There’s a lot of information and hype around using AI-powered chatbots to make better use of popular social channels, like Facebook Messenger, Amazon Alexa, and Slack. However, it’s much more difficult to find advances in the one channel we all use day in and day out – email.
Despite the increased use of chat platforms in major enterprises, 73% of CIOs say email is still the preferred method of communication. Even millennials, who are stereotypically social and chat-channels only, agree.
Email is perceived as secure, trusted – the one channel that serves as a source of truth. The thing is, (big surprise!) email takes up a lot of our time.
The average office employee spends over 20 hours a week reading and responding to email. That’s by far our most time-consuming work activity. Email takes up nearly half of our time at work and causes us to spend more than 1,000 hours a year on reactive, low-value work.
And that’s for an average user. Multiply that with the never-ending email stream your organization receives, and well, that’s a lot of time… and a lot of room for savings.
Past solutions, however, have presented challenges.
Why, after all these years, is email still taking up so much valuable time in the enterprise? There are lots of potential solutions on the market, but most do little more than basic triage – or worse, send static auto-replies that make customers feel like just another number.
Leveraging an AI-powered bot can help improve the productivity of your employees, provide an engaging customer experience, and really make email work for you.
When effectively implemented, a virtual assistant plays the same role as any real-world assistant. They act as an extension of your team, helping relieve them of redundant, time-consuming tasks. Below are the three important ways AI-powered bots can offer higher-quality engagement in less time, improving email productivity.
1. Limiting the amount of screens.
This sounds simple enough, but we see it all the time. Agents behind the scenes copying, pasting, and often manually entering text from an email client like Microsoft Outlook to one or many other custom applications. This is not only time consuming, but a recipe for errors. Instead, you could use one robotic interface to read and understand context, user sentiment, important information, route to the correct location, and even suggest personalized replies.
2. Effectively making sense of unstructured text.
When you're talking high-volumes, every second matters. People write emails in various ways and they won’t follow a specific format. It’s unstructured, of varying lengths, and could contain attachments. The average person takes more than a minute to recover from one email. Shaving seconds off can result in huge returns. What’s needed is a robotic assistant to pull important information – such as a name, account number, or address – and pre-populate fields so users can focus on more pressing matters.
3. Connecting to existing business processes and existing silos.
Adding an intelligent bot doesn’t need to be another siloed integration project. We see a lot of repeatable use cases across sales, marketing, and customer service systems within our own clients. However, to know where your customers have been and where they want to go, you need to seamlessly connect to these existing systems to understand context, history, and provide the 1:1 personalized service customers expect.
- Want to learn more tips for building, training and making the most of intelligent email bots? Check our recent webinar, Bots for Email: Using AI to make email work for you, and see how you can get started breathing new life and productivity into our favorite, yet neglected, channel.
- Read more about Pega’s Intelligent Virtual Assistant, and how to put it to work to do the heavy lifting for your email.
- Find out how one telecom customer care center saved $18 million with robotic automation.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Anthony Abdulla is a director of product marketing for mobility & UX at Pegasystems, and has been building brands and launching successful products for over 15 years. Throughout his career, Anthony has helped clients improve customer engagement and operational efficiencies through digital transformation.