HR, Recruiting Technology

The Future of Work Is All ‘Talk’

Consumers today are hot on conversational artificial intelligence (AI), whether they’re shopping online via mobile-based digital assistants (e.g., Siri or The Google Assistant) or tapping their smart speaker (e.g., the Amazon Echo or Google Home) for flight updates, travel tips, and local weather information for their travel destinations.

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Case in point: These technologies have already made a palpable impact on consumer behaviors. According to “The Smart Audio Report” from NPR and Edison Research, 42% of current users say smart speakers are essential to their everyday lives, with 65% saying they wouldn’t want to go back to living without one.

Just as these technologies are impacting the way people live, they are also transforming the way people work, e.g., by adding the power of voice to daily workplace processes like completing paperwork for HR, creating accounts for new hires, communicating with colleagues, and more.

Here are three motivators for integrating conversational AI into enterprise systems and the return on investment (ROI) for organizations in terms of increasing employee productivity, optimizing customer success, and meeting expectations for digital-first talent.

Empower Employees to ‘Talk the Talk’

Businesses are increasingly turning to AI-powered “digital colleagues” such as IPsoft’s Amelia to apply a Natural Language Interface (NLI) to their enterprise digital systems. AI-powered conversational user interfaces (UIs) empower users to access internal systems regardless of department or technical know-how.

For example, these technologies would empower an accountant in accounts receivable to independently resolve an IT issue without relying on intermediation from an IT worker or having to engage with an (potentially complicated) IT management system—he or she will simply ask his or her automated digital colleague to “please reset my password.”

This new technological paradigm provides employees with 24/7 access to services and solutions without any training—they will be able to access these enterprise systems on day one. Far from replacing workers in internal-facing departments, these technologies will free them from high-volume, low-level requests so they can concentrate their time on building business value.

Win and Retain Digital Natives with the Next-Gen Tools They Expect

The future of work will rely on next-gen communications tools—from conversational interfaces to automated services—because they are conducive to our digitally driven and increasingly remote workforce.

What’s more, the adoption of these technological innovations will eliminate the need for extraneous time spent onboarding and training employees because they enable workers to self-service these tasks from the convenience of their home, local coffee shop, or anywhere in the world outside of their company’s headquarters.

Examples might include submitting information for their W-2 by talking to their company’s digital colleague or verbally taking a test around a new product launch by responding to a multiple-choice Q&A via their personal smart speaker.

Conversational AI will also be invaluable in welcoming the digital-first Generation Z to the workforce. This is a generation that will have grown up with an expectation of (and aptitude for) conversing with digital systems.

In other words, digital natives are primed to succeed in the conversational age and will likely set new standards for accomplishing tasks through the power of talk. The companies that don’t offer these experiences risk being left behind or losing out on the top talent they need to get ahead of competitors.

Invest in the Employee Experience to Ensure Customer Success

The impact of the employee experience on customer satisfaction is undeniable and well-documented. In fact, a report by The Medallia Institute reveals that companies that ask for and leverage employee feedback about how customers view their experiences are 15% more likely to improve customer ratings than companies that don’t ask for employee feedback.

Additionally, a recent Forrester survey finds that although customer experience (CX) performance has been flat for the past 3 years, predictions show that using automation will be vital to improving the employee experience (e.g., by freeing up time, headspace, and funds), which will ultimately help develop the expertise enterprises need to boost CX.

When it comes to the implementation and use of conversational AI, the same principles apply. Employee engagement and comfort with using conversational AI directly inform customer experiences with the technology. While the learning input for conversational AI systems will be vastly different between employees and customers (internal, finite audiences within a workplace setting vs. a broad scope of customer needs and opportunities), fostering engaged employees around the technology will help make customers enthusiastic about implementing and using the technology themselves.

These are just a few examples of how conversational AI will impact the workplace in 2019 and beyond. As enterprises vie for digital talent to improve their CX programs, it is critical that they look at the tools that consumers and young talent are already using to make their lives easier. Conversational AI is the natural solution to streamlining workplace processes, boosting productivity, and improving the CX.

Rohinee Mohindroo is Head of Cognitive Implementations at IPsoft, global end-to-end digital platform solutions provider and maker of Amelia, the industry’s most-human digital AI colleague. Prior to joining IPsoft, Rohinee served as a CIO at Rakuten Marketing where she designed a shared services operating model for the tech organization. She has also led organizational and integration initiatives for large-scale mergers and acquisitions at MetLife Individual Business and JP Morgan Chase.Rohinee earned her BS and MS in Computer Science from Monmouth University with minors in Accounting, Mathematics, and Psychology.