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Human resources (HR) is a non-revenue generating department, but they’re also the heartbeat of an organization. Their work in recruiting, retention, training and so much more is undeniably central to a business’s success. 

Other departments have little trouble getting the technology they need to support their function because they can prove the bottom line benefits. HR, on the other hand, struggles to get the support they need. Chatbots are just one example of a piece of technology that HR could benefit from, and you might be surprised at how versatile the solution can be when applied to different use cases within HR. 

5 Automation Use Cases when Deploying Chatbots for HR

Chatbots for HR come in all shapes and sizes, and the beauty of custom chatbot solutions is that they can be tailored for specific use cases even within the HR function. Here are five examples of how automation can be put to work using chatbots for HR.

1. Q&A Automation in HR

Ultimately, HR generalists receive similar enquiries on a daily or weekly basis, and could benefit from a way to automate the responses to these frequently asked questions. Even if there are templated answers to questions that HR professionals can copy and paste into an email, that still takes up precious time and focus. Automation in terms of a chatbot answering questions would allow for a personal touch to be maintained, while employees have their pressing questions answered.

“I think there is an opportunity, similar to what we’ve experienced in other industries, such as banking, telecom, etc., where general questions to an HR department could be supported through chatbots and other pre-built Q&A functionally that would create more efficiencies for HR generalists.”

–John Doe, Director, Total Rewards & HR Technology
2. Employee Records Virtual Assistants

Another example of a virtual assistant that could support busy HR professionals is one to help with employee records. Inputting the data, handling change requests, and accessing/searching for data are all very labour-intensive processes. Handing off these jobs to a virtual assistant that could gather the necessary information from employees itself would be a huge burden off the back of an HR generalist.

person writing on notebook Chatbots for HR can be used to automate Q&A, elevate employee experience, and streamline routine paperwork and enrolment to support HR professionals.
Photo by Julia M Cameron on Pexels.com

The chatbot could also converse with managers near yearly review time and gather the required information and performance scores, inputting the data into the standardized forms automatically. The managers could then focus their time on speaking with employees during the review and spending less time on data entry. When employees need to add feedback to these records or want to access old performance reviews, they can simply ask the chatbot for this information. An HR representative does not need to be involved in the simple task of retrieving data.

“Employee records, in particular, could be better supported via automation/virtual assistant. These activities are usually very labour and time-intensive and provide little value to the individual completing the tasks.”

–John Doe, Director, Total Rewards & HR Technology
3. Increase the Efficiency of Gathering Company-wide Insights

When it comes to company-wide surveys, polling employees about their experiences can be a massive undertaking. But what if you could outsource the creation of a chatbot to gather the information you need to gain insights? 

Whether it’s feedback on the current benefits package or taking the pulse on how HR itself could better serve the employees, a chatbot can gather information in a manner that is familiar to people. This will maximize the rate of adoption and ensure that the highest number of employees are participating. Dr. Katherine Jones explains that many people are familiar with AI and ready to embrace it at work. 

“A great many employees today are used to AI support at home through Alexa and Siri and are used to interacting in natural language with bots in many online and telephone transactions. It is barely a stretch to bot-supported common HR questions for candidates, new hires, and employees in general.”

–Dr. Katherine Jones, High-tech Market Analyst (Jones, 2020)

When HR experts were asked about the promise of AI in supporting them at work, they were quick to respond with how it would help streamline the process toward insights that would guide their decision-making.

“HR respondents saw analytics and metrics as the areas in which AI has the greatest potential to improve the HR function, perceiving AI as a tool to further its ability to better understand larger amounts of data and better synthesize it to meaningful information for the organization.”

–Dr. Katherine Jones, High-tech Market Analyst (Jones, 2020)
4. Plan Enrolment Automation

As a part of the onboarding process, enrolling employees in the company benefits plan is a bit of a process itself. There are often lengthy presentations that HR representatives give about the plans and choices available. Any questions that can’t easily be answered would have to be funneled back to the plan provider, creating a lot of back-and-forth communication for HR.

Add to that ensuring that all paperwork is filled out correctly by each employee and that they have made their selections by the dates required, and it’s a lot of administrative work. If instead a chatbot was put in place to gather all the required information, storing it in the appropriate database, HR personnel would be able to spend more of their day working on the complex issues that require time and space to solve. 

person holding black tablet computer Chatbots for HR can be used to automate Q&A, elevate employee experience, and streamline routine paperwork and enrolment to support HR professionals.
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The chatbot could also be used to answer questions about the plan, enrolment dates, and the services offered. Not only would this save time, but it would also be more accurate for employees. They could converse with the chatbot about the plan at their leisure, and not have to worry about calling up HR to have a conversation. Jeanne Meister, bestselling author on the future of work, explains how AI and chatbots will naturally assist HR:

“AI will augment HR and give HR time to work on more strategic business issues. The opportunity is to use AI to streamline HR manual processes and provide a more consumer grade service to employees.”

