4 min read
A bot is a software backed application that can converse like humans either via text or text to speech to another individual on the other side, for information provision or clarify a query. Due to this conversational capability, bots are also known as conversational bot or chat(ter)bot or virtual agent (meaning a customer service agent) or smart agent or other similar names. Chatbots got developed to enhance human efficiency and to take care of routine or repetitive actions so that human’s precious time can be applied to do something more value-adding. In modern times, chatbots have gained popularity, more in customer service, and much less for enhancing internal efficiency.
We always opine that customer service is personal and needs a personal touch. If a chatbot is involved with a customer, maybe, we can finish it with a personal touch by way of chatbot transferring the conversation to a physical service agent. Similarly, if the chatbot can be applied to internal processes saving precious time of employees, employees have more time to indulge in customer conversation or create a good experience for customers. I strongly feel enterprises must first start using chatbots internally to improve efficiency rather than jumping to use it for customer service. All of us spend several minutes accessing information, either in search or navigating a series of menus in an ERP or eCommerce application or travel site. If we can save that time spent, we will have more time at our disposal to read or attend to more value-adding tasks. Employees are motivated as it takes lots of routine and mundane tasks out of their functions.
Let us imagine a situation of generating a customer outstanding aging report and mailing it to my boss for a forthcoming review meeting. I may spend between three to five minutes to accomplish this task, depending on the smartness of the ERP system that is in use. If I can indicate the same in a chat with a bot as “mail debtor aging report to the boss and me now,” it takes less than ten seconds for me to type. The time saving is enormous, and the task gets accomplished. Here the bot understands the debtor aging report, and looks for it in the report menu, understands my boss from the organization chart, runs the report, gets the report, and mails it to both. I can give my best each day by delegating my routine tasks to the bot and I can do more productive work. This new way of engaging makes me motivated to contribute to enterprise goals and success. I become an engaged employee ever working towards enhancing enterprise agility and growth.
While designing and developing our Retail Management System, Retail ViVA, we decided to internalize the chatbot for improving employee efficiency before using the bot for customer service. We got Tulsi, our chatbot trained on all twenty-six modules before embarking on training the bot for customer service. We could sense enhancement in employee engagement and productivity in a short period of two months. Employee satisfaction surveys also indicated a more robust engagement than before. Employees also loved the way they can get information on demand and that information being live without any lag.
Any employee would love time-saving methods. Employees feel empowered when they can get information on demand and feel motivated as well. Information on demand helps in their decision making and becomes a sound decision support system. Access to information and delivery success boosts their confidence to grow to the next level of the hierarchy and contribute to enterprise goals.
I recommend implementing a chatbot for internal systems first and then plan to implement for customer service. By getting used to the chatbot, employees can better articulate chatbot design for external customer service options, so that brand equity enhances.