Employee Interaction Predictions Work Like Magic: Easing the Return to the Office

By Pat Calhoun • June 21, 2021

Building a language model is hard – really hard – for a whole host of reasons. But once it is built, how do you ensure that it is always up to date? The truth is that it is never up to date because nothing in this world is static. As new technology is deployed, or organizational change happens, or a crisis occurs, employees end up asking a whole new set of questions. So how do you stay in front of that?

As the leader in AI-based virtual agents for the enterprise, tens of thousands of employees interact with Espressive Barista, our virtual agent, every day. Because of that, Barista identifies new patterns in employee requests even before our customers do—and that enables us to pass along employee interaction predictions to our customers.

Case Study: Achieving Business Continuity with a Virtual Agent During the COVID-19 Pandemic

As the pandemic emerged, Barista immediately identified new questions related to COVID. “Should I be working from home?”, “Am I safe at work?”, “Should I be worried about COVID?”. Then when the work from home mandate was put into place, we saw several patterns:

  • There was an average 35% increase in help desk volume across all customers
  • New topics quickly emerged for things like VPN and remote work
  • There was increased usage of collaboration platforms, such as Microsoft Teams and Slack

We, in turn, notified our customers of these patterns, ensuring they could prepare content to continue to achieve high deflection rates.

Arming our customers with this knowledge turned out to be crucial for many. Solar Turbines had implemented Barista in 2018 specifically to ensure business continuity. That turned out to be an extremely smart decision since the day the work from home mandate struck, they had 40% fewer help desk agents versus the prior year yet call volume increased 292%. There is no way that they could have scaled agents quickly enough. Armed with the trending questions, they were able to quickly build new content. The result? Barista scaled to do 99 agent days’ worth of work in one month with a 63% deflection rate.

Announcing the “Return to the Office Content Pack”

Now we’re seeing another shift as a sense of normalcy has begun. Customers are working on their hybrid workforce strategies and employees want to know what returning to the office will look like. With this shift we have identified a number of topics that we predict will become the top call drivers in the coming months.

With that knowledge in hand, the Employee Language Cloud team at Espressive has packaged a Return to the Office Content Pack to help our customers be prepared for the flurry of questions that are bound to hit IT, HR, and Facilities. The content pack will be released soon and covers these areas:

  • Wi-Fi/Internet: Many employees received equipment while working from home, and these devices may not be set up for use within the corporate network.
  • Device Request: Many employees brought their equipment home and since they will be working at home and at the office, there will be many requests for new or replacement hardware.
  • Badging: Undoubtably a number of employees will have lost their badges, and many employees that joined during the pandemic may not have ever received a badge.
  • Janitorial Supplies: Everything from hand sanitizer to facilities that may have been neglected while buildings were vacant.
  • Office: A number of customers are looking at opening up their offices by providing “hoteling” (or guest) seating services.
  • Transportation: Everything from corporate shuttle services to transportation benefits provided by employers.
  • Cafeteria/Food Services: Is coffee still provided? Do we still get free lunch? I predict this will be a pretty busy topic.
  • Travel: Employees will want to know whether they can travel for work, the corporate policy, and any changes to the travel policy, etc.
  • COVID: This will likely be the number 1 topic and I predict employees will be asking everything from the vaccination policy to testing requirements, access to PPE equipment, and beyond.

Employee Interaction Predictions Will Ease Change Fatigue as Employees Return to the Office

Like many of my peers, I am looking forward to spending non-Zoom time with my fellow Espressionists. That said, doing this requires careful planning and a clear change management strategy to ensure everyone remains safe and productive. Our goal with the new Return to the Office Content Pack is to make sure that employees get the help that they need when and where they need it.

Employees have gone through a lot of change in the past year, so their “change fatigue” is 2.5x greater than pre-COVID. Can you imagine a world where employees go through another major change – but this time with less fatigue? With the Content Pack, Barista will provide immediate answers and resolution to issues as employees return to the office. That will reduce change fatigue, easing the transition to a hybrid workforce. That, in itself, will feel like magic.

Redefine How Your Employees Get Help

Are you ready to increase employee satisfaction and productivity while you lower costs? We’d love to show you how.

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