“Send me details on paternity allowances.”
“Who provides our medical insurance package?” Do these types of questions really need a cup of coffee, chat in the kitchen or a long phone call? Rather than waiting X days for a response via email, would the employee benefit from an instant answer? Would advantage come when HR does not have to spend the day dealing with questions that are already answered in employee handbooks and policy documents? Consumer risk aside, the second biggest reason companies are adopting chatbots internally is due to systems integration. The integration barrier Consider the average medium to large company and think about the technology stack. Sales chatbots would need integrating with a CRM, CMS, supply, marketing and reporting software. It will also need product data and, 99 per cent of the time, the ability to deal with customer service. A customer service chatbot would probably need to integrate with a CRM, CMS, product data, a ticketing system and possibly some form of reporting platform. It would require a very avant-garde business to take this new, risky and untested technology and start integrating it into software and processes. After all, regardless of budget and willingness, if there is one thing that will stop a company adopting new tech, it is the level of difficulty (time and cost) associated with its adoption. In most cases internal chatbots don’t require integration, certainly not for just building a formal business case. Consider our previous HR example. To get something like this up and running all a company needs to do is dig out the documentation, things like the employee handbook, benefits package information, policy documents and the like. These documents provide the knowledge the chatbot needs to answer questions. Once the chatbot has finished learning, the company then puts a snippet of code in the header of their internal HR platform, CRM or intranet website; wherever they’d like the chatbot to appear. That is it. Of course, future developments could integrate with platforms, processes, monitoring and reporting. But, to prove the business case, this type of low risk, testable and integration-less deployment is the reason companies are solving internal problems first. The future is coming There is a whole lot of hype around sales and service chatbots and gradually, some real results are starting to emerge. I have no doubt that very soon, it will be commonplace for consumers to self-sell and service through talking with company chatbots. While companies wait for enough evidence to jump on-board, by implementing internally first, bosses are learning how to apply this AI-driven chat technology; they are seeing the positive reward and proving the business case. All without a single future, or current, customer even knowing.
Dean Withey is CEO of ubisend
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