In the glory days of gaming, there was one piece of information that passed from gamer to gamer like gold dust—the cheat code.
While some serious grind within a video game was always rewarding, it would be hard to resist cheat codes that would fill your virtual bank account with millions of dollars, make you invincible to enemy attacks, or access new game modes.
Fast-forward to today, and it’s not just gamers who are looking for this type of shortcut but business leaders too. For many, the thought of pressing up, down, R2, L2, down, or R1 on their controller and ending up with more revenue, time, and employees is the dream.
Many business leaders thought this fabled business cheat code had arrived with the dawn of AI. Yet, this is not an all-encompassing solution for today’s business challenges. Instead, AI is something that varies considerably across teams and situations and requires commitment to unlock its potential and deliver results.
Why AI Unity Is Needed Across Seniority Levels and Teams
For businesses to benefit from AI, implementation needs to move at the same pace across the entire organization. One key part of how AI unlocks the potential of teams, streamlines workflows, and drives efficiencies is how it connects the dots. And in doing so, liberates the team from time-intensive tasks such as app-switching, note-taking, or manual information sharing.
But if a business has only implemented AI in pieces, this could potentially end up causing more problems than it solves. For example, let’s say a company’s sales team has been fully onboarded with AI but the same business’s customer support team has not. The sales team will be able to secure prospects and keep up-to-date with their information during calls with tools such as Aircall’s AI transcription and Conversation Center.
But then once these prospects convert to customers, suddenly the high-value insights that have been behind their calls are nowhere to be found and they get the sneaking suspicion they were duped. Equally, without customer support using AI, the sales team is unable to gain the level of insights from retained customers that can help them close more deals.
According to Aircall’s AI Index, what can lead to such a fractured implementation is a difference in sentiment across teams.
Junior salespeople are more likely than managers to say they don’t understand the value AI will bring to their everyday role—51% vs. 31%.
Junior support members are more likely to say they don’t understand the value of AI compared to managers—49% vs. 44%.
If businesses want to avoid sabotaging a seamless customer experience, and even causing friction between teams and hierarchies in-house, they need to move quickly to overcome the challenges that stand in the way of their AI potential.
3 Factors Holding Your AI Potential Back
To more fully understand the challenges businesses face, let’s use our own research to explore the biggest barriers businesses currently face in meeting their AI potential.
AI is such a broad term that it’s not surprising that teams across organizations are sometimes at odds over what exactly it’s going to be used for.
According to Aircall’s AI Index, opinion among SMB employees is split across several focus areas:
81% of sales managers believe AI will help with automating processes, but just 68% of junior-level employees feel the same.
67% of support managers believe AI will help with coaching/team upskilling versus 50% of junior-level employees.
68% of support managers believe AI will help with customer service/support versus 55% of junior-level employees.
72% of sales managers believe AI will help with performance/revenue growth versus 59% of junior-level employees.
Even as we move further away from AI being an unknown and it occupying a bigger role in our personal lives and work, misinformation still exists. While this can cover a range of aspects, unless they are addressed, they can all be detrimental to the AI potential.
According to Aircall’s AI Index:
Sales managers are less likely to worry that AI will replace them, than junior-level employees—43% vs. 52%.
Sales managers are less likely to worry AI will lead to lower pay than junior-level employees—36% vs. 49%.
Support managers are more likely to worry AI will lead to lower pay than junior-level employees—57% vs. 46%.
Junior salespeople are more likely to worry that a lack of human input will impact the quality of their work than managers—65% vs. 52%.
It could be that people are aware of the game-changing potential of AI but remain unaware of the transformative effect it can have for their colleagues. AI potential can be dented when the value it can deliver across teams isn’t obvious—something that has become more common in the era of remote working.
Key differences being missed include:
Managers in sales spend more time inputting/transferring data than junior coworkers—2.57hrs vs. 2.10hrs.
Sales managers are more likely to say long onboarding is an issue than junior sales team members—64% vs. 48%.
Whatever factors are holding back companies’ AI potential, leaders must move fast to address them and unite their teams to share the same view of the value of AI.
4 Steps to Uniting Teams on AI
How then do businesses start to overcome these factors? Below, we share a cheat code in four steps for business leaders to unite different teams on the positive impact of AI and ensure that their implementation is in shape to drive business success.
Set AI objectives
The first step in ensuring your entire organization is united about AI is to set clear objectives. Are you employing AI to support customer service? Or are you hoping it’ll lead to more coaching and training opportunities? Whatever the reason, you need to communicate this clearly to the rest of your organization and ensure that your people—across all teams and seniorities—understand the long-term goals here.
This doesn’t mean you have to hang your hat on one objective for the foreseeable future. But it does mean you have to maintain communication if you pivot. And, crucially, ensure your team understands that, when it comes to AI, you’re drawing a line in the sand between enablement and replacement.
Training is another way business leaders can stamp out misinformation. A good training and onboarding structure will give sales and support teams vital hands-on experience and help drive confidence when using the tools and experiencing their value.
Further, training should be cross-functional and across seniority levels. You should try and democratize the value of AI as much as possible and ensure that your junior staffers don’t miss out on training reserved for managers and directors or vice versa.
Measure and optimize
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will your AI strategy be. As the technology evolves every day, so should your use of it. So be sure to measure your progress and optimize along the way. This isn’t just about measuring the business impact either but also sentiment across teams.
Using the research shared in this article as a starting point, track things like how optimistic workers are about AI, how much of an impact they see it having on revenue, how much they see it impacting their human input, etc. Then track these factors over time. But remember to involve everyone across teams and seniority levels in the decision-making process and use a standardized template like Aircall’s AI Action Plan to help.
Use the right tools
One thing that’s sure to keep the potential of AI locked up tight is choosing bad software. Whether it’s down to poor useability or a limited number of seats that are reserved for certain teams or seniority levels, you don’t want to poison the AI well with poor tech.
When searching for your AI software of choice, get hands-on, do free trials and demos, and involve your team in the process. Your tools should help break down silos, not create more.
AI Needs Human Alignment
Ultimately potential is turned into results when everyone moves as one team. Whether sales or support or senior or junior, leaders should ensure their AI strategy reaches everyone and that they invest in communication across the organization.
This includes embracing tools such as Aircall’s Conversation Center that unlocks AI potential across different job functions and levels of seniority—with the ability to provide call transcripts for juniors making the calls and granular oversight for the managers overseeing them.
Even more insights come in the form of Aircall’s AI Starter Package—a game changer that pulls summaries, key topics, and call ratios from each and every conversation and ensures that all levels of the business benefit from AI insights.
These are tools that ultimately simplify AI, spell out its potential, improve productivity, and drive results. This is how leaders can align teams around ambitions and results. Done well, they can ensure that the team that implements AI together wins together.
Discover Aircall’s new AI features for yourself with a free product demo.
Published on January 2, 2024.