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Top Chatbot & AI Conferences to attend in the UK in 2020

The advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and chatbots are non-stop. Attending some events can help to keep you up to speed.

It’s the start of a new decade and we are now looking at this year ahead with excitement; 2020 stands upon us with great promises for continuous advances in chatbot technology and AI.

Chatbots have now penetrated almost every business with an online presence, in most industries we know. The financial sector, in particular, has experienced major disruption in the last couple of years. Chatbots have been impacting financial services by providing a valuable channel for customer interaction; assisting users with personal financial planning, handling much of basic customer contact queries, helping with transactions and application processes, and more.

What are the best ways to keep up with all the updates in the industry? Conferences and events always provide a platform for valuable insight and networking to keep up with all the latest news.

We’ve collated all the details for some of the best conferences taking place in the United Kingdom in 2020. Take a look and get ready to pencil down some dates!*



Gartner Data & Analytics Summit


Anyone keeping an eye out for trends and insights will be familiar with the brand: Gartner is hosting a conference dedicated to data and analytics, showing the tech trends that are shaping the future and providing insights for a competitive edge.

With AI driving significant innovation in the field of data and analytics, this event is one to watch for data-driven businesses. Gartner promises “you will learn how to rewire your culture for an AI-augmented future”

When is it: March 9th – 11th, 2020

Where is it: London, UK

More info: Gartner website



AI & Big Data Expo Global 2020


This conference offers a promising line-up of speakers and talks for wide-ranging brands, start-ups and AI enthusiasts alike to participate in the latest discussions of AI. Insights from the event will be focused on AI and Big Data, the impact within consumer sectors, development platforms, digital transformation opportunities, and more. 

When is it: March 17th – 18th, 2020

Where is it: London, UK.

More info: AI Expo website



AI World Congress 2020


This world leading conference is taking place in London and has an exciting agenda covering the topic of machine learning in depth, plus great opportunities for networking.

When is it: March 24th – 25th, 2020

Where is it: London, UK

More info: AI World Congress website. Tickets can also be booked here



The AI Summit


Looking for practical tips? This conference is the flagshop event for Longon Tech Week and it offers just that – insights for businesses to put into practice right away, to make the most of AI advances. If your business is new to AI, this conference can provide valuable information to discover the opportunities and benefits of AI, and what to take into account for planning your AI roadmap.

When is it: June 10th – 11th, 2020

Where is it: London, UK

More info: The AI summit website



Events about automation in financial services


Looking for events specific to AI and automation in financial services? These events may be just what you’re looking for.



Artificial Intelligence in Financial Services 2020

With a focus on the impact of AI in business models within the financial services space, this conference is coming back in 2020 for 2 days, with professionals across a range of financial institutions gathering to discuss the current state of AI in the industry – sharing tips and expertise.

When is it: February 4th – 5th, 2020

Where is it: London, UK

More info: Arena’s website



TechNova: AI in Financial Services

In a one-day event, TechNova promises to bring the latest in development and innovation for financial services, with hot topics expanding upon conversational AI, customer interaction, transformation through robotic automation, and the overall AI movement surrounding the industry.

When is it: March 17th, 2020

Where is it: London, UK

More info: TechNova AI in Financial Services



ReWork AI in Finance Summit

This 2-day conference offers the opportunity for those in the sector to “discover advances in machine learning tools and techniques from the world’s leading innovators across industry, research and the financial sector.”

When is it: March 31st – April 1st, 2020

Where is it: London, UK

More info: Re-Work’s website


*Please note the dates listed are subject to change – make sure to check the organisers’ websites for the latest information about the events before making any arrangements. We are an independent startup and don’t work in partnership with any company related to the aforementioned events



Looking for a chatbot solution for your business?


This is going to be a significant year for businesses who have embraced the potential of chatbot technology and AI. Companies who have fallen behind and not yet adopted some form of automated solutions will most likely be rushing to get there soon – in fact, 80% of businesses in the UK are expected to have a chatbot solution within the next 24 months.

Forward-thinking firms can partner with Ibby to embrace the power of automation and chatbots. We are developing a unique platform combining instant messaging with open banking and chatbot technology.

