The Staffing Crisis: It’s Time to Consider Automation

November 16, 2022
The Staffing Crisis: It’s Time to Consider Automation

The world is facing a labor crisis. It is hard to find people, and it is difficult to retain them. Sadly, this much-bemoaned worker disruption shows no signs of abating. Businesses across all industries are feeling the pain, leaving many unable to provide foundational services. The delays and disruptions have not altered customer expectations, though, and the ability to deliver and keep customers and employees, satisfied is often the determining factor in whether a business will succeed or fail. Using AI-based automation can be the answer.

Automation and Artificial Intelligence to the Rescue

Planning for continuity will help businesses keep pace with today’s continuous disruptions. Automation was the standard (and effective) answer to many process problems for years. Automating processes can eliminate human error, ensure efficiency, and speed things up, right? This continues to be accurate, but automating processes combined with artificial intelligence (AI) will proactively address today’s labor crisis in ways you may not have considered.

If staff availability is the number one challenge today, solutions that do not further strain an already burdened workforce are necessary. An AI-powered virtual agent can handle communication tasks and first-level service and support with ease, 24×7—from quickly resolving basic incidents, providing status updates, or seamlessly routing more complicated problems to a live agent equipped to help the customer. Virtual agents rely on intelligence and learning to provide personalized and engaging interactions. They make decisions and assessments to escalate when necessary. This significantly reduces the volume of tasks that fall in the lap of already overworked IT analysts, alleviating the load on them and putting it on the technology.

This shift is critical because attracting and retaining human labor is not expected to improve anytime soon. The talent competition is different than it has ever been before. According to McKinsey, “To get in the game, companies must offer adequate compensation and benefits packages; that is the ante. But to win, they must recognize how the rules of the game have changed. While workers are demanding (and receiving) higher compensation, many of them also want more flexibility, community, and an inclusive culture (what we call relational factors) to accept a full-time job at a traditional employer.” The current state of labor creates a strong incentive for exploring more robust applications of automation and AI throughout the business.

The more you overwork existing employees, the higher chance they will leave for one of many competitors waiting in the wings (or leave the workforce entirely). Leveraging technology tools for service and support, particularly ones leveraging conversational AI can improve productivity and maximize the value of the human workforce you have available, especially when it comes to complex issues. At the same time, it helps businesses adjust their attraction and retention strategy. Virtual agents take the unsustainable load off human employees, handling routine tasks, and leaving them focused on human-level logic and intelligence. Employees involved in valuable work are happier, more productive, and have a higher retention rate.

Fortunately, investing in virtual agent technology is not meant to be a short-lived solution. It will provide fast relief for today’s staffing challenges and build resilience to future disruption. The technology is also more mature with integration into rich data sources across the enterprise for more relevant and personalized responses. Advances and adoption of natural language technologies present viable paths to automate knowledge management processes so virtual agents can go beyond just FAQ-type responses. Hardware and software technologies have advanced to the point where real conversational AI is natural and human-like.

Starting from a conversational implementation of specific IT functions 5 years ago, Serviceaide’s Luma Virtual Agent now supports finding information for users from any knowledge source in your organization. Luma guides users through selecting items from organizations’ product and service catalogs; orchestration of complex multi-application business processes, accessible in collaboration channels; and mobility including location services, QR, and bar code scanning with hands-free voice interactions. Luma Virtual Agent is now the face of many service organizations, running 24×7, helping users at the proficiency of tier-1 agents, only transferring requests to a more senior agent when necessary. Ask about our customer use cases where a leading fast food retailer is using Luma to manage their IT support desk and extended it to franchise business services. Or a leading bank that improved their employee and customer self-service. With integrations across all the most widely used service management platforms, Luma Virtual Agent is transforming service requests across the enterprise.

For more information on how Luma Virtual Agent can extend your service workforce and improve operational efficiencies, schedule a meeting with a Serviceaide Solutions Expert. Providing relevant and timely answers to service questions is only the beginning of what digital labor can accomplish.

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