The road from a Customer Service Representative to a chatbot trainer

 

AI is often blamed for potential robot apocalypse or destruction of the human race. These future scenarios have become popular due to various sci-fi movies, in particular as we see how quickly the smart technologies develop. It is one of the reasons for the AI to stir contradictory emotions, in particular among employees who have to work with smart robots every day. Will the machines take our jobs away? Is the AI our friend or foe? Vikija Bergmane, the first chatbot trainer in Latvia, knows answers to these questions.

In the team, AI was the great unknown

When Vikija Bergmane worked just as a Customer Service Representative at the Register of Enterprises, like most people, she was not really interested in the AI. She did not have to deal with it in her professional life and was convinced that these technologies were very complicated. Everything changed in 2018, when she found out that she would have new duties — monitoring and training the first public administration virtual assistant in Latvia.

"When I found out about my new duties, I was quite concerned as I did not have any IT knowledge. And how could this be done by someone who has never worked with AI?"

Vikija Bergmane a Customer Service Representative at the Register of Enterprises thought

 

Judīte Jēģere, Manager of the Customer Service Department, who unexpectedly had a new robot employee three years ago and who needed to support one of her human employees who suddenly was tasked with training a chatbot, shares her memories.

"News about the virtual assistant initially stirred quite an emotion in the team — the AI was the great unknown, as nobody really understood what it could contribute and how it would develop. To mitigate concerns, the entire team was involved in the development process, e.g. the team discussed the potential name of the chatbot and was invited to test it."

 

New development and self-realization opportunities

According to statistics, most people think that they have to compete with the AI for jobs, but as soon as they get to know the new colleague, their opinion radically changes: more than 70% of Customer Service Representatives think that chatbots help them improve their skills and secure more impact in the company, and 59% become more satisfied with their job. AI solutions become a colleague and not a competitor, and offer new opportunities for development and self-realization.

"My personal experience with the AI changed my view: these technologies allow you to re-skill, add new skills and expand your job description. During these years, we have helped many others: both new colleagues, and other bodies. I have improved my public speaking and management skills, and have become really interested in technologies. AI is a tool, it can be controlled, and for this reason it will always need a man,"

explains Vikija Bergmane

 

What does a chatbot trainer do?

Smart chatbots can take over routine questions allowing the Customer Service Representatives become more productive. However, the virtual assistant is only like a tip of an iceberg: there is always someone behind it who takes care of its training.

"Currently, I spend 70-80% of my time on the chatbot, and 20% on servicing customers. It is important to work in both of these areas as they are complementary,"

underlines Vikija Bergmane

Virtual assistant that helps customers, employees and employers

Judīte Jēģere, the Manager of the Customer Service Department, is convinced that the AI solution offers many benefits:

"The virtual assistant offers a lot to our body and takes on many tasks of the call center: a customer who has called the Register of Enterprises receives the same answer as from a Customer Service Representative. But the virtual assistant is available 24/7, never becomes sick, does not have any vacations and never switches jobs. The virtual assistant is here, and its knowledge forever stays with him. For example, colleagues who have been with us for five years, leave may the company and take their knowledge along. A chatbot is a wonderful helper for new employees, as they can always ask the chatbot if they cannot find answers on our homepage."

 

Impact of the AI on the labor market

As our history shows, this is not the first time when the world has become concerned about labor market changes caused by technologies. According to Mārtiņš Sūna, AI business developer of Tilde, we adjust to changes:

"As a brand, Facebook is just 16 years old, but it employs more than 58 000 employees. Current social media managers, e-commerce specialists, mobile phone developers and data analysts are quite new professions that have gradually substituted the phone operators and employees of video rental stores. Nowadays, we can experience historic changes as we can see how the profession of chatbot trainers makes it first steps towards great success."

 

It is estimated that AI will result in 75 million jobs being lost and 133 million jobs being created. Mārtiņš Sūna is convinced that we should not be afraid of the AI as it will not replace people, but will allow us to focus on tasks with a lot of added value:

"The AI will take over mundane tasks, but will never be able to replace such skills and abilities as soft skills, creativity, initiative, critical thinking, management and leadership, ability to agree and adjust to change. It makes us unique and special, and a robot cannot be trained to become like that, thus, in the course of time, these traits will become ever more valuable."

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Kristine Metuzale Tilde

Mārtiņš Sūna
AI Business Developer at Tilde