Revolutionizing Contact Centers & Jobs
- AI integration. AI workplace integration boosts productivity and morale with clear communication and skills training.
- Upskilling essential. AI in the contact center requires investment in employee training to leverage AI benefits fully.
- Strengths matter. Prioritizing employee strengths enhances customer satisfaction and reduces burnout in AI-enhanced environments.
As the AI boom of 2023 transforms into a year of implementation in 2024, business leaders are eager to integrate new technology for a more productive workplace. It’s not a secret that some employees across industries are concerned about the impact of AI on their job security. This sentiment is particularly relevant for agents in contact centers, who stand to benefit from using these advancements. Without the proper skills to take advantage of this technology, workers may harbor fears that AI will replace them, rather than help them.
Let’s take a look at AI workplace integration in the contact center.
As business leaders consider how to leverage AI most effectively, it is essential that they instill confidence in their workforce. According to a recent study by BCG, leaders are much more optimistic than frontline employees about AI, corresponding to data that indicates they are more likely to have received training on the new technology.
For successful AI workplace integration in contact centers, leaders and agent supervisors need to prioritize: (i) transparent communication, (ii) upskilling programs, and (iii) meaningful use of AI in their day-to-day activities to best complement and amplify employee strengths to deliver the best customer experience. When contact center agents are supported in these three ways, they will have an improved perception of AI as a tool to support them and boost their confidence in their ability to be productive in their daily work, rather than seek to replace them.
1. Prioritize Transparent Communication for Successful AI Workplace Integration
A staggering 75% of employees reported they would be more excited about AI if their company was more transparent about how the technology is being used. Additionally, 54% say they have no idea how their company is using it, according to a study from UKG. This widening knowledge gap underscores the importance of leaders communicating the benefits, changes, and opportunities associated with AI to their employees.
Being transparent and forthcoming in employee communication around AI can alleviate employee concerns and enhance morale. Employees who are engaged and trust their employers are more likely to meaningfully leverage AI in their daily work, while those who believe AI will replace their jobs reported a 27% lower intent to stay with their organization compared to employees who don’t feel threatened by the technology. Instilling confidence and a sense of security in the workforce can also encourage workers to experiment with AI and raise their hand for opportunities that involve new and developing skills.
Related Article: AI in the Workplace: Jobs, Creativity, & Ethics at Stake?
2. Invest in AI Upskilling Programs
As leaders eagerly introduce AI into their systems for transformative benefits, it’s crucial to recognize that AI can only enhance productivity if workers are equipped with the necessary skills. Many employees may lack knowledge about AI, so organizations need to implement training programs tailored to their roles. In contact centers, supervisors should collaborate with leadership teams to identify areas where AI implementation would benefit both employees and the business.
In contact centers, supervisors must collaborate with wider leadership teams to identify where investing in AI would most greatly benefit employees and the business.
Once an AI implementation plan is in place, the next step is to develop and facilitate AI-focused trainings. According to a recent Gallup study, 65% of workers believe employer-provided upskilling is very important when evaluating a potential new job, and 48% of workers in the United States would switch to a new job if offered opportunities for skills training.
In summary, upskilling can increase employee retention, create a flexible workforce capable of navigating change and help to expand individual abilities with AI and beyond.
Related Article: How AI Integration Can Power Better Human Experiences
3. Prioritize Employee Strengths for Customer and Corporate Satisfaction
Contact center agents play a crucial role for consumers who value human connection in their customer service experiences. In fact, 48% of consumers are highly concerned about the lack of humans to connect with if companies use AI to automate their interactions, and nearly half of respondents are also highly concerned about poor quality of customer service interactions. The fact is, AI can’t yet replicate soft skills like adaptability, collaboration or empathy — skills that are highly valued by consumers looking to resolve problems.
To find the right balance, leaders must assess opportunities in their workforce to identify where AI can enhance the agent and customer experience. For example, AI can do the heavy lifting to identify the best answer to questions, provide the agent with an understanding of the customer and their current temperament, therefore allowing those agents to best address the customer’s need — regardless of whether the customer is inquisitive and interested, highly agitated, or deeply concerned. This allows companies to meet their customers where they are, in the way they prefer — whether that be a virtual or human agent. It also empowers employees to play to their strengths, supporting a more positive experience for customers while maximizing their own efficiency and reducing burnout.
Related Article: AI Integration Enhances Decision Trees for Better CX
A People-First Mindset Supports Employees and the Business Success
As one of the industries with highest burnout, contact center agents stand to greatly benefit from AI workplace integration. With transparent company communication, meaningful upskilling initiatives and strategic implementation, leaders and supervisors can effectively raise employee morale and reap the benefits of AI, like productivity and innovation. AI should be seen as a tool and support technology, not a threat. Applying a people-first mindset is essential to the success of adopting emerging technologies.
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