Artificial intelligence (AI) is undoubtedly here to stay. Its rapidly progressing capabilities have taken the spotlight in conversations for businesses worldwide, making it increasingly essential for them to adopt AI to boost efficiencies and assist their employees in performing their tasks more effectively. Therefore, it's hardly surprising that the highly regulated education sector is preparing for substantial changes. 
AI is enhancing human work by automating repetitive tasks without replacing those that require human interaction. Consequently, many franchises are already on the path of integrating AI into their operations to augment productivity, conserve time, and support their franchisees. Frank Milner, Global President of Tutor Doctor, elaborates on how AI can be employed to streamline, facilitate, and strengthen business operations in the education franchise industry, while confirming that there's no immediate threat of AI chatbots replacing human educators. 
As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, franchisees are seeking innovative methods to automate, streamline processes, and enhance their service or product offerings to customers. AI, with its multitude of applications, stands at the forefront of this transformation. From predictive analytics to customer service, the potential of AI to improve business operations is enormous. ChatGPT, the AI language model designed to respond to questions, offer information, and simplify your life, has certainly made waves worldwide. Since its introduction, it has stimulated debates around the employment of AI in franchising, with many being unsure about its use. 
There's no denying that when used appropriately, ChatGPT can be incredibly beneficial. It can act as a supportive tool for a franchisee, but the concerns about AI replacing our jobs and its associated negative perceptions are understandably making people worry. However, the incorporation of AI in your franchise can yield a multitude of benefits, provided robust policies are in place for its use. 
A group of 38 tutors and 12 franchisees from Tutor Doctor were surveyed to determine how they are utilising ChatGPT to improve their tutoring, conserve time, or boost efficiencies in their businesses. The responses showcased the broad range of applications AI can have, with many franchisees stating that they found ChatGPT particularly helpful as a starting point for brainstorming sessions, using it as an instrument to stimulate creativity and contribute to the discussion, rather than entirely supplant it. In several cases, ChatGPT was used to streamline communication with parents and clients and to provide a professional format for tutors to effectively engage with their customer reviews. 
All franchisees and tutors acknowledged ChatGPT's ability to modify tone to make written content more accessible, and how it aided in personalising profiles for staff and students. In resource identification, tutors considered it a time-saving tool, compiling valuable learning materials for students. Similarly, AI was often used as a tool for self-learning, enabling tutors to access quick definitions and design innovative lesson plans. Tutors also used ChatGPT to enhance student engagement and simplify instructions or tasks for different age groups, as well as generating study questions to assist students in preparing for upcoming exams. 
The role of AI in personalising the customer experience is unparalleled. It provides actionable insights into individual consumer behaviour and preferences, enabling franchisees to offer bespoke solutions. In the realm of education, AI can assist in understanding each student's learning style, enabling tutors to adapt their approach to optimise learning outcomes. For example, while tutors at Tutor Doctor have always tailored their approach to each student, AI can help to expedite this process, or to generate ideas for each student based on their unique needs. AI-driven personalised learning not only enriches the students' learning experience but also fosters customer retention and loyalty, critical elements for franchise growth. It can also enable educators more time for lesson planning, more availability for individual sessions with students, and it can free up educators’ schedules for their own professional development. 
However, the integration of AI into franchise operations is not without potential drawbacks. Concerns over data privacy, complex integration, and the need for upskilling staff pose considerable hurdles, alongside dependency on connectivity, high initial costs, and the loss of the human element in work. These are all potential challenges, not guaranteed issues, and they serve as areas to be cautious of and prepare for when considering integrating AI into your business operations. There are many ways each of these possible drawbacks can be mitigated or avoided. With careful planning, transparent practices, and ongoing evaluation, none of the problems associated with AI use are insurmountable. 
For instance, to tackle initial costs, complex integration, and upskilling of staff, it is important to start small and scale up. Companies such as Tutor Doctor have participated in small-scale AI pilots within their organisation, to ensure the technology truly benefits them before fully committing. Trialling also allows staff to familiarise themselves with the systems at the most basic level before fully implementing them across the organisation on a larger scale. Tutor Doctor also holds regular team-wide huddles to discuss and learn about how each individual is using ChatGPT and AI tools within their roles, which allows them to share valuable knowledge and ensure no one is left behind in adapting to new technologies. To combat the loss of the personal touch in aspects of the business, it's important to pair AI with human touchpoints to provide a balanced customer experience. For data privacy concerns, ensure you have robust and thorough data privacy and management policies. 
“For simple yet time-consuming tasks, AI is a great way to save time and maximise productivity and efficiency,” says Frank. “For example, it is a great tool to get the initial structure of an email or blog so you are not having to write from scratch and can adjust and tweak the wording for your brand and relevant information. It also works as a quick tool to be able to explain instructions in more simple terms by taking advanced marketing techniques and breaking them down into digestible content that wouldn’t come naturally to an advanced marketing expert.” 
“With AI being a newly introduced and rapidly evolving tool, there is some work to be done to avoid duplication or similar thoughts. It's a great starting point to then edit and adjust the content. We have held several brainstorming sessions where we have input a common business problem into ChatGPT to enrich our discussions and solution-based thinking. It brought a fresh perspective to the conversation, allowing the human participants to build further discussion from it.” 
As AI continues to evolve and its applications widen, the franchisees that adapt and harness its potential will stay at the forefront. AI isn't a concept for the future; it's a current reality and it is crucial for franchisors to rise to the challenge and manage this digital transformation effectively. Adopting AI isn't a one-off action but a continuous process. Constant learning, adaptation and investment can help you navigate the challenges and take full advantage of the opportunities that AI offers. 
For more information about joining Tutor Doctor, or for any additional information, please click on the link below. 
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