Author: Brendan Strain
Latest posts by Author: Brendan Strain (see all)

The employee burnout rate is higher now than at the height of the pandemic, and it’s worsening. With companies struggling to maintain their workforce, many are looking for new ways to ensure they meet their service levels — like using Intelligent Virtual Agents (IVAs).

The current reality of the workforce is that burnout is now the #1 reason people in the U.S. leave their jobs: 

  • 89% of workers experienced burnout within the past year.  
  • 77% of employees experienced feelings of burnout at their current job.  
  • 57% of U.S. workers feel work-related stress daily. 

Although many things can lead to employee burnout, excessive workloads and limited resources are among the top culprits.

These problems and more contribute to what has been dubbed The Great Resignation – the ongoing movement of employees leaving their jobs searching for something more worthwhile. This is not only leading to burnout but also to “quiet quitting.”  

With the trend of quiet quitting showing few signs of slowing down, companies need to face the reality of what is happening with their workforce, as well as find new solutions, like Intelligent Virtual Agents (IVAs), to address these growing gaps

The Reality of Quiet Quitting 

Quiet quitting is a growing phenomenon where chronically stressed-out employees disengage and psychologically detach from their jobs and only do the bare minimum. Quiet quitters show up for work, but they don’t put energy or passion into their jobs.  

According to Gallup, quiet quitters comprise at least 50% of the U.S. workforce. 

Gallup’s research found that during Q2 of 2022, the percentage of actively disengaged employees jumped to 18%, and the ratio of engaged to actively disengaged employees is now 1.8 to 1, the lowest in almost a decade. 

Common reasons for quiet quitting include job dissatisfaction, lack of meaningful work, increased workloads leading to burnout, limited options for professional development, a disconnect from organizational culture, and more.  

Whatever the reasons, the impact is broad and has companies rapidly searching for solutions. From increased turnover and decreased productivity to mounting costs for training and recruiting, addressing the problems created by quiet quitting needs to be handled quickly.

While working on solutions like increasing employee compensation, opportunities for advancement, and improvement of the company culture can  contribute to enticing employees to stick around, more immediate solutions are still needed. 

This is where Intelligent Virtual Agents come in. 

Intelligent Virtual Agents Could Be the Answer

An IVA is a sophisticated piece of voice-activated software powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML). These smart bots listen for keywords and parse through data at lightning speeds to give a real-time verbal response.  

Chances are you’ve already interacted with an IVA. You may even converse with them daily. 

  • “Hey Siri, tell me a joke.”
  • “Ok, Google, take me home.”
  • “Alexa, what time is it?”  

Although Siri, Google, and Alexa are the more mainstream consumer-facing IVAs, conversational AI is catching fire in the workplace. Savvy businesses are using them as a strategic way to stop overburdening their staff. 

The premise is simple: Let the bots do the boring stuff so the humans can do the higher-value tasks. 

In the words of Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang in a recent commencement speech, “While some worry that AI may take their jobs, someone who’s expert with AI will.” 

The reality is that AI is here to stay, and it’s a relatively untapped opportunity that can enhance job satisfaction. It’s important to note that AI isn’t about replacing jobs but eliminating the time-consuming, repetitive, and mundane work people dread.  

Think: Answering the same question repeatedly, looking up statuses, or data entry — things that can cause employees to feel their job isn’t satisfying or is a dead end. 

Employees, in turn, can focus on tasks that involve complex problem-solving and empathy — the kind of work that excites people. It may be more challenging, but that work is much more rewarding than doing the same repetitive tasks every single day. 
 

Infusing Intelligent Virtual Agents into Business as Usual Pays Off   

When employees do more of what they love, they’re happier coming to work every day. Higher employee satisfaction leads to greater productivity, which leads to better service, more satisfied customers, and, ultimately, a healthier bottom line.  

While the introduction of Intelligent Virtual Agents can have a positive impact on your employees, there are also plenty of other reasons to love IVAs.   

Our partner Nextiva provided us with this list of reasons. 

#1

IVAs are available 24/7/365.  

IVAs don’t eat, sleep, or need breaks. They don’t take paid time off and they never get sick.  An IVA operating 24/7 means round-the-clock availability for customers and can reduce or eliminate the need to operate within more traditional office hours.  

Customers can interact with the IVA at any time regardless of location or time zone. This can have an overall positive impact on both your employees and customers.  

#2

IVAs are multilingual.  

A multilingual IVA allows you to broaden your reach by serving more customers in their native language. By improving accessibility for your customer base, they won’t be hindered when looking for the support or assistance they need.  

Broader language support can help provide a more streamlined and personalized experience for your customers and allows you to cater to a more extensive base.  It should also be noted that a multilingual IVA will be much more cost-effective than maintaining an internal team or outsourcing language-specific support.  

#3

IVAs “learn” on the job.  

IVAs continuously listen, interpret, and adapt on the fly when helping customers, so they get smarter over time. It can refine its understanding of user intent, and enhance its problem-solving capabilities, resulting in a more accurate customer service experience.  

IVAs can also use the information they learn to personalize customer experiences while adapting to changing needs. Over time, contextual understanding will increase as it takes data from each interaction and learns how to become more effective.  

#4

IVAs sound more human.  

With an IVA that sounds like a human, you can create an experience that feels more natural and engaging for your customers.  

Since the IVA mimics human speech, it can pick up on intonations, patterns, and characteristics you wouldn’t necessarily get from using your typical automation. Human-like IVAs can also better understand the context and user intent, searching for context and nuance in what is being said, resulting in a more authentic and accurate experience. 

#5

IVAs connect customers to agents faster.  

IVAs are smart enough to route callers to live agents based on availability rather than sticking them in a queue. With an IVA that operates 24/7, wait times in the queues to speak to a live agent can also be reduced, resulting in a speedy experience for the customer. The IVA can provide instant access to information and support while gathering data to improve future interactions.

#6

IVAs don’t suffer from burnout.  

With the ongoing trend of quiet quitting, ensuring your employees don’t get burned out is critical.  

With Intelligent Virtual Agents, that isn’t a worry. Not only can it help you decrease some of an employee’s workload so they have more time for work they enjoy, but the IVA can also help optimize various workflows to make your workplace more productive and efficient.  

With employees, you’ll always have to account for outside factors that can impact their performance at work — and that’s to be expected! By leveraging an IVA, you’re creating the time and space to better support your employees with initiatives that can help reduce their burnout. 

Leveraging Intelligent Virtual Agents for Better Organizational Performance 

With quiet quitting continuing to be a concern, employers need to fully recognize what’s happening with their workforce and find solutions to increase employee and customer satisfaction. 

The reality is that people who love their work will go the extra mile when duty calls and stick with your organization much longer.

By leveraging Intelligent Virtual Agents in your workplace, you can help streamline workloads while improving your customer experience. More importantly, you can create more opportunities for your existing workforce to thrive in their roles.