The future is here – sign up for a free trial and start making the most of it!



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How to plan out your chatbot integration

What to consider when introducing a chatbot to your ecommerce journey, for an omni-channel experience

We live in an age where answers and advice are expected instantly. As technology has advanced over the years, the ability to communicate instantaneously with companies and people across the world has come to the fore. The technology exists, and therefore, people have come to expect the answers they are looking for immediately, with a level of confidence around the accuracy of the response.

From a business standpoint, fulfilling this demand for answers solely with employees can be unworkable, both in terms of costs and logistics. For this reason, automated chatbots are becoming ever-present across the supporting websites of ecommerce and financial service businesses. But what exactly is a chatbot? And how can you integrate one into your ecommerce journey?

Defined as “a computer program that simulates and processes human conversation”, chatbot tools are progressing and evolving into more tailored solutions for niche businesses, tackling potential stumbling blocks in customer journeys that can be increasingly complex. The integration of a chatbot can alleviate conversion issues, if you plan out its execution.


Review Your Journey and Analytics


As with any new site feature, a formidable understanding of your starting point must be established. Scrutinise your online journey via analytics, ask yourself: at what point in the journey are users becoming confused or dropping off? Your analytics platform will unlock the answers. A review of the content and questions that are on the pages where you’re experiencing drop off, in turn provides you with the questions that need to be answered.

By adding a non-intrusive chatbot across your journey, and including query solutions that defuse the users’ confusion, you should see an increase in conversion. Your customer journey will evolve over time, so the support you provide to customers must evolve too. Any time you change anything in the customer journey, it’s vital to go back and review the analytics to identify potential risks.


Customer Feedback


What are your customers telling you? A moderately successful business could be dealing with hundreds or even thousands of customer queries every day. Are you monitoring what they are telling you? There will be trends in the difficulties they are having, or the preferences they express. Voice analytics, anecdotal feedback, or NPS surveys all provide you with clues as to how your customers rate their experience during your online journey.

The information you’ll input into your chatbot in terms of the canned responses will be largely driven by the feedback you’ll receive from existing customers. If your existing customers are having an issue somewhere along the journey, then chances are, a new customer will too. The better informed you are about your customers, the easier it’ll be to populate the responses of the chatbot. With that in mind, it’d be in your best interest to make your customer feedback channels as easy to operate as possible. With as many as 40% of standard customer surveys now being conducted on mobile, something as simple as ensuring your survey or feedback platform is mobile optimised can make all the difference.


How does it fit with your Omni-channel approach?


You know your brand and your business best. There’ll be many moving parts to it. Automated emails, call centre activity, direct marketing, and brand marketing. All these things create a perception of your brand for a prospective customer. Businesses at the forefront of ecommerce tend to adopt an omni-channel approach, so as to seamlessly transition customers through channels while retaining a consistent message and level of satisfaction. According to one study, 90% of customers prefer to use messengers like chatbots for connecting with a business.

This level of understanding on what the customer actually wants, allows you to shape your other communication platforms around this. It may be best for your business to retain traditional methods like phone calls, SMS messages, and push notifications when reaching out to a customer, but with research showing that customers prefer to use messengers when they are reaching out to a business, it’d be in that business’ interest to ensure that option is easily available.

While some employers are concerned about the lack of human touch being detrimental to customer experience, another study showed that most users are indifferent towards a chatbot having a personality, so long as their issue is solved. As popular as the likes of Alexa and Siri are, it’s a stark reminder that solving the user issue in alignment with an omni-channel approach should be the main priority.


And in the future?


Innovation and improvement. Your business will continue to change, your communication tools must follow suit to keep up with the competition. The standard website integrated chatbot for some businesses may be complemented by a WhatsApp or Facebook based chatbot. With these platforms being so universally accessible, it stands to reason that users may feel more comfortable engaging via that channel. Facebook messenger already has over 350,000 chatbots, and big brands like Netflix and KLM utilise a WhatsApp chatbot, so you may find that this becomes the norm in years to come. When it comes to the financial sector, however, a tailored chatbot solution is the best for most businesses, as features can better accommodate the user journey.

