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How to Encourage Employee Productivity With Artificial Intelligence

From time-blocking to to-do lists, there are countless time-tested methods to encourage employees to make the most of their time on the clock. They’re still useful, but many HR professionals are beginning to use artificial intelligence (AI) to capitalize on employees’ available hours. Forward-thinking people in the human resources sector can do that in several ways.

1. Use AI-Based Chat Interfaces

A McKinsey report revealed when employees have access to a searchable record of knowledge, the time they spend looking for information could go down by as much as 35 percent. That’s why customer service chat interfaces with AI technology could help employees serve people faster and provide more relevant assistance.

A platform called Agent.AI uses machine learning to suggest responses for representatives to give customers. There’s also a feature that lets AI-enabled chatbots answer the most common queries people have, freeing people up to tackle the more complex questions without feeling bogged down by giving repetitive and simplistic answers.

2. Try Smart Document-Sorting Solutions

Organizing paperwork is a task most workers have to get involved in at least occasionally, regardless of their line of work. Unfortunately, most people don’t find the responsibility exciting, and often complain it takes up too much of their time — especially when they remain careful to avoid making mistakes.

That’s why some companies are looking for ways to depend on AI to save time and improve accuracy. In one case study, a company that received approximately 1,200 invoices every month implemented artificial intelligence to sort documents by type and scan for important information needed by the business’ accounting team. By doing so, they cut down the processing time for invoices by more than 45 minutes.

Also, a company called Ripcord offers a combination robotic and AI solution to handle papers, remove staples and classify materials. According to the company’s website, the AI component can achieve upwards of 90 percent accuracy with adequate training.

Artificial intelligence may not completely remove the human element required when dealing with paperwork. However, it facilitates organizing large batches of documents in less time, giving employees a helping hand and preventing them from rushing.

3. Streamline the Process of Scheduling Meetings

Research indicates the timing of meetings influences the likelihood of people being free to attend them and showing up ready to meaningfully engage and make decisions. However, trying to choose a day and time that suits the most people can seem like an impossible feat. While following up with attendees and poring over empty spaces on a calendar, employees could collectively waste hours they should have spent doing something else.

Fortunately, there are AI-powered meeting schedulers ready to pitch in. In many cases, users just have to send emails to dedicated addresses linked to the AI technology.

There’s Julie Desk, which can add items to a person’s agenda and postpone or reschedule meetings. There’s also a profile feature that allows an individual to set preferences, such as that gatherings should only last for a specified maximum length or less, or should not occur on Thursdays. The more an employee uses the program, the smarter it becomes by learning routine practices.

Similarly, a service called X.ai uses AI-driven virtual assistants named Amy and Andrew to reply to individuals’ requests to meet, reschedule prior engagements or find time in a user’s schedule to fit in a meeting.

4. Increase Understanding of How to Best Help Customers

Although lucrative, selling things to the target market can be time-consuming in itself. While crafting their pitches, salespeople have to figure out how to appeal to clients’ deepest needs. Often, information gathering occurs through one-on-one conversations that happen either in person or online. However, there’s a chance a customer may not be honest with a sales representative.

Perhaps the individual doesn’t want to admit he or she has some uncertainties about making a purchase, or doesn’t want to divulge financial difficulties that could make it harder to buy big-ticket items. Eventually, those hesitations come to light, frustrating the sales representative, who knows the customer’s lack of transparency made the transaction less efficient and maybe not even fruitful at all.

However, various companies depend on AI to track and analyze customer behaviors and predict what they genuinely want. Amazon and Netflix both do that by recommending products or streaming content, respectively, based on past actions taken on those sites.

In Ireland, Ulster Bank hired a French company to deploy Salesforce’s Einstein platform. It combs through customer data and enables representatives from the bank to use the collected insights to recommend the most appropriate products for customers, whether they’re savings accounts or loans. Also, AiZimov has a sales-specific platform that analyzes multiple sources to help sales representatives reach out to clients in worthwhile ways via email.

Whether at a bank or in another setting, this customer-centric approach does more than empower employees to assist customers. It makes those clients feel valued and understood.

5. Save Time When Ordering Supplies

Reordering supplies is a responsibility many people think of as a necessary headache. The process of selecting quantities and adding products to a virtual shopping cart quickly becomes tedious.

However, Staples launched a voice-activated platform that uses IBM’s Watson Conversation Service to make purchasing supplies much simpler and more efficient. It learns a company’s preferences and anticipates future needs. Due to its hands-free, no-hassle nature, the platform allows people to do other things while ordering and makes purchases painless.

Using an updated version of Staples’ “Easy Button,” as popularized in the brand’s TV commercials, a user tells the gadget what they’re looking for. The AI technology analyzes the speech, then looks at past purchase data to determine purchasing intent. After selecting a product that’s likely what the customer wants, the software reads back the item and asks the person to clarify it’s correct.

These are just some of the numerous ways AI can help employees get more done at work. As technology continues to improve, workers’ overall output could, too.


Also published on Medium.