The Workforce Impact of Conversational AI

2 minute read

Much has been written about Conversational AI’s impact on the customer experience, but there will be a similar impact on how employees engage with business systems. This topic will be among the many explored at the upcoming Digital Workforce Summit in New York on May 8.

User Interfaces (UIs) built on Artificial Intelligence (AI) allow humans to engage with digital systems through natural conversation. This approach opens new possibilities for businesses to automate and optimize engagements. While the potential for transforming the customer experience (CX) should be immediately obvious, that is only part of the AI transformation story. Conversational AI also will redefine how employees engage with their companies’ digital tools and make workers more productive overall.

At next week’s Digital Workforce Summit on May 8th in NYC, executives from leading enterprises such as JP Morgan Chase & Co, Telefonica and BNP Paribas (to name just a few) will discuss the impact AI has made from the back office to the front office. In previous posts, we’ve described how Conversational AI will improve customer engagements, but in this post we will take a moment to explore the effects on the workforce.

Take a (Cognitive) Load Off

Conversational AI is the latest chapter in human workers’ relationship with information. In pre-digital times, information would be stored in elaborate analog filing systems that humans would need to navigate to physically retrieve or store documents. Once computers came along, it made locating information far more efficient — an efficiency that accelerated with each new chapter in UI, from hand-coded DOS file managers, to keyboard-and-mouse GUIs, and finally to the emerging conversational interfaces of today.

With a conversational interface, a worker can easily locate relevant information simply by conversing with a digital system just as they would with another human. More advanced systems will be able to discern user intent from however a user speaks, either casually or more formally — everything from, “Please pull up the email from Jane Smith from last Tuesday,” to “Jane says she sent an email last week, can you get that for me?” This intuitive ease of access means that new employees or ones switching roles will have reduced training requirements on a company’s digital systems, as access to information and applications is streamlined.

Conversational AI also allows systems to take on much of the “cognitive load.” Not only can employees lean on these platforms for information access, but they can assist workers by passively observing processes and intelligently providing information and guidance. For example, a major insurance provider partnered its customer-facing agents with our industry-leading virtual agent Amelia and was able to lower average call times and increase the amount of issues resolved in just one call.

High-Level Command Center

Conversational AI adds another dimension to workplace productivity when combined with intelligent backend automations such as our autonomic backend system Amelia AIOps (formerly 1Desk). By using this platform, which includes Amelia as the interface, employees need only provide high-level directions, and the autonomic system will execute automated processes end-to-end with machine efficiency.

How would this work in real life? A marketing manager needing to create and execute a new post-purchase messaging campaign could say to Amelia in AIOps, “Please send an email to all customers in the Northeast who have spent more than $200 with us in the past year and include the latest online promo code. And please send a campaign report to my team.”

Previously, this sort of complex task would require numerous employees across various departments, but it can be handled efficiently and quickly by a single human worker interfacing with a digital colleague. This allows companies to be more versatile and experimental in how they assign work. With AI, human roles can be divorced from rote tasks so they can concentrate on their uniquely human skillsets like creative problem solving, negotiation and customer empathy.

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