At Ibby, we’re integrating chatbots with Open Banking and co-browsing technology, so you can go beyond the basics of chatbot functionality and really maximise results with messaging and Intelligent Automation.

Although not a pre-requisite for use, voice activated search is expected to increase too, with 250 million people estimated to be using smart speakers by 2020. Beyond that, the sky is the limit. Technology converges and the boundaries continue to be pushed. The objective will always be to solve a user issue as swiftly and as comprehensively as possible, while keeping costs for businesses at a manageable rate throughout.


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Live chat – A lifeline for online sales

In the choppy waters of the e-commerce world, live chat can steer the customer ship to plain sailing

For many people, it’s hard to think back to a time before e-commerce and online transactions in daily life. Everything from grocery shopping to mortgage applications now have an online journey, and everyone is in on the act. However, with great opportunity comes great competition; and with the stakes in the market perpetually increasing, it’s key for businesses to utilise any conversion metric they can lay their hands on.


Customer Trust


There are many tools out there, but live chat is amongst the most common, and for good reason. First and arguably foremost, is that people are now more sceptical about the offers and services that are being put to them online. To tackle that, the ecommerce business must go above and beyond to ensure the user develops trust in the brand, and the offer that’s being presented to them. In a recent online survey, 74% of respondents said they used at least one advertising avoidance strategy (e.g ad blocking or paying for streaming services), so establishing a trusted brand via advertising is becoming challenging. In that same survey, 81% of respondents of respondents also said that their trust in a brand is a deciding factor in any purchase decision.

Building trust in a brand or product is not easy, as a customer’s interpretation of your business could be somewhat arbitrary. There will be common sense things that make your user journey seem credible, but for the elements you perhaps haven’t thought of, or that are perhaps outwith your control, live chat can significantly defuse any concerns. Implementation of live chat on key stages of your journey, (be it the homepage, product selection or pricing pages, etc.), gives the customer direct contact with a real person, where a rational discussion can be held, concerns are mitigated and trust in the brand is boosted. This undoubtedly increases the average propensity to transact. 


The Online Journey


For some ecommerce businesses, particularly those in the financial services industry, the product offering can be markedly complex and fraught with jargon. Often, businesses in the financial sector are tied to particular jargon and aspects of journey designs due to regulatory and compliance reasons. While you may not in some cases be able to simplify the forms or language used, you can introduce live chat to navigate past the more complicated steps in the journey.

Without the likes of live chat, the customer would be faced with 3 options: i) proceed with the purchase even though they have major concerns, ii) abandon the purchase and drop off the website, or iii) call up a customer service support line via telephone. The latter option involves tearing the customer away from the online aspect of the journey, often asking them to navigate a tedious Interactive Voice Response (IVR), and then potentially waiting on hold to speak to an advisor. According to Forrester, customers do not want to call companies for support; 53% are likely to abandon their online purchase if they can’t find a quick answer to their question, and this is one of the main reasons why web chat has been on the rise in the past several years. Through a chatbox, customers can quickly connect with a company or an agent and seek instant answers without having to navigate IVR.

A well-placed live chat integration can have a customer engaged in support, online within seconds. This approach keeps the customer in the sales funnel, negating the danger of them dropping off. This is down to the fact that they do not lose progress in their sales journey, are less likely to become frustrated, and will feel more reassured about their potential purchase. The stats bear this out, as live chat retains a higher customer satisfaction rate than any other support option, with a score of 92%, and 63% of customers who used live chat on a site are likely to return to that site in the future.


Product Offering


In line with the evolution of ecommerce, the level of complexity within product offerings, particularly in the financial services industry, has increased. The deviation away from one standard level of bank loan, credit card, mortgage, insurance policy etc is solely aimed at diversifying the offering in order to resonate more closely with a wider demographic; essentially creating a more customised financial solution for different types of people.

In theory this works well, but in practice, not always so. Depending on how closely aligned the product offerings are, potential customers may have trouble choosing between them. Similarly, if there are several products side by side, the supplier can only show high level information, so a human interaction can assist for the user who wants to scrutinise the offering and ask specific questions about the product they are considering buying.

