There is no question that artificial intelligence (A.I.) is in the process of radically transforming the workplace. As a $15 billion industry expected to grow to more than $70 billion by 2020, it’s clear that in the future, A.I. will change almost everything in the way that we live and work. And the future is here already; employees in tech-savvy organizations are actively engaged with bots as part of their everyday jobs.
Studies show that up to 45 percent of professional activities can be automated, including the work of the highest-paid occupations such as managers, senior executives, and even CEOs. Rather than fear it, today’s top innovative companies are embracing the potential of automation to reduce routine and mundane work and allow employees to focus on higher level tasks that require unstructured creativity and emotional empathy.
From marketing to customer service, HR to engineering, employees at top companies are embracing artificial intelligence’s ability to boost efficiency, productivity, and morale across departments.
Sales teams are using bots to cultivate and communicate with leads. For example, Signpost‘s Mia bot uses machine learning to transform the traditional CRM model. Through A.I.-driven back and forth email and SMS messages, Mia automates objectives such as five-star reviews and customer referrals. Mia creates personalized messages that nurture leads until they are ready to be passed to a human salesperson. Other tools, such as Troops, pull CRM data into Slack, giving salespeople and account managers easy access to customer information without the need to log into Salesforce.
Human resource departments are using various A.I. tools to manage training, feedback, and project managing. Careerlark is a Slack bot tool that facilitates micro-feedback after a meeting. Obie is another Slack bot that streamlines new hire onboarding and notifies the team about hires, policy updates, and relevant HR content changes. On the recruiting side, Restless Bandit is an A.I. system that uses algorithms and machine learning to find the best-matched candidate for an open position. Rather than sift through endless LinkedIn profiles, an HR manager can focus her time on actually talking to the best talent.
Smart companies are building and implementing bots to streamline internal workflows. B12.io, a web design company, uses a series of in-house bots to project manage their geographically distributed web design team. A bot automatically assigns new clients to designers based on the project requirements and the designer’s availability, experience, portfolio, and so on. The system also checks in with the designer at designated times along the project and moves the project along steps such as home page design, QA testing, and final client delivery. Mundane tasks such as planning, tracking, and resource allocation can be automated and made efficient with A.I.
Customers no longer need or want to speak to a human in instances such as checking store hours or confirming account balances. Furthermore, customer support agents end up copying and pasting templated answers many times over the course of a typical day. This provides a ripe opportunity for companies to create an excellent customer service experience and cut costs by outsourcing basic customer service questions to a bot. Unlike humans, bots are not bored by regurgitating a script and excel at answering the same questions 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Companies such as Interactions have built customer service bots for numerous large corporations. Other brands such as 1-800-Flowers and Domino’s Pizza have built bots take orders from customers online from Facebook Messenger and other channels.
Different tools are also making the job of the finance manager easier. Expensify, the online expense processing platform concierge bot uses machine learning to simplify receipt categorization. The bot can determine whether transactions fall within the company policy automatically, and if so, send it to the user’s manager for approval. Sophisticated finance departments are also using machine learning algorithms to develop live models to forecast sales in intelligent ways.
Marketers are embracing tools such as Statsbots to search for the latest marketing metrics and statistics without having to launch Google Analytics. Hubspot created Growthbot to provide easy answers to common marketing questions, share company information, and offer personalized growth tips. These tools save marketing analysts from spending countless hours pulling and consolidating numbers.
It’s clear that artificial intelligence is already drastically changing the way we do our jobs. Change often brings with it fear and uncertainty, and many express concern that robots coming for our jobs. However, the most innovative companies see the emergence of A.I. as an opportunity, not a threat. Their strategies for how human workers can work with instead of against emerging A.I. technology predicts a brighter and more interesting future of work for all of us.