Ep 53: Use AI to Teach Employees New Skills


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Who's this episode for?

Hey there, AI enthusiasts!

Want to learn how to use AI to train and upskill your employees?

Well, we've got just the episode for you! In this week's Everyday AI, we're diving deep into the world of employee training with our amazing guest, Nancy Munro, CEO of Verbal Transactions.

She shares her insights on using AI to teach employees, and trust me, it's mind-blowing stuff. From using structured and unstructured data to improve productivity to real-time coaching from bots, Nancy's got all the knowledge you need.

So, grab a cup of coffee, put on your AI-thinking caps, and join us for some seriously awesome AI talk. Don't miss it! Listen now on everydayAI.com or wherever you get your podcasts. And remember, the future's here, so let's embrace it together!

Daily AI News For July 7, 2023

Jordan Wilson [00:00:17]:

Can you use AI to make your employees better and to train them? That's what we're gonna be talking about today on everyday AI. This is your daily livestream. podcast, and free daily newsletter, helping everyday people like you and me not just understand what's going on in the world of AI, but how we can actually use it. You can spend countless hours a day trying to keep up with what's going on in the AI world with news, with new tools, and softwares, and how to actually use it, or you can tune in to everyday AI. that's what we do every single day. So very excited to talk about that exact topic today. Can you use AI to train your employees, to have better employees. Before we talk about that and bring our guests on, let's first talk about what's actually happening in the world with AI. So some big developments.

So everyone's favorite sidekick, chat, GPT, some some big updates in the last couple of hours. So The parent company, OpenAI is making finally, yay. GPT 4 API available to all paying customers. So If you're not a developer, this might not mean a lot to you. But for the everyday person, this does mean a lot. So all of these, if you're using 3rd party, tools that use GPT for, you're gonna start to see a lot better quality in these external tools. So more on that, But another big thing with OpenAI is they finally also released code interpreter to all paying members as well. So couple couple big developments there, and and we'll have more in the newsletter in the AI in 5 section on code interpreter. Alright. Let's let's move away from OpenAI talk about Google. Right? S

o Google just reported that they use that they may start using DeepMinds sparrow as a chat GPT competitor. So we'll have more in the newsletter on exactly what that means, but an interesting development that, you know, Google is starting to look at additional models to come in and start to compete with chat GPT. So speaking of that chat GPT thing, all schools are are are using it. Right? Students are using it. Schools are trying to see how to deal with it, at least here in the US. But in Japan, so a new new report looked at how Japan is actually allowing, and in some cases encouraging the use of generative AI tools such as GPT all the way down to elementary in in middle school as well.

 So I'm I've been very fascinated with with how the US is struggling to to deal with generative AI. And, you know, in most cases, just trying to ban it. So pretty pretty interesting article today that we'll be linking to in the newsletter talking about how Japan is is actively and proactively just using it. So that can help us all learn.

So speaking of that, you can also use AI to train your employees just like students can use AI to learn Right? So with that, let's bring on our guest for today and talk how we can use AI to teach employees. So very happy to bring on fellow fellow Chicago area person here. So Nancy Monroe is the CEO of verbal transactions. Nancy, thank you for joining us. Well, thanks for having me, Jordan.

Nancy Munro, CEO of Verbal Transactions

Nancy Munro [00:03:37]:

Love to talk about this subject. You know, I'm I'm sorry we only have 15 minutes.

Jordan Wilson [00:03:41]:

Yeah. That's that's it's it's always true. You know? These conversations could go hours. So as a reminder, if you are joining us, thank you. So we already have couple couple comments. But if you do have any questions for Nancy on how you can use AI to train your employees, go ahead and drop a a comment here and look at it answer. If you are listening later on the podcast, make sure to join us for these livestreams, 7:30 AM, 7:30 AM Central Standard Time. So so, Nancy, just tell us quickly, you know, what is verbal transactions, and what do you all do?

About Verbal Transactions

Yep. So verbal transact,

Nancy Munro [00:04:16]:

is an enterprise learning company, and we focus on, right now, call centers to help get those call center agents up to speed fast by using a hands on immersive simulation platform, and we're leveraging natural language processing to allow people to have real dialogue inside the simulator, and then we're observing them through automation, and then a bot acts as their coach. you know, if you if you get off track to say, oh, you didn't type the ZIP code incorrectly or, oh, I didn't hear you authenticate the customer correctly. Let's try that again. And the reason that works really well is people in the learning space are probably familiar with Bloom's taxonomy of learning. but what people may not be aware of. He also does study around something called 2 sigma.