Jeanne Meister, Co-author, The Future Workplace Experience
5. Crisis Management to Support HR Communications

In the past year alone, chatbots have played a key role in how companies have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic. With new scientific research becoming available each week and municipalities changing their regulations regularly to support public health measures, communication to residents and employees has had to step up.

HR departments have had their hands full, and so IBM took it upon themselves to utilize their in-house conversational AI technology, Watson, to help carry the load. They deployed a crisis assistant and offered it to their clients so that HR departments could keep their employees apprised of the latest changes, protocols, and news. It also allowed them to ask questions at any time of the day, again helping to free up already overburdened HR departments. IBM’s HR Innovation Leader, Eric Bokelberg, explains:

“A chatbot could be set up to specifically answer questions about Covid-19, offsetting the increased workload in the service center and giving employees a single 24×7 point of contact for information about the virus. It also enabled HR teams to easily update information as the situation changed.”

–Eric Bokelberg, HR Innovation Leader, IBM Talent and Transformation Services (Bokelberg, 2020)

Chatbots for HR Support and Human-like Conversation

HR is a vital function in any business, and the technology that supports it should also bring vitality to its implementation. Conversational AI chatbots bring the personal touch and the sense that you are speaking with a human. They are the perfect complement to a people-centred department.
If you’re curious about putting a custom chatbot solution to work in your HR department, reach out to one of our chatbot consultants today. You can learn more about us on our website.

The business use cases for chatbots are nearly endless, but there are also interesting and impactful ways that chatbots can be used for social good around the world. In particular, our favourite technology is a fantastic medium for improving access to much-needed education in emerging international markets.

Smartphone vs. Laptop Usage in Emerging Markets

In many emerging markets access to a smartphone is much more common than access to a laptop or desktop computer. And while there are still gaps in ownership between the women and men of some emerging markets, many people will share a smartphone in order to access the apps and information they require. 

In order to improve access to education and support services, the smartphone will play a crucial role. And yes, the smartphone is not the solution for all populations in emerging economies, but it does reach a much higher percentage than if education is simply doled out online or in person. Because smartphones are much more accessible than laptops, education that is optimized for mobile devices will be better received. 

It’s no different than when your experience on a mobile version of a website is sub-optimal. You won’t spend the time reading through information if it isn’t presented well. And if there’s an app that has a better user experience than the website, it’s an easy decision to consume content on the mobile app.

Any organization that is looking to improve access to education needs to look at the lowest barriers to entry for the demographic they are serving. And that might mean getting creative and resourceful with how information can be accessed on the most popular apps downloaded and utilized on a smartphone. 

person holding iphone showing social networks folder - Emerging Markets
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The Best Apps to Reach Populations in Emerging Economies

Globally, WhatsApp, WeChat and Facebook Messenger are the most popular messaging apps based on the number of active users. Keep in mind that Facebook now owns WhatsApp, making it a huge player in the marketplace. WhatsApp also dominates the marketplace in certain emerging economies, such as India, Brazil, Indonesia and Mexico.

NGOs and government organizations have looked at the platform as an option for better distribution of information and education. Because people are familiar with the interface and use it regularly in their daily conversations, there’s no additional learning burden if education is displayed in the app. Further to that, many organizations are choosing a chatbot as the means of distributing information and interacting with end users on WhatsApp. 

As mentioned above, WeChat is another messaging app that is used quite heavily. In fact, it’s the fifth most popular social app in the entire world. Originally developed as a simple messenger app in 2011, it’s now grown to include other services, like WeChat Pay and WeChat Health, which has assisted in delivering online access to pandemic-related information and self-assessment tools for the novel coronavirus. 

Other apps that have seen increased adoption, though not to the level of WhatsApp, WeChat or Facebook Messenger include Telegram, Signal and Line. Signal received a good amount of press after Elon Musk endorsed its use due to its encryption and focus on privacy. However, Telegram, which is also an end-to-end encrypted messaging app, has seen much greater adoption than Signal. It’s users have been growing in countries like Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. 

