Technology is becoming increasingly advanced, so much so, that virtual agents (VA) or chatbots can automate vital business functions, once only performed by human employees. As businesses grow, one of the most challenging questions modern leaders face is, should we hire more human employees or explore automation using artificial intelligence (AI)? The fact of the matter is that too many human employees drive up overhead, while too few limit growth opportunities.
Now, I’m not suggesting in any way that technology replaces humans 100 percent of the time. What I am suggesting is that there are circumstances where advanced technology, including AI, has become a substitute or complement to human labor, without fail, ultimately allowing human employees to focus on more complex projects. The next time you consider hiring a new employee, examine the tasks you want them to perform.
- Are they repetitive?
- Does the knowledge they need to perform their job already exist on your website or in a database?
- Will they triage before passing to a more skilled agent?
- Will they answer frequently asked questions (FAQ)?
- Will they provide navigation guidance through a self-service interface?
The above actions are all perfectly suitable for a VA. Perhaps, identify the low-impact, automatable functions that all of your employees perform, and assign them to a chatbot.
A study performed in January 2019, Inferring Work Task Automatability from AI Expert Evidence, surveyed 150 academics and industry experts in machine learning, robotics, and AI. According to the research, mail routing, recording shipping information, and estimating costs of products, services, or materials are among the most automatable work activities. Interestingly enough, two of the most automatable occupation groups include office support and sales.
If your support agents are spending even 30 minutes per day answering common FAQs, multiply that by the number of agents, and you will find that a VA will save you and your employees hours or even days per week.
Once you have decided that augmenting your team with a virtual agent will boost user experience, productivity, and efficiency, you need to hire or select the best agent/technology. After all, virtual agents will represent your company.
Our “Nurture and Develop Your Virtual Agent’s Career” eBook provides everything you need to know to hire and retain an intelligent virtual agent. This comprehensive eBook includes tips that will help you:
- Recognize the most opportune time to expand your team
- Apply the employment journey to a virtual agent
- Allocate responsibility for the virtual agent’s career
- Fortify your virtual agent’s success
Hiring digital labor is not just about productivity, but it provides opportunities for the rest of your IT team. Offloading repetitive tasks frees up time for training and more strategic initiatives. At the end of the day, a Virtual Agent may improve team morale and job satisfaction. Check out our eBook for more information on this topic.