He wanted to know what is the best way best environment to teach someone how to learn something. So he tried traditional classroom training, which is still the dominant delivery mechanism today. then he tried peer to peer groups. That didn't work so well. So he found out the 101 tutoring was the best way to teach someone a new skill because you can Observe them doing something, give them feedback, let them kind of work their way through some more complex skills. So I'm using the bot as the tutor. So the bot is observing what they're doing. The bot is interacting with them in real time. It's giving them real time feedback versus delayed feedback. And so there's a lot of other, you know, cognitive things that I could talk about, but that's how we're using NLP and and bot technology to teach you a new skill.

Bots Watching our Every Move

Jordan Wilson [00:05:50]:

You know, when I hear you describe it, I think my brain thinks 2 things. At first, I think oh, that's a lot to have a bot watching my every move, you you know, almost to feel like it's analyzing you. But then, also, I think What a great way to be trained. Right? Mhmm. So how how has the reception been? because I know you've been doing this for a couple of years, but how was the reception been when you are using this technology to train employees.

Nancy Munro [00:06:18]:

Well, the employees love it. I think sometimes just like any any type of AI platform, you know, some of the trainers think, oh, they don't need me now. I'm not I'm not gonna facilitate this class. Right? They're just gonna go into the simulator. Well, I mean, you still need someone. So what happens is as we're delivering that simulation, if they mess up, where the personnel can come into play, the person that used to be the instructor, they can look at the analytics that we spit out from the simulations to say, oh, they have this one area where they really got off track, this is where you need to then kinda intervene. So it allows people to be more proactive in catching mistakes ahead of time versus reactive once they're talking to you know, we've all had that bad customer service experience with somebody who didn't know what they were doing. Right?

Jordan Wilson [00:07:08]:

Oh, gosh. Yes.

Bots in Customer Service

Nancy Munro [00:07:10]:

And and statistics show that 70% of the time you leave a brand, is because you had a poor customer service experience. Mhmm. And you're having those poor customer service experiences is because there's 40% turnover in call centers. Yeah. So let's fix that problem.

Jordan Wilson [00:07:26]:

You you know, pre show, you kind of said it's it's flight simulator for for call centers. Right? Mhmm. So this what you're doing at verbal transactions, it makes perfect sense for for that use case. But if we hit you know, if if we zoom out a little bit, and we look at these types of of technologies and just AI learning in general. You know, what's what's your take on it? Because you were you know, verbal transactions was here before the recent you know, AI wave, so to speak. But but but now it's it's very commonplace. So where do you see kind of the industry going? Is it going in a healthy direction with, you know, AI assisted learning, bot learning? What are your like, what's your take on that?

Nancy Munro [00:08:09]:

Structured and unstructured data

Here here's how I described it, Reese's. So you think of structured data. You've got your HR records. You've got your like, tests and assessments, all that structured data. You've got let's say it's a a tech support agent. You've got how many how well they can handled tickets. Right? All that is structured data. But now imagine if you can then take unstructured data such as I'm wearing a a device that's measures my heart rate while I'm doing some work task, or I get up x number of times out of my chair during the day. Well, let's say you take that unstructured data and look to see, oh, at 10 o'clock, you you know, you're not as productive as you are. we're gonna pump more oxygen into your your desk, or we're gonna do some things you know? So where I see it going is taking all the structured data, and extra data and kinda comparing the 2 together so that you can make people more productive in an autonomous way but then use that information to let the organization be much more strategic and proactive on how they're making decisions about the organization, but also how they're interacting with customer

Jordan Wilson [00:09:20]:

Yeah. You you know, even on the customer side. Right? So you talked about how you know, verbal transaction is is, you know, specifically using, you know, your model to train call center employees. For the rest of us, right, I think we're gonna start to see a lot more interaction with with bots everywhere in general. So with your background with with natural language processing and NLP, what should we, as the everyday consumers on the Internet, everywhere else, are we just gonna be talking to only bots pretty soon?

Smart tech at home

Nancy Munro [00:09:57]:

Yes and no. I mean, there's certainly and and when he was like, chat. I I get a little frustrated because you're not literally talking to them most of the time. And and so When you're typing things, that's that's easy. That's easy. For NLP engines to do that, it's easy. Where it gets really complex is when you are taught physically talking because there's a lot of other things that factor into that. But to your point, talking is the most natural thing in the world. Right? And so I wanna get to the point where in the enterprise, consumer products, they've nailed this. You know, we talk to our thermometers. We talk to our cars. We talk to you know, You know, we have I always say the lady in the car is telling me where to go. She knows it. You know? My husband doesn't trust those things. I'm like, the lady knows. Right? And so so the enterprise, we've gotta cross that hurdle. But there's a lot of other complexities around the enterprise. You know? Do Now everybody has a microphone. They didn't always have a microphone accessible to them. But because of COVID, everybody has a microphone and a camera now.