The immediately accessible nature of live chat allows for the user to get an answer to a more detailed query almost instantly, before they can even think about looking at a competitor. An overwhelmed customer, or a customer who is short on key information is unlikely to purchase from you, so it’s crucial to have a system like live chat available to impartially steer the customer towards a product which best meets their needs, while also being fully empowered to answer detailed questions. It’s a feature that customers have come to know, with 62% of people expecting live chat to be available on their mobile device. It’s come to be expected, and with increased revenues and cross sell rates of over x2.4 versus ecommerce without it, it’s certainly here to stay.


Going beyond sales


A comprehensive live chat platform like Ibby provides tools to boost conversion rates and sales, but comes also equipped with features to enhance customer support. Customers want instant answers in the pre-sales stages of the journey, and this is no different for post-sale steps. When it comes to seeking support, conversational interfaces provide customers with the opportunity to solve issues quickly.

With live chat for support, customers experiencing problems can simply go online to the company’s website, and reach out to the support team via the chatbox. Ibby incorporates an advanced help desk module for support teams, where conversations coming from live chat are organised as tickets, so that support queries and issues can be dealt with quickly and more efficiently.

Sign up today to get started with a 14-day free trial!


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Live chat for financial advice – Best practice tips

Live chat is a powerful tool, but success largely depends on how it’s used. This best practice guide can help your IFA firm to maximise results.

We are now a few years into the conversational revolution, where messaging platforms are the norm. Paper-based processes have been gradually phasing out, and even email forms are becoming outdated. 2019 Has been a year for chatbots and live chat platforms to become readily available, and more than ever, financial advisors are engaging with prospective customers and clients through instant messaging solutions.

Robo-advisors and automated support has proven to be effective in the sector. A recent study found that many consumers are turning to chatbots for their financial needs – in fact, according to their results, as much as 43% of respondents said this is their preference, over going to a branch or finding answers on a website. But as with most things, execution is important to ensure the best possible outcome.

How can financial advisors harness the power of live chat to get the best ROI? Here’s some best practice tips and recommendations:


1. Make sure you can respond quickly


Live chat can significantly improve the delivery of customer service, as it allows agents to respond to questions quickly and efficiently, to solve issues instantly. Speed, however, is very important. Consumers reaching out on live chat do not stay for long waiting for an agent to reply. This is why it’s a good idea to have an automated response in place that can be helpful and resourceful, or a chatbot to handle that first interaction. Chatbots can provide 24/7 support for simple queries, covering you while you are offline or focusing on more important tasks, and they can transfer queries to a human agent when necessary or appropriate.

A good live chat platform for financial advisors will be equipped with tools to ensure your visitors are not left hanging, either with messaging automation, alerts, or else. Ibby, for instance, allows you to populate an email form within the chatbox, as an automatic response to visitors when they message you on your website. This automated ‘lead capture’ tool allows the visitor to leave an email address, in the event that no one is available to respond immediately. Agents are then able to see the saved email address within Contacts and follow up accordingly.


2. Use robo solutions


Automated chat responses can be incredibly helpful and are particularly appealing for the younger generations. For millennials or young professionals who may be lacking a lucrative career or a high salary, going to an IFA firm for advice can be a daunting task – and this is why, more often than not, they prefer to deal, in the first instance, with a robo-advisor.

As a low friction channel for customer contact, chatbots present a friendly alternative to the traditional advisor. With artificial intelligence (AI) evolving at light speed, chatbots are increasing in popularity in the word of financial advice,  bringing with them some of the best examples of fintech advances implementation in the industry.

A recent report by Accenture showed that 76% of financial institutions believe that, in the near future, most organisations operating in banking and finance will deploy AI interfaces as a main channel for customer interaction. It’s just one of the indicators that chatbots and robo solutions will continue to change the game in the market, and improve the delivery of financial services.


