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4 minute read

Engage Customer joins Tatum Bisley, a leading expert in contact centre innovation, who recently unpacked the complexities of adopting AI in retail in an interview, offering a glimpse into the industry's future, where technology and human ingenuity come together to create a more efficient and empathetic retail landscape.

Retail is changing faster than theatre actors. Technology is not just a tool but a gale-force wind reshaping how businesses operate and interact with customers. Among the backdrop of these changes is artificial intelligence (AI), which is taking customer service and operational efficiency to new heights and redefining the role of human workers in the industry.

AI is dramatically changing how retail works - making things faster and a lot smarter. This helps stores know what you want almost before you do. From a contact centre perspective, the biggest benefits are enhanced customer service efficiency and improved accuracy in customer interactions.

Faster query processing

AI enables contact centres to process queries faster and more precisely, significantly reducing wait times and improving overall customer satisfaction. Additionally, AI-driven analytics are helping these centres predict customer needs and provide proactive support, which solves issues faster and personalises the customer experience. This results in a more engaged customer base and potentially higher loyalty and retention rates."

As for how AI technologies like Klarna’s can transform customer service, it is a game changer for customer service because it quickly handles routine questions, freeing human employees to tackle more complex issues. The Klarna story is a great example: They use AI to do jobs normally requiring up to 700 people. He claims that In the UK, this kind of AI use could save between £11.9m and £16.1m a year, based on what customer service staff usually get paid. 

Hassle-free service

Customers now want quick, hassle-free service and help in their own language. What sets these technologies apart is their ability to learn from interactions to offer an increasingly personalised service, making each shopping experience unique. The numbers from their case study are impressive and will no doubt inspire others."

There is a need to balance automation with keeping people employed. As we integrate more machines and AI into the retail sector, it's imperative that we also focus on creating new job opportunities. The role will range from AI management to tech support, data analysis and systems maintenance because, the idea is not just to use technology to replace jobs but to enhance and transform them, creating new possibilities that didn't exist before.

Ethical automation

The ethical use of automation is vital. We need to ensure that the deployment of AI and robotics does not exacerbate inequalities within the workforce. This means thoughtful deployment of these technologies, considering the broader societal impacts, such as job displacement risks and the effects on small communities.

Yet the future of retail jobs will look quite different. AI is taking over some of the routine tasks, meaning the remaining jobs will likely focus more on human interaction and providing unique customer experiences. It should nevertheless be about job creation while leveraging AI. This will require the workforce to be retrained and upskilled because automation will require them to learn new skills. This includes training in digital literacy, problem-solving in a tech-driven environment, and customer service skills that require empathy and judgment—areas where humans excel over machines.

Fusion of AI and Retail Strategies

The fusion of artificial intelligence with retail strategies is not just about adapting to technological shifts but reimagining them to enhance human interactions and operational efficiencies. AI-human collaboration is at the beginning of the journey to empower and elevate the retail experience, ensuring that the industry thrives on innovation and inclusivity.


By Tatum Bisley, Product & Technology Evangelist at Cirrus Response.

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