Right? So that's making my job a little bit easier. But just imagine let's say I have Salesforce, and I'm not at my quota, and it's halfway through the month, and I'm not halfway there. workflow can be triggered so the bot starts to talk to you to say, hey, Nancy. You know, it's halfway through the month. You know, you're not where you need to be. I see you've made x number of phone calls because you can read that structured data. I've seen you send x x some emails out in the blah blah blah. Right? and you haven't sent too many proposals out. Let's let's go back and let's see if we can help you figure this out. You know? So it helps automate the observation again of somebody's work task. Yeah. Do you think of all the the cameras that are around places today? You know? Those cameras are observing people? You know? Are you bending the right way when you're picking up a box in a warehouse? You know? So cameras and AI are gonna help with some of those things too.

Jordan Wilson [00:11:50]:

Targeted learning

Yeah. Wow. I just I just thought of so many so many different ways, right, that that AI can be used to teach new employee skills or just to, you you know, prevent accidents and all of those things. So we actually have some very specific questions. Sometimes on the show, we get general questions. We have a very specific one from here from Aman. So, hopefully, you can take this one here, Nancy, because I can't. So ask thinking, how can AI be leveraged to identify skill gaps in an organization? That's exactly what I'm saying. -- targeted learning. Yes. Okay. So -- So in our In our simulator,

Nancy Munro [00:12:27]:

we're tracking. Did they express empathy at the right time? Did they type the ZIP code in accurately on the first attempt. And so our software spits out in very plain English. Did this correctly or didn't do this correctly? And so we're identifying those skill gaps in real time so that you can coach them immediately and be proactive versus There's this measurement of learning. There's four levels to it. And most organizations are using it, but You can't get to a level 4 or level 5 for months down the road sometimes. This accelerates the rate in which you can capture those skill gaps in hours versus days. And so that's, again, why aren't companies using technologies like this that are available because they've all got locked into something called SCORM based learning, which only tracks when somebody attend class or once somebody log in to something online when they completed it and if they passed a test. That's it. Yeah. There's no scalable way to measure scale gaps unlike our software.

Jordan Wilson [00:13:34]:

AI in power outages

Yeah. And it's actually a great a great transition for this next question. So, Rastafaa asking, as we get more connected, should we be concerned of when systems go down or systems failures. Right? So That's a great it's a great point, Nancy. Right? Like, if we are whether it's for employee training, right, teaching, you know, teaching people new skills, if we become too reliant on AI, what happens, you know and we're not saying verbal transactions, but what happens if a system goes down for employee training or even if we're just using it. What's your thoughts? Right. Right. Now I've we are so dependent on electricity.

Nancy Munro [00:14:14]:

You know, I was on a panel the other day, and so I says, what what can't you live without? You know, everybody's seeing, like, some app or whatever in mind is access to clean drinking water. You know? I mean, those things. And and the fact that, you know, Ukraine is fighting these hand battles hand hand hand hand combat, which is ridiculous to me. There's so many ways that we could actually, you know, destroy people, you know, through water systems and things like that. So It it is a real concern. You need to have some kind of backup plan in place. You need to get people into so they can learn independently somehow, you know, give them access to some kind of other tools so they can manage that on their own if if there are some kind of shutdowns like that because it is a real threat, and you think about power outages, you know, when Texas had that power outage and people were freezing in the middle of winter. These are very real problems. And the more we put into reliance on AI and bots and machines, there's a risk there. Absolutely.

Jordan Wilson [00:15:18]:

Sure. Yeah. It's it's something I'm I'm constantly thinking about, you know, because companies are you know, being a little quicker now, I think, to start using generative AI to put it in every step of their every step of their business process, but then it's like, okay. Great. You know, if if before, you know, if Gmail went down or Outlook went down, you know, that just impacted one part maybe of your operation. A big part But then, yeah, what happens when we have AI integrated front to back in every single part of our business -- Yeah. Think think analog.

