Artificial intelligence is usually associated with futuristic sci-fi movies and the rise of the machines against humanity. What many people don’t realise is that it’s commonplace today, and something you’ve probably not noticed has become a critical part of your life. The intelligence Facebook uses to make friends suggestions or how Google photos recognises faces and places are both examples of AI, and machine learning, in action.
AI is also being used in organisations worldwide to augment and assist human employees to do their jobs better and smarter. In South Africa, Stellenbosch-based CLEVVA has developed an AI platform that enables companies to rapidly and easily deploy Virtual Advisors across every aspect of their businesses.
Says CLEVVA CEO Ryan Falkenberg: “VAs act like online experts, guiding the decisions and actions of people according to the organisation’s desired process and procedures, and with a detailed record to prove it.
“Think of it as a decision-making GPS,” he says. “Rather than providing them with a map that they have to follow, and decide which route is best based on what they know, the GPS (VA) gives them relevant and specific advice to help them get a job done without the risk of making an error. It enables people to focus on the things they’re good at – innovating, creating and adding value beyond what machines can do.”
What this means for local organisations is that they can tap into the knowledge of their people, capture it, and make it available for use by other employees using different VAs built using CLEVVA.
A local financial services company, for example, is using CLEVVA to build different VAs to guide their sales teams through effective, complaint need-based sale conversations, VAs to guide call centre agents through different inbound client queries, and VAs to ensure staff make the right HR decisions and take the right actions, with detailed records to prove it.
A petroleum company has deployed VAs to help clients and technical service agents work out the root cause of a technical problem and identify the relevant solution, while a leading flooring company has deployed VAs to guide staff and clients through the complex selection and installation of their technical products. A third company, an international telco, uses VAs to guide staff with their service-related decisions and actions, in line with required policies and procedures.
VAs can help companies to address employee performance or skills shortages through providing all the knowledge someone needs to do their job. Training then becomes a matter of teaching people excellent customer engagement, and problem-solving skills rather than reams and reams of product and processes information.
“VAs can help companies turn all of their employees, regardless of skills level, into valuable resources, and enable them to onboard people more quickly and effectively when they hire new people,” Falkenberg adds.
CLEVVA aims to be the most widely used VA globally, and is currently looking to expand into the UK and Australia, with the US to follow.
“AI is real, it’s working for enterprises and people, and it’s probably in your hands right now,” concludes Falkenberg.
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