How AI Can Give You Time to Think

Not long ago, I asked audiences at our Adapt Before You Have To roadshow what they'd do if they had a few more hours in each day. One workforce manager at a major firm said simply: "Think."

At first, we all shared a laugh. But the more I thought about his answer, the more I realized how insightful it really was — and how relatable. We sometimes find ourselves on autopilot going from one meeting to another, one fire to another… without time to really think or plan ahead.

Imagine what you could accomplish if you could automate some of the most tedious and repetitive parts of your job. Maybe you would brainstorm new ways to allocate resources. Perhaps you would take a deep dive into the numbers to improve operational efficiency. Or maybe you would even have an epiphany that results in massive savings for your company.

Artificial intelligence offers a solution, one that is becoming increasingly woven into the fabric of our days. About five in six Americans already use a product or service that features it, according to a recent Gallup survey. And a report by Gartner projects that 40 percent of new enterprise applications will include AI technologies by 2021.

AI-driven tools do more than make your workday easier; they can help you find those extra hours in the day to just think. They can free you for high-level activities involving creativity, critical thinking and empathy. They can help you reach higher.

Among the tasks AI-driven solutions like NICE Employee Engagement Manager can take off workforce managers' plates:

  • Intelligently identifying solutions to address staffing gaps: AI can be used to continuously analyze data from workforce management (WFM) systems according to customized rules and then recommend solutions to any problems identified. Supervisors can decide whether to apply a solution and have it automatically implemented.  
  • Proactively managing agent communication: AI can free supervisors from the need to micromanage employee time. Whether an employee is late coming back from break, exceeds "after contact work" (ACW) time thresholds or is due for a training session in ten minutes, an AI-powered solution can send an automatic text to get the employee back on track. AI can also be used to help fill schedules. If the contact center is experiencing over- or understaffing, enterprise AI solutions can automatically message employees to ask if they would like to take time off (paid or unpaid) or work available extra hours. Agents then accept or reject the proposal, and the schedule updates automatically.  
  • Automatically adjusting schedules: Dealing with schedule changes and time-off requests can soak up a huge amount of a workforce manager's "thinking" time. AI-driven workforce management solutions can give agents the freedom to manage their own schedules based on intelligent rules. From swapping time with other agents to helping balance over- or understaffing, they can control their schedules from their smartphones. Rule-based processes can be set up to automatically accept changes or send them to a manager for approval -- or a combination of the two.

Ask yourself: If you had more time in the work day to think, what great things could you accomplish?