Sam works as a customer service representative for a large national bank. He receives a notification from the company’s chatbot about an interaction with a long-time customer, Linda. Sam immediately notices that Linda visited a branch to inquire about a new credit card and applied for one through their website last night.
Sam takes over the interaction after the chatbot confirms Linda’s account information. As he anticipated, Linda wants to check on the status of her application. She mentions that she has a big trip coming up and would like to have her new credit card in time. As Sam navigates through their software, he also notices that Linda’s birthday is coming up. After a few seconds, Sam quickly confirms that her application has been approved and that she’ll receive her new credit card by the end of the week. When they reach the end of the chat interaction, Sam wishes her a happy early birthday. Linda, already thrilled by the quick and helpful service, thanks Sam and mentions that the upcoming trip is indeed for her birthday. She is blown away by the personal and friendly conversation and leaves great remarks in a customer service survey.
Sam has access to all of this information through the power of artificial intelligence. His company recently implemented a chatbot that initiates simple conversations and software that provides a 360-degree snapshot of Linda’s customer profile. At first, his customer service team was skeptical of the technology, fearing it would be too difficult to navigate—and might make their jobs obsolete. Now that the team has received ample training, they can’t imagine their jobs without it.
AI integration is skyrocketing
Many leaders, like Sam’s boss, expect artificial intelligence to dramatically change the way their companies do business. According to a survey by Accenture, nearly all of the 1,200 participants say they plan to use intelligent tools to enhance employee capabilities. Another 74% expect to automate a “large extent” of tasks with AI over the next three years. The rise of AI in the workplace is so dramatic that global spending on cognitive and AI systems increased by nearly 60% in the last year—and it’s just getting started.
The integration of intelligent platforms into everyday work means that jobs for humans are changing. The most significant impact of AI won’t be on the number of skilled workers, but rather on the tasks and responsibilities of those workers. Accenture found that nearly 61% of business leaders expect roles that collaborate with AI to increase by 2020. For customer service roles like Sam’s, the integration of a chatbot that handles simple interactions means that he’ll focus on more project-based work. He’ll also collaborate with AI to access helpful customer information. While this human-machine collaboration has the potential to boost revenue and customer service performance, success will ultimately depend on how effectively humans and AI work together.
Training drives success
While most workers are excited about working with AI, only 34% of Accenture’s survey respondents feel confident about their current technology skills. Approximately 67% of workers say that they want to learn technology skills in order to succeed in a new era of work. Business leaders also recognize skill shortages as a key challenge to implementing new technology. Despite these realities, just 3% of executives intend to increase investments in training and re-skilling programs that focus on AI. Without a deep commitment to training, companies will be hard-pressed to effectively deploy and use emerging technologies at scale.
While many companies want to innovate with AI, they also must innovate in training to fill new and reconfigured job roles.
In order to improve productivity and growth, business leaders should take steps to train and re-skill employees for the future. Here are a few steps to consider:
Prioritize skills for development
In order to successfully work with AI, employees need a few key skills. Accenture found that business leaders believe the five most important skills include resource management, leadership, communication, problem-solving, and decision-making.
However, this is not a one-size-fits-all skillset. It’s important for leaders to offer training based on the specific type of AI each employee will use. Customer service reps like Sam should receive training about how to utilize AI in their day-to-day work or interact with a customer who didn’t receive great service from a chatbot.
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Target training for skill levels
Training for AI should also be tailored to suit an employee’s skill level. While an overwhelming majority of workers are willing to learn, their confidence to work with AI varies by age. Accenture found that Generation Z and Millennial workers feel twice as confident in their technical skills and abilities than Baby Boomers and Generation X. Companies must tailor training efforts and learning paths accordingly.
Overall, 62% of workers in Accenture’s study think AI will positively impact their work. However, the motivation to learn new skills varies by age. Unlike Millennials, who want to learn new skills to advance their careers, baby boomers are more motivated to learn in order to keep their jobs. Leaders should consider what motivates their workforce and provide training that employees find most beneficial.
Create innovative learning experiences
As the future moves toward an AI-enabled workforce, antiquated training methods—like classroom lectures—should be a thing of the past. Instead, companies need to adopt modern learning methods that help workers master new tasks and skills. Online training platforms empower employees and provide them with the competencies needed to keep up with the rise of artificial intelligence.
Online technology also helps to democratize learning. Training materials— focused on specific teams or workers—can be curated by experts across the company. By creating custom training materials based on specific roles, workers are more likely to be engaged. Furthermore, online training is able to combine learning with hands-on practice in order to create an immersive learning experience.
AI is redefining the workplace across every industry. Forward-thinking organizations will achieve success if they help their teammates embrace emerging technologies. By providing custom- tailored learning experiences that focus on the core skills needed to work with AI, organizations will empower employees for future success.
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World-class customer service and sales teams use Lessonly to provide their employees with relevant training—so they can do better work. With intuitive tools like Lessonly for Chrome, teams learn, practice, and perform like never before. Take a tour today and see how Lessonly drives powerfully simple team training.