Japan's SoftBank Is Harnessing the Power of AI to Prevent Customer Harassment by 'Softening' Angry Callers' Voices

By Trisha Andrada

May 17, 2024 05:03 AM EDT

Japan's SoftBank Corp. is banking on artificial intelligence (AI) to tone down the voices of irate customers to help call center workers deal with such clients. 

call center agent
(Photo : MART PRODUCTION / pexels)

SoftBank Experimenting With AI-Powered Software to Tone Down Customers' Voices

Before commercializing it by March 2026, SoftBank plans to start the internal and external testing of the AI-powered software that softens the tone of customers' voices next year.

According to Reuters, Japan's third-largest telecoms provider confirmed in a press release on Wednesday that it was already working on an AI-enabled emotion recognition and speech processing technology to convert the customer's voice into a breezy, conversational tone before delivering it to workers. 

Softbank hopes to maintain good customer relationships through better communication while ensuring workers' psychological welfare.

Read Also: SoftBank's Arm Set to Launch AI Chips in 2025; Aims to Meet Surging Market Demand

Customer Harassment Becoming a Growing Concern in Japan

Companies in Japan have responded to the growing issue of customer harassment by implementing new policies. The Japanese government is also considering new laws to protect employees from customers who make unreasonable demands, abusive comments, and threats.

The Japan Trade Union Confederation, also known as Rengo, conducted a survey in 2022 and found that 67.5% of respondents had encountered some kind of customer harassment in the past three years, The Japan Times reported.

This year, a survey conducted by labor union UA Zensen showed that 47% of around 33,000 respondents also encountered customer harassment in the past two years. 

Read More: Singaporean AI Expert Stresses Learning How to Properly 'Speak' with AI to Keep Workforce Efficient

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