One final app to consider in emerging markets is LINE, originally created in Japan as a private messaging app, it now contains many additional services, similar to WeChat with payment options and social media features. In 2019, LINE even released an AI chatbot, making way for increased functionality and a whole slew of possible ways to distribute meaningful information. LINE isn’t just popular in Japan though; it’s other top markets are Indonesia, Taiwan and Thailand.

person people hand smartphone - Emerging Markets
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Where Chatbot Technology Will Continue to Improve Access to Education

The WeChat Health example described above is the tip of the iceberg, in terms of what apps can do to help populations in emerging markets. Consider other public health education initiatives, financial literacy programs or other life skills that governments and organizations could further by making their messaging available and easy-to-access on popular apps. Additional education could be delivered to people on financial literacy, mental health and any other 

Taking that one step further with the integration of a chatbot, and users can ask questions about the information being taught, and will be able to converse with the AI technology in their own languages and dialects. Chatbots are also available 24/7 to assit, meaning the education has a higher chance of landing when it’s convenient for people to consume. 

Finally, chatbots can also integrate voice search into their repertoire, which will further improve access to education and support services. For those that have visual impairments, voice search enables access. For those who may not have the reading and writing skills required of a text-based chatbot or educational course, voice integrations break down further barriers to access for both marginalized populations and emerging economies. 

Education delivery is constantly in flux, whether from government organizations and NGOs or from large educational institutions, like universities and private/public schools. This past year parents, teachers and students alike had to navigate the transition of education from in-person teaching to online learning. Questions around access to laptops and tablets for students to access video conferencing began to arise. Many students had to wait for tech to be provided and some simply went without. Imagine if the education was to be optimized in the future for smartphones, and with chatbot options so that more students wouldn’t be left behind. 

If your organization is looking for better ways to reach people with their services, training, support or education, get in touch with one of our expert chatbot consultants today. We can also advise on the best channels and platforms for a chatbot to maximize the number of end-users you impact. We’d love to assist your mission in helping people locally and globally.

Data-driven business insights allow you to make strategic business decisions that could give you a distinct competitive advantage. You can glean a surprising amount of strategic business insights from conversational AI chatbots.

An example of a strategic business insight might be that customers often say a competitor’s product is of higher quality. You could obtain these insights from social media, reviews, and even direct contact with customers. But that’s a ton of work. 

AI (or artificial intelligence), using machine learning (ML) and natural language processing (NLP), can help you collect data and show you trends like above, saving time and money. All you have to do is review the insights and develop an action plan to address the opportunity you’ve identified. 

Don’t forget: insights don’t all have to be actionable to have value. Sometimes insights can confirm your theories. Data collected from a chatbot can also give you critical feedback on whether your strategies are working. 

How Do Chatbots Lead to Strategic Business Insights? 

Chatbots collect considerable data through their conversations with your customers. You can mine this data to find out: 

  • what questions your customers ask, 
  • what suggestions they have, 
  • what they want from your products, 
  • and what issues they have most frequently.
Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

Let’s look at a simple example. If a restaurant chain has a chatbot, and customers are frequently asking about gluten-free, vegetarian, or vegan options, it could be lucrative for the brand to start adding items to their menu in these categories. Chatbot data can reveal potential future business avenues your team may not have determined on their own.

How Chatbots Help Your Customer Service Strategy

Chatbot data can show you trends in customer issues, from when they’re most likely to occur to the most common complaints, as well as the cause of problems. You can also collect data on customer intent when they are interacting with the bot. You’ll understand at what point during the conversation is the customer getting more or less annoyed or angry. You can then tweak your process to direct those customers to a human representative, and you can look at adjusting your chatbot’s responses to serve customers better.

Even simple interactions with your chatbot can reveal trends about your customers. If your chatbot regularly gets the question: “what location is closest to me?” it might be worth surveying customers for postal codes. Maybe there’s an opportunity for expanding your business to a location you hadn’t thought of previously.

As a bonus, chatbots can also improve your employee experience because they can quickly answer straightforward questions like “when are you open?” This gives your customer service reps more time to deal with more complex questions or problems. It also eliminates repetitive work that can frustrate employees. 

How Chatbots Can Help Your Marketing Strategy

Chatbots are a perfect complement to an inbound marketing strategy. Your content gets people interested and builds trust, while the chatbot is the first friendly and immediately available point of contact. Your chatbot can also provide further information about the items your customers are looking at and can collect their contact details if they’d like to speak to someone. Chatbots could even book appointments with human staff members. 

Chatbot data can show you what information your marketing content is missing by offering you the most frequently asked questions. You can also find out what frustrates your customers and causes them to leave a chatbot conversation without purchasing a product or resolving an issue. Trends identified can lead to a strategy to reach out to these customers with a special offer or discount to get them back as customers. 