3. Partner with an FCA-approved live chat provider for Open Banking


Financial advice often involves the practice of assessing individuals’ affordability for the delivery of some services, such as wealth management, financial planning, mortgage applications or even debt advice. Recently, advances with Open Banking have helped advisors to streamline the process of affordability assessment. As an FCA-approved live chat solution, Ibby brings together automation and Open Banking in a chat-based environment, make it quick and easy for both consumers and advisors to go through the process of sharing financial data.

The recent introduction of Open Banking standards has been changing the ways for financial services. With Open Banking technology, fintech providers are helping firms to connect directly with individuals’ banks in order to access a history of customer transactions, and accurately evaluate their financial circumstances.

For financial organisations in the UK, as well as advisors, it’s best practice to comply with the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA). It stands to reason why firms must go with providers and suppliers that have been approved by the FCA, who are in full compliance to help you make the most of Open Banking technology.


4. Take live chat support to the next level with co-browsing


If you’ve read up until this point, hopefully it’s become clear that live chat poses a number of good advantages for financial advisors, to improve lead conversion, increase sales and enhance customer support. But what about customer experience?

Often, financial advice relies heavily on the information displayed on a website. The problem with this is that, in this digital era, customers don’t want to spend time looking for  answers on a website. And secondly, quote applications and forms, which are common practice for a number of financial services and products, usually present high drop-off rates; customers abandon the page in the middle of the application process or give up because they get stuck. This is when customer experience goes wrong, and hurts your business.

Live chat can help, but it can also transform the experience and humanise the online journey for customers – when it is used in combination with co-browsing technology. With co-browsing software, agents can literally navigate together alongside consumers, to show them what to do around a webpage: they can use the functionality alongside live chat to ‘show’ and ‘tell’ users where to click, what information to enter in specific fields, etc. With tools like annotations on the screen and notes, co-browsing a very handy tool for delivering the best possible support. Messages delivered through live chat can be accompanied by proactive help and support delivered in a more personal way with co-browsing. Your customers will feel better supported, and the outcome will easily translate in enhanced customer experience and engagement.


Conclusions


Effective communication is key to customer satisfaction and sales; and the effective use of live chat is essential to ensure best results. There’s a considerable amount of digital fintech solutions available today. Live chat platforms are evolving and becoming more specialised for specific industries, which means that financial advisors should do some research as to what tool is best for them.

At Ibby, we are combining the best of fintech advances for IFA businesses, to help firms make the most of messaging automation, in combination with Open Banking and co-browsing for a truly omni-channel experience.

Sign up today and you’ll get to try all the features for free for 14 days!


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Digital transformation: why banks can get ahead with IA

AI, RPA and IA – can these acronyms help your bank attract new customers and save money?

Financial institutions are going through a period of radical transformation. In the space of only a few years, emerging fintech, changing customer demands, and increased competition have changed the face of banking and finance irreversibly. We live in a digital-first society and it has impacted everything from banks’ back-end processes to how they communicate with customers.

85% of banks have adopted intelligent automation (IA) according to the recent report: The State of Automation 2019. In particular, the uptake of robotic process automation (RPA) and artificial intelligence (AI) have been instrumental in ushering in a new era of banking. The results from the report might be a surprise to some. The banking sector hasn’t been known for its innovation in the past, but this all changed when the recent fintech boom started. With it came new technology that allowed banks to offer frictionless 27/4 transactions for the first time and overhaul their approach to customer service.


Banking in a digital economy 


What drove banks – especially the large incumbents – to change? If they wanted to engage with today’s customers, banks had to rethink their approach to service delivery and marketing. A trip to the bank during working hours isn’t appealing or practical for busy customers. Especially when other banks are offering the same level of service on-the-go using mobile devices. 

Fintech has made it easier for challengers to break into the banking sector. Today, competition for customers is fierce and diverse. It recently emerged that traditional banks were losing customers to fintech companies that offer banking services. In the same report, 34% of decision-makers at UK retail banks claimed that banks who don’t offer a digital service will be gone by 2023. Forward-thinking businesses have realised that traditional methods of banking no longer suit modern lifestyles. They reacted to these industry trends by using technology to design a service that was comparable to that offered by traditional banks but far more convenient.

