AI in business: Why AI and humans are collaborators, not competitors

Will automation and artificial intelligence (AI) in business replace human agents? Customer service employees often ponder this, as one thing is certain: new technologies are changing the way contact centers operate. But these fears are unfounded. Discover why automation and AI will enhance rather than replace humans and how these technologies can positively impact the nature of work.

Humans and machines complement one another

There is growing evidence that automation will enhance, rather than replace human agents.

Machines are incredibly strong when it comes to precise repetition and rapid computation. Whilst humans get fatigued and are prone to mistakes, machines can perform repetitive, straightforward tasks accurately all day long without getting bored. What they lack however is empathy, creativity, and the ability to express and experience emotions. This is where humans shine. Humans can react to nuances of emotion and engage in complex conversations.

These unique skillsets of humans and machines complement each other well. Their collaborative intelligence can positively transform the workplace – a chance for the future of AI and business. In a survey of 1,500 companies, it was found that performance improvements were most significant when humans and machines worked together. Combining human talent with the nearly limitless capacity of intelligent machines opens new frontiers and innovative solutions that neither could find alone.

AI in customer service: The human experience remains important

Automation and AI have successfully increased productivity while lowering costs. Yet these technologies should be deployed with care, as people still want personal connections and are willing to pay a premium for a human experience. That’s why, especially in contact centers, it is important to evaluate where interactions create value for the business and the customers alike – and to invest in these with skilled employees.

However, customers also want an efficient service, and this is where automation and AI can help. They offer two major benefits:

  1. Machines make great assistants. They can take the load off human agents by automating time-consuming and repetitive tasks. This might include things such as entering customer data into a CRM, opening a ticket for a customer case, or looking up a tracking number. Such automations are often very simple and yield big results in terms of productivity.
  2. Virtual agents can also be used to help human agents to navigate systems more smoothly. With tools such as Microsoft Virtual Agents, chatbots can easily be built to assist human agents directly in Teams. These could be used in the HR department to create a bot for questions about vacation balance or benefits. Or the Marketing department could create a bot that answers questions about where to find templates and logos.

Automating these mindless tasks allows agents to invest more time into building strong relationships with customers that drive the business forward.

The workforce needs to be appropriately trained for the future of AI

As AI and automation improve, they will inadvertently change the nature of work. 82% of AI adopters believe that employees will need different skills in the future. Consequently, it is important to adequately train human agents to fully leverage the power of these new technologies. To ensure that employees see AI as an enhancement rather than as competition, the following tips should be taken to heart:

  • Have human agents at the top of mind and include them in the deployment process.
  • To make them feel empowered, rather than threatened by AI, inform employees about how these technologies will help, rather than replace them.
  • To ensure a successful digitalization strategy, it is imperative that employees are included in the conversation, so that they can voice their concerns and ideas.

AI and human agents are not competitors, but rather co-workers. Together they have a collaborative intelligence that can move business forward and create innovative solutions. When employees are included in the deployment phase and can openly voice their opinion, machines will empower them. That way, AI in business can make humans happier and more productive.

Learn more about how to leverage the power of collaborative intelligence

If you want to learn more about the innovative solutions of AI in business, you can read our article about the potential of AI in customer service.