Considering advancements in digital technologies in the last 30 years, it’s surprising that business communications are still lagging behind.
However, communication professionals see a solution on the horizon. Chatbots.
Speaking with a computer may feel somewhat disconcerting – especially considering early ventures into the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and voice-activated assistants left a lot to be desired.
But look how quickly digital assistants like Siri and Google’s Cortana progressed!
Chatbots are already proving their worth for basic tasks – and they have much more potential to offer forward-thinking enterprises. The scope to improve the operational efficiency of your office and dramatically streamline both internal and external communications is huge.
Why install a chatbot?
Chatbots are essentially a computer software. As you already know, software is ideal for automating repetitive tasks. Recent innovations with chatbot technologies promise to deliver capabilities that conventional technologies are able to provide.
Industries that have struggled with internal communications – healthcare, hospitality, industrial, logistics and retail – can benefit greatly. Employees have smartphones they can carry with them and receive instant notifications.
This can provide benefits for both internal and external use. Booking holiday leave, locating documents, checking work schedules and accessing answers to questions can all be performed via an internal chatbot.
From an external pov, chatbots can be programmed to answer questions posed by customers. This saves people waiting for a member of your customer service team to become available to field queries.
When a chatbot cannot answer a question, queries can be channeled to members of your staff. With more people on hand to access questions, other than inundated customer service teams, brands have the capacity to deliver speedier responses and an enhanced customer service.
Overcoming the chatbot challenge
Installing a chatbot is not all plain sailing. You can’t program out-the-box software that is suitable for every business. The challenge for businesses is to program the software to understand your business and deliver responses that feel like an actual conversation.
Considering the primary role of a chatbot is to improve communications, your digital telecoms personnel should have a personality that is in keeping with your brand.
Programming software to perform tasks and answer questions is the easy part. Turning these interactions into conversations that sound and feel personable is how you bring the software to life and give the computer a human touch.
The Guardian’s chatbot launched on Facebook Messenger is a good example. It’s primary role is to deliver daily bulletins to subscribers and allows them to request topics they are interested in. It’s a fool-proof way of using chatbots yet effective in its simplicity.
Firms are also using chatbots to make lengthy documents such as FAQs or employee handbooks easy to find answers. The type of information requested in these scenarios are dead easy to program in a chatbot.
Linking chatbots to HR content gives employees access to everything they need to know without HR staff needing to get involved. You can even insert links to relevant policies and documents – such as a form to request leave.
How to implement a successful chatbot
The choice of words you use to provide relevant information and develop a personality for your chatbot will have a major influence on how successful the technology is.
The first thing to consider is your audience. Who will be using the chatbot and what specific queries are they most likely to raise?
Once you understand your audience, you have to train the chatbot how to solve queries. The most crucial part of the setup process is the quality of information you feed into the database. Make sure to include:
- Common modalities of speech
- Typical language that identifies your brand
One of the key things to remember is to build a database of questions and responses from the mindset of the person asking the question. It can be easy to fall into the trap of ‘trainer’s bias’ whereby you answer questions you want to be asked rather than questions that will be asked.
The best strategy for setting up a chatbot database is to ask your audience to use the bot. This way you tap into the mindset of your audience and use that as the basis to create a communications plan.
It is unlikely that you will be able to answer every question that will be asked. The types of questions people ask typically evolve over time, but AI has the ability to learn phrases and terminology.
Monitoring the performance of your chatbot will also help you identify missing queries. When used for external purposes, you can also gather critical information about trending topics.
Chatbots can save hundreds of man hours by automatically handling queries in a business setting. The ability to improve business communications and streamline workloads therefore enables you to channel your resources towards operations that are more relevant for the productivity and profitability of your business.
If you would like to discuss how you can integrate chatbots into your business please contact us here.