How Chatbots Can Help Improve Your Sales Procedures

Chatbots can also lend a hand to your sales department. Similar to your marketing strategies and customer service, chatbots can help save time for your sales team as well. Strategically designed chatbots, especially when integrated with a CRM, could collect contact information and pre-qualify leads for your team to contact. 

A chatbot can also collect the data your CRM needs and fill in the details after a conversation. Think about the time your sales team could save if the first discovery call was effectively completed by a chatbot asking the right questions. Suddenly, your sales strategy can be more tailored to the prospect in question when the first in-person call is made. 

Strategic Business Insights
Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash

Depending on the industry you are in, you might have a chatbot that assists customers in making purchases online. The data collected can help you to change up your sales pages, forms and overall layout to make the experience better for customers. You’ll know from a chatbot when people ask questions, get confused and need assistance. The data from sales bots will help teams and leaders develop the next generation of even more intuitive online shopping experiences. 

Get Strategic Business Insights from Conversational AI

If you have an online business where customers can contact you via your website, on a messenger app or even through a call centre, you will benefit from integrating conversational AI into your business model. The insights gathered from the wealth of data collected are priceless. And as the chatbot continues to improve, the detailed and nuanced data being gathered will continue to direct your strategies in the years to come.

Curious about how you could tap into critical metrics and data analysis in an easy-to-use chatbot dashboard? Book a quick call with one of our consultants today!

The key to making a sustainable profit is to properly position businesses for the future. In addition, digital marketing agencies need to stay on the cusp of new trends in order to differentiate themselves in a super-competitive market. Here’s a closer look at some 2021 digital marketing trends that need to be on offer in your agency in order to stand head and shoulders above the rest of the pack.

2021 Digital Marketing Trends to Keep an Eye on

  1. Mobile Users 

There is a stable growth of purchases made from a mobile device. In the last seven years, mobile traffic is up 222%! Websites need to be optimized for mobile search and improved loading time. Readability for blogs and video needs to be a priority when the user is tuning in from their smartphone. Apps to better access information or services from a company are also important. It takes effort for a consumer to get out their laptop or sit down at a desktop, but their mobile phone is always with them, making it frictionless.

  1. Messengers 

Messenger apps have become a preferred form of communication by the majority of customers. Messages sent through this platform have a higher click-through rate than those using other forms of communication. The integration of messengers into businesses provides huge opportunities to brands, such as data collection, calls-to-action, and answering FAQs.

Photo by mali maeder from Pexels
  1. Augmented Reality 

Augmented reality (or AR) is being used to enhance the customer experience. Through AR, customers can try out different products and services wherever they are. AR is similar to virtual reality (VR) but is much more affordable for average businesses to implement. In 2021 it is predicted that more than 70% of companies will use some form of immersive technology.

  1. Voice Search Optimization 

The popularity of using voice to search is growing. In 2020, 55% of search queries were conducted by voice. Optimizing the strategies you offer customers to include voice search engine optimization (SEO) will ensure they expand their reach. Communicating to clients the importance of building a brand is going to become paramount. Because instead of a customer asking Alexa for “toothpaste,” you want them to ask for “Colgate.” Voice commands are now coming not only through smart speakers but also through vehicles and other home devices, so make sure this is part of your package offerings in 2021 to keep your clients ahead of the eight ball. 

Photo by Vlada Karpovich from Pexels
  1. Live Broadcasts 

Live broadcasts are vastly more popular than recorded video on any social media platform. Users love to feel like they can interact with a brand or influencer, and tuning in live makes it a more realistic experience. Live videos can be an excellent marketing and branding tool, because they are also promoted by platforms, increasing your clients’ reach without any input from you. Big brands should jump on the live video trend and its free added reach in order to show the value of what they do, demo products, show testimonials, how-tos, etc. It even extends the time-on-page metric that Google uses to rank results, meaning it’s also good for SEO and one of our top 2021 digital marketing trends.

  1. Conversational AI 

Conversational AI can do amazing things for your digital marketing. For example, it can gather insights on purchasing patterns, analyze the interactions with customers, and identify key areas for improvement in branding, customer service or communication. Conversational AI-powered chatbots can be an integral part of a marketing campaign through targeted messages, coupons, and other offers that are strategically tracked.

2021 digital marketing trends
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Conversational AI can also help brands understand their customers, and provide the one-on-one personalized touch of conversing via language. 

If you are interested in finding out how conversational AI can up your digital marketing game, reach out to a chatbot consultant now to discuss partnership options.