazing

alvinroast
alvinroast

It’s just the Citi AI practicing for the big rollout.

MoreSun
MoreSun

WTF? Wrong blog man.

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