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Making technology work for your business: The chatbot experience

(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/Montri Nipitvittaya)

The worldwide enterprise chatbot market is expected to grow exponentially over the next few years. When used effectively, chatbots can help employees access information and solve problems quickly, reduce the scope for error, and ultimately help enterprises save time and money.

With more software applications than ever before now forming a significant part of the average working day, the typical employee is likely to be interacting with an increasing number of chatbots. But are these unlocking the desired efficiency gains?

Ensuring chatbots work for your business will be key to getting the most from your investment. While my day job is focused on digital adoption – ensuring enterprise software applications support the people and organizations that use them – the same principles can and should be applied to chatbot strategies.

Consider questions such as: What is the desired purpose or function of your chatbots? Are you providing employees with a consistent chatbot experience? Do you have the metrics in place to measure the success of your chatbots?

Always start with insight

When it comes to ensuring chatbot success, you must begin from a point of understanding the business challenge you are trying to solve, or what it is you’re trying to improve.

User analytics is crucial to providing a complete view of existing digital processes, allowing you to paint a picture of how employees are engaging with current digital platforms, where support is needed and where key efficiency gains could be made.

Evaluate and assess the potential for tools which offer greater insight into the everyday tasks and processes employees are completing on software applications. Insights such as how users are interacting with platforms, which tasks are repeatedly being corrected, and which tasks take the longest, will highlight areas where software needs to work better for employees, as well as where a chatbot could help.

You may be able to isolate one or more areas which are resulting in high levels of IT support tickets, for example, and build a chatbot strategy entirely focused on solving this problem.

Often, organizations can overpack bots with capabilities which causes challenges as they expand in complexity. Starting small – with a strategy that is informed by insight – and building up your chatbot base gradually will help to alleviate this. This can be as simple as providing automated responses to the top 10 support ticket queries.

Create a consistent, unified experience

If you do have a number of chatbots in place across your organization or department, taking steps to create a consistent experience for employees is really important. Increasingly, organizations are looking towards experience-base consolidation; seeking out ways to unify the digital employee experience across platforms.

Without an enterprise-wide chatbot experience, employees can face a number of challenges such as inconsistencies in the way they need to engage with chatbots on various applications, and in the language they use. This leads to user frustration and failed adoption of the technology.

Find ways to align and simplify the chatbot experience for employees. Look for technology solutions which connect disparate chatbots, and consider a single enterprise-wide bot strategy. This might mean that different departments have ownership of the chatbots which represent their area of responsibility, but collaborate to ensure the employee experience remains consistent.  

You should also consider how easy to use and find existing chatbots are. The very best chatbot solutions will deliver communications ‘in the flow of work’ – delivering seamless in-app support. Empowering people in the flow of work ensures they have everything they need to complete their daily tasks efficiently, reducing ‘downtime’ that is often caused by switching between applications to seek help and support.

Set the KPIs and measure success

As with any technology investment, having clearly defined metrics and the analytics in place to monitor these is crucial. Without setting KPIs at the beginning, it’s near impossible to measure the impact and value chatbots are adding to your business.

You should always begin with the intended business outcome. This might be a time or cost saving, for example, or a demonstrable increase in employee productivity. Once you’ve agreed the desired business outcome, it becomes much easier to define the KPIs which will validate whether the chatbot(s) you’ve implemented actually serve their purpose.

Key metrics could include the number of IT support tickets logged since implementation, or user engagement metrics such as task completion, task duration or number of active chatbot conversations. Monitoring task success and error rates in particular can prove really insightful.

As well as measuring success, these metrics can also play a role in monitoring and enhancing the chatbot experience – as user demands and business priorities shift, chatbots need to be maintained.

Technology which provides actionable insight into how employees are engaging with platforms and the digital support mechanisms that surround them will be key in measuring and monitoring your chosen metrics.

Why does this matter?

As workplace technology continues on its path of rapid acceleration, we should expect the ways employees access digital support to continue to evolve too. This could quickly become quite complex for users, so it’s important to consider ways to simplify, analyze and improve the employee digital experience.

By ensuring technology such as chatbots actually work for your business, you will not only reap the benefits of a more engaged, productive workforce; but be able to clearly demonstrate the value technology is bringing to your organization.

James Maude, product strategy lead, AppLearn