The rapid evolution of AI technology has captured the public interest. Already, it is having a significant impact on the way we communicate with one another in our daily lives.
With further investment into chatbot technology from major players like Microsoft and Google, advancement in the space is inevitable. The integration of AI into businesses is set to have a transformative effect on operations. It is set to pave the way for streamlined processes and improved experiences for customers and employees alike.
While many larger companies are already utilising AI to maximise efficiency, the reality for many businesses is that current practices are not optimised to deliver the best experiences, either for customers or staff.
New research reveals that outdated protocols are placing unnecessary stress on the workforce, particularly at a managerial level. Managers are losing seven working days each year answering general operational and administrative questions. Just less than a quarter (24%) are suffering with increased stress as a result.
Basic administrative questions related to booking holidays and filing expenses are ranked as the most commonly asked questions. It is clear that managers’ time is being wasted by dealing with simple queries. And those that could easily and instantly be answered by AI.
Businesses currently lack the necessary protocols to deal with queries efficiently, leaving overworked managers to pick up the slack. This is having an adverse effect on their productivity, work-life balance, and general wellbeing. 35% of managers have less time to focus on critical tasks and 32% work outside of office hours to complete work they don’t get time to do during the day due to answering general administrative questions from employees.
Not only are current mechanisms damaging business performance and employee morale; they are completely avoidable. Readily available AI tools can be implemented to increase employee agency, aid productivity and improve satisfaction. This will ensure that the best customer service is being delivered at all levels.
Best practice should be prioritised from day one. And this begins with the onboarding process. Ensuring that new hires have access to all the information they need will foster independent learning and minimise the need for input from managers. This will inevitably free them up to focus on mission critical tasks.
85% of employees have reported that information on general procedures is not easily accessible. Therefore, integrating an internal knowledge base chatbot to centralise company information in one place will help address this concern. Providing new employees with the resources they need to succeed in their new role, such technology is purpose built to enhance speed and efficiency. This is further empowering staff to forge strong connections with customers and complete tasks to the best of their ability.
Levelling the playing field
With the drive for productivity increasing workloads across the board, it is perhaps unsurprising that over a fifth of employees think that managers are too busy to respond to their general questions. As getting an answer to a query becomes more and moretime consuming, research from the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) found that AI assistance is especially useful for newer or less-skilled employees and can help flatten the learning curve.
When using an AI chatbot, agents with two months of experience performed as well as those with six months of experience. The efficacy of such technology should not be underestimated by decision makers – those who are interested in meeting long-term business goals must seek to invest in their employees and the tools that are designed to equip and empower them to succeed.
Given the current landscape, driving productivity and retention will continue to be key priorities. Further utilising technology can help businesses achieve these goals. The NBER research found that AI assistance markedly improved employees’ day-to-day work. It was responsible for boosting productivity, strengthening retention and facilitating better customer interactions.
Although just 19% of staff currently access information via internal chatbot technology, the view from employees is clear. Over a third believe that integrating an internal chatbot would help them find answers without having to rely on others. Decision makers who are serious about prioritising long-term growth and building lasting relationships with staff and customers stand to benefit from AI technology that can improve the agency of team members and create outstanding customer experiences.
The future of work
As public discussions surrounding AI continue and more companies pledge investment, it is clear that technology will play a crucial role in the way we do our jobs going forward. Limiting inefficiencies and maximising opportunities for growth will require decisive action from business leaders. Many of whom will be eager to capitalise on the various benefits that AI can bring to the workplace and leverage technology that aligns with key business objectives.