The impact of younger generations can’t be overlooked either. Millennials and Generation Z make up a significant portion of banks’ current and future customer base. These generations are the first to grow up with technology and they have different expectations and demands than previous generations. They are open to trying new ways of managing their finances and embrace disruptive fintech. As intelligent automation for banks becomes more widespread, even less tech-savvy customers across all generations have grown to accept modern banking methods.

 

Frictionless transactions anywhere, anytime


Banks’ willingness to develop online banking tools has made this service a must-have rather than a value add. According to the recent report on intelligent automation, banks have access to a “robust, flexible, and secure technology ecosystem”. If they choose to capitalise on this, they can provide secure and frictionless 24/7 transactions. Advances in the security of fintech products such as improved online encryption, has helped its mass adoption. Being able to offer customers a level of data protection that matches that of traditional banking is fundamental for convincing even the most sceptical that smart technology is the future for banking.

Banks that don’t offer mobile banking either through a mobile browser or an app, risk appearing outdated and being left behind. They may struggle to attract new customers and find it harder to retain existing ones. When some challenger banks like Monzo are completely based online, the larger incumbents have no choice but to provide customers with a robust online banking platform if they want to compete.


Two-way communication was just the start


It’s well known that AI-based technology has been disrupting the financial services sector for some time. Chatbots and intelligent data processing software are now commonly used business tools.

Most people are familiar with simple chat automation. People type a question into a website’s chatbox and a chatbot will reply with a pre-programmed response.  Recent developments in chatbot technology have made it far more sophisticated than its predecessors. It can still handle frequently asked questions, but that’s only a small part of its potential. Looking forward, it’s evident that the future for banking is conversational and banks’ ability to be innovative with IA communication tools is what will set them apart as market leaders. 

Businesses at the forefront of change within the industry are integrating chatbots with other disruptive IA technology to drive greater efficiencies for customers and their businesses. Ibby’s chatbot technology will integrate seamlessly with open banking APIs to streamline the assessment of individuals’ affordability, much needed in the process of applying for certain products and financial services. By using AI-powered chatbots for sales and support, banks can pivot their customer experience strategy away from outdated methods and show customers they understand their needs.

In the past, customers may have found applying for new banking products arduous or confusing, but now chatbots can guide them through pre-qualifier questions and immediately assess their eligibility by carrying out credit checks (once customers permit it to do so). This can be done in a conversational manner that makes complicated terminology easier to understand and less intimidating. If customers have questions mid-application, they don’t have to abandon the form to get help, they can simply ask the bot then and there. Supporting and guiding people through the application process can increase the number of completed online forms. Not only that, unsuitable applicants will be filtered out during the earlier eligibility checks and sent an automated response that’s in line with customer service guidelines.

It’s worth remembering that not all intelligent customer experience tools are automated. If customers need an advisor to assist them, support staff can use co-browsing technology to solve their issues in real-time. Co-browsing allows agents to use dual browsing software to step in and view customers’ screens. When this service is combined with live chat for financial advice, it takes customer service to the next level.


Can robotic process automation save your business money?


Intelligent automation’s potential to save businesses money is unprecedented. By 2030, Business Insider estimates that AI-enabled savings for banks will reach $447 billion. We have reached a tipping point where robotic process automation, artificial intelligence, and other forms of intelligent automation have moved from being experimental technology to mainstream business solutions.

At the moment, robotic process automation (RPA) isn’t as widely known about as its cousin AI. We are only beginning to see its transformative effect on banking. Simply put, RPA takes mundane and repetitive tasks off human hands. It’s software that can handle back-end tasks such as filing documents and retrieving invoices. It’s growing more popular in banking because it can handle internal operations accurately and efficiently, without the need to change existing systems in many cases. Banks that use RPA can give their employees more time to focus on complex tasks. The business efficiencies created by it are estimated to have: “the greatest five-year potential ROI for back-end operations” according to Business Insider.

Banks that are interested in taking advantage of the operational savings created by intelligent automation will be interested in Ibby’s powerful IA tools that will help them keep up with the pace of digital transformation within their sector.


