Artificial intelligence-based (AI) digital colleagues will revolutionize the ways in which humans do their jobs. When employed in collaboration with human colleagues, AI can be used to educate, calculate, problem solve and, ultimately, accelerate work in almost every digital role. Don’t think of AI as a replacement for a particular role; instead think of AI as a partner with a vastly different skillset who is hired to complement the role. If you approach AI with this mindset, you’ll begin to see just how powerful humans and AI can be when employed as a unified whole.
Let’s detail the following ways that digital colleagues boost productivity:
- As a whisper agent for support.
- Assuming routine tasks.
- Instant calculations and recommendations.
- Fraud detection and prevention.
- Instant data entry and recall.
As a whisper agent for support
The vast majority of contact center agents are intelligent and informed. But even the brightest and most informed person needs help finding information from time to time. The more complex your business is, the more likely your agents will need to search for information during a service call. These searches require agents to put customers on hold while they run searches online or, heaven forbid, rummage through papers trying to find answers. In the worst case scenarios, customer service agents are forced to transfer calls to another agent. Meanwhile, customers are forced to wait. When customers wait, customer satisfaction decreases. Even if the agent eventually finds the information, customers are inconvenienced and they take it personally – they feel their time and business are not properly valued.
When digital colleagues are hired as whisper agents for customer support, they’re always right at a human worker’s fingertips. They can find any information that lives within a company’s database (or any connected information sources). Rather than putting customers on hold, human workers simply type a question to their digital colleagues, who will then provide exact and immediate answers. Most times customers don’t even know that AI is being used to help find these answers. All they know is that they received immediate and accurate help from the first person they spoke to on your support staff. That’s a winning formula for customer satisfaction.
It’s not just about what digital colleagues can do externally — they also can serve internal workers 24/7. So, if someone has a question about a business process, or if they want to know how many vacation days they have left, they can just ask. This puts all internal business data at employees’ fingertips, so they can find answers without wasting time searching, and without interrupting other people’s work by asking a friend.
Assuming routine tasks
Ask any customer support specialist how often they’re asked to reset a password or provide a forgotten user name, and they would probably roll their eyes and sigh.
No matter what your role, you probably repeat many of the same business-related tasks over and over again through the course of a day, week or month. Filling out expense forms. Entering data into a CRM system. Digital work has made us more productive, but it has also borrowed some of the redundancy we experienced doing paper-based work.
Digital colleagues can be hired to take some of these tasks off your hands. In the case of a customer service specialist, digital colleagues can work directly with customers to help them find the answers to basic support questions. Things like password resets, account verifications, locating the nearest brick and mortar store—all of these can be handled without human intervention.
By assuming these tasks, digital colleagues allow human workers to handle more complex and unique jobs. Customers who call into contact centers with serious account troubles will be able to speak to a representative who isn’t pressed for time because 50 other password reset calls are coming into the queue.
This doesn’t start and end with customer service. Any data entry, any routine business processes, anything that can be automated can be handled autonomously by digital colleagues. For example: Mortgage processors can offload much of the application process to digital colleagues. Instead of manually collecting paperwork, checking financial data, and making a mortgage assessment, digital colleagues can do all this on their own. If and when an issue arises that requires human intervention, only then will the human mortgage processor investigate the data. We’ve seen this type of strategy used for credit card applications, opening new savings accounts, finding wealth management plans, among many other use cases.
Instant calculations and recommendations
As I mentioned above, because digital colleagues are able to process large volumes of information instantly, they’re ideal collaborators for numbers-based projects. So, when discussing mortgage and credit card applications, investments, insurance and anything that would require humans to whip out a calculator and make an assessment based on numbers, digital colleagues are very useful partners.
By taking the math out of the hands of the human worker, a digital colleague allows businesses to limit the number of mistakes, and ramps up the number of processes that can be handled correctly and quickly. Imagine a business scenario in which no human worker ever has to crunch numbers; instead, the numbers can be spoken, typed, uploaded, or even sent as an image to a digital colleague who then runs the calculations and makes a recommendation for the type of business action that is suited.
Malevolence detection and prevention
An excellent example of AI’s ability to take numbers and patterns and turn them into positive business outcomes is its ability to recognize fraud or malicious activity. AI has been a very useful ally for combating denial-of-service attacks, when malicious parties flood networks with traffic in an attempt to overload systems. Digital colleagues are able to see suspicious traffic as it begins to enter the network and alert human colleagues that something strange is happening. Humans can then take the reins and block the traffic from entering the network.
Digital colleagues also are excellent first lines of defense in fraud prevention. Some phishing attacks are made possible due to fraudsters coaxing personal information out of human service agents during an account verification processes. Human service reps may accidentally reveal information that could be used to access private accounts. Digital colleagues cannot be distracted or fooled into giving out information improperly; they may have human-like characteristics, but they have machine-level security when it comes to data protection.
Instant data entry and recall
When we think of a digital colleague as someone who can help humans perform better, we often don’t think about how much data entry is involved in standard work. For example: A busy mortgage processor gathers borrower information, manually enters it into a bank’s system, and then is unlikely to remember any detailed information later on. Sometimes someone other than the processor has entered the information, so the processor never even sees it until it’s time work on an application.
A digital colleague can take on all initial data-gathering tasks, and work with humans to feed paper-based information into a bank’s systems via images. The digital colleague will parse the data, absorb the information, and be able to use it whenever it becomes necessary. The employee then can rely on the digital colleague to make basic assessments and recommendations, which the human colleague can accept or reject, and ultimately freeing him or her to handle more volume.
If and when the human colleague has a specific question, he or she can ask the digital colleague to recall the information, rather than trying to rely on his or her own memory, or rummaging through paperwork or digital files. Imagine the time-savings associated with this refined process when multiplied over hundreds and thousands of interactions a year.
These are just five of the many ways a digital colleague can make a workforce more productive. As your business begins to explore AI, think about how it can be used to simplify, accelerate, and enhance processes. Also, think of the ways AI can assist your workers to accomplish their goals, and provide them with the opportunity to do more creative and important work.