Gone are the frustrating rudimentary responses, replaced instead with intuitive conversations that simplify all kinds of interactions. Intelligent chatbots, or digital employees as they’re more commonly called now, have not only found their place in strengthening customer experience (CX), but are also streamlining internal operations to free up an organisation’s human resource for more complex tasks and problem solving.
Let’s take a look at how different organisations are already putting digital employees to work in their business:
Smart & streamlined robo advice
Innovation in customer service is generally focused around how to make the experience easier, faster and more straightforward. Early iterations of chatbots in the banking and finance industry were designed to take care of simple enquiries that would otherwise require a more convoluted user experience on a website or app, or a phone call to a manned help desk. They were able to capture pre-defined parameters that were used to build a customer profile.
As technology has evolved, so too has the complexity of what robo-advisors are now able to perform. Now they’re taking care of tasks ranging from account opening, onboarding clients, building a portfolio, handling transfers and bill payments, and responding to specific enquiries - similar to what Jade was able to achieve with Ace, a digital employee for the insurance industry. In doing so, they’re making wealth managers more efficient, removing routine tasks and allowing them to instead focus on client relationships, analysing data and managing more complex portfolios.
Productivity-boosting personal assistants
Having a personal assistant is now not a luxury reserved for C-suite execs. In the same way that popular consumer technology like Alexa and Google Home are connecting devices and answering queries at home, digital employees (like Microsoft’s Cortana) are taking care of mundane or repetitive administration tasks, coordinating meetings, connecting with customers, managing infrastructure, processing requests and streamlining workflows and logistics for all kinds of roles in the workplace.
Other digital employee applications can augment existing technology. Take the integration of Slack and Howdy, for example. Howdy helps team manage projects by scheduling meetings, sharing meeting notes and collecting information from team members.
The outcome is improved productivity and engagement, and while time-saving is a perk, in many cases it’s also improving accuracy and reducing costly human error.
24/7 customer service
In a world where consumers demand instant access to support and information, it makes sense that more and more businesses are turning to technology to reduce response times and resource cost. Salesforce’s recent State of Service survey showed that 53% of service organisations expect to use chatbots within 18 months.
Even today, few of us could say we haven’t had our own experience with a customer service chatbot - some of you may have already met Jules, ACC’s customer chatbot who is available to answer questions about invoices and payments.
Digital employees work around the clock to answer detailed questions, revolve complaints or problems, make reservations, pay bills, and purchase products across industries such as retail, healthcare, banking and finance, insurance, telecoms and even government departments.
Reducing operational overwhelm
But it’s not just consumers who benefit from assistance from a digital employee. Increasingly, organisations are leveraging intelligent chatbot technology to manage internal queries for heavily-process-driven departments such and HR and IT.
For HR, automation has focused around things like self-service platforms, policy and contract management, applicant tracking and performance review portals. Intel built a virtual HR agent called Ivy, who is able to answer employee questions about pay, benefits and HR programmes. Similarly, IT teams overwhelmed by a backlog of tickets can benefit from the use of intelligent chatbots (like James) who act as IT support for more rudimentary requests such as login resets, asset management and printer set-ups.
And then there's digital baristas
While we haven't implemented a digital barista into any businesses, we created Bella to help people think big, think different. Approaching digital employees with an open mind could take your organisation anywhere. And with the right people at the helm of the project, anything's possible.
Final thoughts on digital employees
What often holds an organisation back from embracing the possibilities offered by a digital employee is the notion that they are introducing ‘artificial intelligence’ into their business at the cost of their human workforce. But virtual employees are not there so much to replace your existing workforce, but to support and enable them to do their roles with more efficiency and efficacy.
When you consider it like this, and having seen the examples above on how intelligent chatbots are already working for different organisations, does it spark inspiration on how a digital employee could work for your business?
If you’re keen to further explore the potential of a digital employee, we’ve got even more on this topic to discover on our blog.