Shielding Call Center Operators from Customer Harassment

Shielding Call Center Operators from Customer Harassment

AI Technology to Protect Call Center Operators from Customer Harassment

SoftBank Corp. has developed voice-altering technology to protect call center employees from customer harassment. This technology aims to reduce the psychological burden on operators by changing the voices of complaining customers to calmer tones.

The technology, called "emotion canceling," uses AI voice-processing technology to alter the voice of a person over a phone call. It was developed after SoftBank employee Toshiyuki Nakatani watched a TV program about customer harassment and realized the need for a solution.

The AI has been trained on over 10,000 pieces of voice data from ten actors performing various emotions. It can recognize yelling, accusatory tones, and other expressions, and then adjust the pitch and inflection of the voice to sound calmer. However, a slight element of anger is retained to ensure the operator can still gauge the customer's emotions.

The technology also helps operators deal with abusive language and long conversations. If the AI determines that the conversation is too long or too abusive, it sends out a warning message and can even terminate the service.

While AI is capable of handling complaints for long hours, Nakatani believes that angry customers often desire a human apology. Therefore, he hopes that AI will serve as a "mental shield" for operators, protecting them from emotional strain while still allowing them to provide human interaction.

SoftBank plans to further improve the accuracy of the technology and hopes to sell it starting from fiscal 2025. This technology has the potential to significantly improve the working conditions of call center operators and reduce the stress associated with their jobs.