What’s holding smaller banks back?


What about the 15% of banks that are yet to adopt intelligent automation? The report found that it was mainly smaller businesses that are falling behind when it came to adopting new technology. The top reasons given for this are: “doubts about business value, difficulty in finding the right technology partners, and inadequate budgets”. 

While larger banks have more money to trial in intelligent automation, smaller companies need to be more cautious about investing in business development. Often, they need to partner with companies that offer a full service to ensure they get the most out of their budget. Ibby’s messaging software, advanced CRM and automated chat technology will all work together to remove friction and allow banks and financial service providers of all sizes to improve internal operations and maximise results.


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Using automation to empower your team

Despite the potential of new technologies to take over a variety of jobs, here’s a few reasons why automation won’t replace your employees

We’re beginning to hear more about how automation will affect various industries, and often the conversation carries a degree of negativity. People point to everything from self-checkout options at grocery stores to smarter manufacturing in factories as evidence that more automation may mean fewer jobs. Over in the States, a presidential candidate (entrepreneur Andrew Yang) is even basing his case for election on plans to drastically alter the U.S. economy to cope with automation-fuelled job displacement.

There’s some logic to some of these concerns and negative feelings, and certainly there are a few early examples of automation replacing employment opportunities. On the other hand, many argue that fear of machines replacing the workforce is overstated, and a broader perspective on the near future of automation largely backs up this more positive outlook. In fact, we would make the argument that more automation, rather than replacing staff, may simply help them to do their jobs more effectively.


Anticipating Consumer Needs


With so much focus on how automation could potentially be deployed to satisfy customer needs, it’s easy to forget that in many cases it may play a bigger role in anticipating those needs. A previous piece at Ibby exploring how to power lead nurturing with automations dug into this idea. It described the process of using automation to develop relationships with potential customers, taking their needs into account and adjusting communications and outreach to lead them toward the point at which they’re ready to make purchases.

The piece then noted, however, that successfully automated lead nurturing of this sort doesn’t replace the key functions of employees, in the end. Rather, it states that the process “means your team doesn’t have to waste time” on what can be a tedious aspect of any sales job.

This is a perfect example of how automation can be used to make things easier and more efficient for a company’s workforce, as opposed to replacing it altogether.


Improving Internal Organisation


While automation can be used to complete some tedious tasks, as pointed out above, it can also be a powerful tool for improving employees’ day-to-day situations by streamlining organisation. In an article exploring the benefits of automation, marketer Simon Austin-Beckett points out how automation can be used to schedule alerts, generate reminders relating to equipment maintenance, and even schedule performance and progress reports. Austin-Beckett’s piece is written with specific regard to businesses with shipping fleets to manage, but these general perks of automation can be applied to various kinds of businesses.

With these kinds of automatic alerts, reminders, and reports in place, a business can cut down on wasted time and resources, improve general efficiency, and ultimately foster a more organised environment. This can help employees to feel more relaxed and prepared for their own day-to-day efforts, which should ultimately enhance productivity.


Better Employee Feedback


In addition to anticipating consumer needs and improving internal organisation, automation can also be used to drastically improve workplace feedback systems. Right now, feedback in many businesses is limited to the occasional remark from an employer or authority figure, or at most a regular performance review. These tend to be mere formalities, however, and their effectiveness is dubious. Automated feedback systems, on the other hand, can be more thorough, timely, and effective.

According to SaaS content analyst, Hitendra Rathore, automated employee management systems can now “facilitate mutual goal-setting, track progress milestones and give timely feedback to workers through multiple channels.” He also notes that back-end machine learning devices can tailor training programs to specific employees based on feedback, and also points out that automated performance management is inherently fair – thus providing employees with the best possible information they need to do their jobs well.

Ultimately, not all industries will implement automation in the same way, and the specific effects will vary. The information and examples above, however, clearly demonstrate that in many cases, automation won’t replace your employees so much as it will enhance their performance.


This is a guest post by J. Birch, freelance writer and blog contributor. Her work revolves primarily around technology, current events, and occasionally finance and gaming.


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