AI is accelerating at such a rate that it’s hard to know whether to be excited, cautious, or somewhere in between. Those erring on the side of caution might raise an eyebrow at the news that one of Google’s AI units, DeepMind, is developing an advice-based AI tool. Targeted at dispensing guidance, the tool will solve conundrums like how to tell a close friend you’re too strapped for cash to attend their expensive destination wedding.
While the jury is out on whether AI can deliver value to this area of our lives, one area where its value is without question is business operations. Plenty of organizations are already using AI across their customer-facing teams, with Aircall’s own AI Index revealing that 53% plan to invest in it over the next 12 months. This is not only down to the time-saving potential of the technology but also to how it can optimize customer and prospect communications.
Yet just as AI seems about to become a mainstay of how we work, there is one factor that is undermining its implementation—and that’s common myths about the technology.
5 Myths About AI in the Workplace
Whether the AI myths are minor (that it’s too complex to use) or major (that it will go sentient and enslave humankind in the microchip mines), dispelling them is integral to successful AI implementation and business success. And it is something that should be done sooner rather than later.
With this in mind, let’s look at the prevailing myths around AI in the workplace, why they don’t hold water, and why business leaders and employees alike should feel excited about AI implementation instead.
1. AI Is Only for the Big Players
You could argue that the business landscape is unfairly stacked in favor of bigger enterprises. They have the money and the resources to weather all kinds of economic change and swiftly invest in new business areas—such as AI—at the drop of a hat. While for SMBs, budgets are slimmer and ROI is far more scrutinized, making AI unattainable.
With its ability to make the small player feel like a major leaguer, driving efficiency and productivity, SMBs can use AI to level the playing field between themselves and the bigger players.
When it comes to implementation, Madelyn DePrey, VP of Customer Success at Aircall, shared her perspective in our recent webinar about turning AI ambition into AI action.
“Bite off little pieces that you can chew on. This is an opportunity for small business clients but they don't need to wait for a perfect world or invest in a very expensive toolset to be able to start to leverage AI.”
— Madelyn DePrey, VP of Customer Success at Aircall
Instead of thinking of AI as a budget behemoth, SMBs should experiment and see what’s out there early on. While there’ll undoubtedly be costly subscription models, leaders have the ability to prioritize tools like Aircall’s AI-powered features and deliver ROI through better customer communication and prospect engagement. Meaning you can enhance productivity without breaking the bank.
2. AI Is Too Complex
With the benefits AI promises to deliver, it is difficult to use. AI is something that requires complex technical knowledge, and the thought of allocating more time to training and onboarding is too much for business leaders whose every focus should be on driving revenue and making meaningful customer connections.
Like most technologies, the best ones are the user-friendly ones. Right now, the AI marketplace is filled with solutions that are built for nontechnical users. For example, HubSpot’s ChatSpot, Salesforce’s EinsteinGPT, and Aircall’s new AI Starter Package.
Further, the general sentiment around how to use AI is positive. According to Aircall’s AI Index, 70% of customer service and support employees worldwide are confident about using (or the prospect of using) AI in customer-facing functions—with 65% of sales teams feeling the same.
For business leaders, the challenge is now converting this final 30% to 35%. What can help are Aircall’s intuitive features, featured as part of its AI Starter Package, that enhance sales and support interactions and show team leaders and junior staffers alike how easy AI can be.
3. AI Will Replace Sales and Support Jobs
Quite rightly, there are fears around AI replacing jobs, with Goldman Sachs predicting that up to 300 million jobs could be automated in the future. When it comes to the work of customer-facing teams, Aircall’s AI Index shows that 46% of employees are concerned that AI will replace them—rising to 50% of sales teams.
When it comes to customer-facing roles, AI should be thought of as an enablement tool and not a replacement tool. Sales and support roles are ones that thrive off human connection, with 79% of SMB employees believing that phone calls help their business build better connections with customers, clients, and/or partners.
Automation is a reality for customer-facing teams, but it will help restore the time of sales and support reps to more meaningful interactions, giving them a greater role to play. Aircall’s AI Starter Package, for instance, is the sidekick customer-facing teams have been craving.
In addition to Aircall’s AI-powered transcription features, the AI Starter Package brings additional features in the shape of call summaries, key topics, and talk ratios from calls. AI will change things—but taking these features as an example, they will help efficiency climb and enable better decision-making.
4. AI Can Wait
The to-do lists of SMB leaders are pretty long right now, and the last thing they need is to have to think about AI. The economic landscape is relentlessly challenging, and it’ll suit everyone if AI strategy and implementation can wait until the economy stabilizes.
First of all, AI is an opportunity—not a problem. And for leaders thinking AI can wait, 53% of SMBs worldwide are planning to implement it in the next 12 months. Given the benefits this technology can deliver, if businesses choose to bench their own plans for the next 12 months, just think of the ground they’ll then have to make up.
AI is revolutionizing industries across the board—from assisting early detection in healthcare to innovating climate modeling for the environment and from tailoring education to students’ needs to helping farmers better monitor and safeguard their crops. AI is not another problem—it’s how you fix your existing ones. For starters, Aircall’s AI-enhanced features tackle admin and busywork head-on so you can focus on the work that matters most.
5. AI Requires Massive Data Sets
Sure, AI can deliver game-changing insights, but to do so it requires enormous amounts of data up-front. In other words, for SMBs with smaller customer sets, the juice is definitely not worth the squeeze!
AI has the power to deliver value, even with smaller data sets. It’s true that the more you put into AI, the more you’ll get out of it—but plenty of businesses are seeing great results with comparatively small data sets.
Even if you’re starting from scratch, once you’ve had your first customer call with AI-supported tools like Aircall’s, you’ll see your data insights grow—whether based on customer information, sales and support trends, areas of improvement, or all three. This means that with your CRM, you’re building a 360-degree view of your customers and your business. Not to mention training data that doesn't require all of your time. Both bring you to the forefront of a new frontier for customer service—however deep your data pool is.
Choosing the Right Partner for Myth-Free AI Implementation
It’s clear that despite some impressive implementation, the workplace can’t escape the myths that are part and parcel of the AI conversation. From concerns around it leading to low pay to the assumption that it's for big businesses only—the danger of these myths is that they can deny SMBs a serious opportunity for innovation.
This is why leaders must do their best to debunk these myths and ensure that communication and education are a part of their AI implementation strategy from the outset.
At Aircall, we encourage SMB leaders to explore the potential of AI for their business as early as possible, which is why we’ve built our AI-powered solutions to support businesses through their AI journey one step at a time—from modest beginnings to revolutionizing customer communication and driving growth.
Schedule a demo with our team to discover more about Aircall’s AI-supported solutions and its new AI Starter Package.
Published on January 2, 2024.