Nancy Munro [00:15:50]:

You need some kind of analog

Jordan Wilson [00:15:52]:

system to pack it up. Yeah. Yeah. That's not that's not a bad idea, but I don't think anyone's gonna be rushing out for for typewriters anytime soon. So one one other question that I had for you, Nancy. So, you know, verbal transactions is is really know, focus on doing one thing really well. It's your training, you know, employees in call centers using AI. Right? But for the rest of us, how can we work better with AI? Because I also believe that, you know, I've I've been saying this for years. The future of AI is You're gonna have your own, you know, AI assistant on your desktop that follows you quote, unquote, follows you around on your computer all day. But I think there's a learning curve. Right? To to to work better with AI. So you've seen it, I'm guessing, through 100 or maybe 1000 of employees, But how can the everyday person prepare or get used to when that AI assistant comes? Yeah. Yeah. get comfortable with technology

Nancy Munro [00:16:53]:

in baby steps. So if you're listening out there and you have access to Microsoft Teams, Teams has a way you can create your own bot in teams. There's lots of other there's bot chatbot.com as a free trial, and you can just play around chatbot.com to figure out different ways to create a known bot for your learning. Amazon Alexa has something called skills. and it's free. You can create your own skills. So if you have an Alexa device, you can turn it on and off your lights in your home. Right? You can have smart plugs that you can use. to turn things on and off when you're not home. So there's a lot of consumer devices out there that you can play around with that allow you to automate certain tasks in your home, like, thermostats are doing it. Refrigerators are doing it. You know? So I would say start off small and find there's lots of free I'm I'm the queen of all free things. If you can do it free, just do it. But Alexa Skills is actually a very good way to start, and they have a lot of template that you can use and customize, so I would start there. Yeah. That's that's a great point. It's it's actually crazy bringing that up, Nancy. I've had a smart light bulb.

Jordan Wilson [00:18:02]:

sitting sitting in my closet for 3 years, and I finally installed it. I finally installed it, like, 2 days ago, and I'm like, why didn't I do this? Right? You know, having that smart yeah, just getting use of working with, you you know, smart tech, I I think, is is great advice. So I'll leave you maybe with with with the last question here -- Yeah. -- for you as as we wind down on the week. It's Friday. Right? Yeah. So so maybe we'll we'll end with a hard hitting one. how can maybe if someone's listening and and they're a department manager or maybe they're a small business owner, CEO, what would be your advice on how they can use you know, because maybe maybe verbal transactions is perfect for them, maybe not. Right? But how can they use AI to teach their employees, to train their employees? What would be kind of an I know it's a hard question, but I I I think you could take this 1. But how can everyone start to use that the concept of of AI learning to to better their employees into upskill?

Preparing to work more with AI

Nancy Munro [00:19:09]:

Well, I mean, again, I would start with the, like, the Alexa skills and things like that because they're free. The downside to those things are they're not necessarily private? I mean, unless you pay a lot of money to have a Python programmer, you know, customize that for you. So from an AI standpoint, Spell Chuck. is AI. Right? Yeah. I mean, you know, you think all those things that help your world make it better, spell check, things that automate in your world. So learn how to use Google or Microsoft has lots of tools to help automate workflows. Automating workflows is probably a a a very underutilized technology. In fact, SharePoint was a very underutilized technology from a learning standpoint. You know, people had it had it accessibility to it. They weren't leveraging it the way they should. So look at the tools you have today and think, how can I leverage these? And does it already have some kind of AI component in it PowerPoint has it, and it helps you design your slides. It's it's building the PowerPoint. So just educate yourself on what you today. And if it has AI in it, learn how to use it.

Jordan Wilson [00:20:13]:

Yeah. That's great that's great advice. You know? See see what you already have in your workflow that you can automate, you know, you said Microsoft SharePoint presentations. It's fantastic advice. I think you just have to start So so, Nancy, thank you so much for joining the show. It was great to have you share about verbal transactions and everything that you're doing. Thank you. We appreciate all your all your time and insights. No. Glad glad to glad to be part of the show. Thanks for waiting. Yeah. Absolutely. So As a reminder, if you wanna know more about what Nancy's talking about, make sure that you go to your everyday AI.com. sign up for our daily newsletter. We're gonna be linking to some of the cool work that Nancy and verbal transactions are doing as well as some of the takeaways that she talked about because I think it's great. that's what we're doing at everyday AI. It's all about actionable next steps to help you use all of this AI technology that we're talking about every day. So We hope to see you back next week with everyday AI. Thank you all. Alright. Thanks.

Speaker A [00:21:14]:

And that's a wrap for today's edition of everyday AI. Thanks for joining us. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe and leave us a rating. It helps keep us going. For a little more AI magic, visit your everyday dot com, and sign to our daily newsletter so you don't get left behind. Go break some barriers, and we'll see you next time.

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