It is said that the idea of chatbots appeared as early as 1960. The first conversational robot was written in 1966 in the USA by Joseph Weizenbaum, a computer scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It was named as ‘Eliza.’ But now, only after crossing more than half a century, we can say that the world is ready for the implementation of chatbots in real life. This is, no doubt, a result of rapid technological progress in the fields of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Natural Language Processing (NLP), cloud computing, and machine learning, to name a few. Each and every high roller of technology such as IBM, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, and Samsung have successfully designed their own chatbots. The names of some of the popular chatbots are Siri, IBM Watsons, Alexa, Google Assistant, and the Bixby Samsung voice assistant.
What are chatbots?
It is a computer program which stimulates conversations with human users over the internet. It is an automated system of communication used to interact with users. It communicates through text messages, applications, instant messengers, or websites. Chatbots are the new applications which are frequently used by both small and established enterprises. A bot refers to any software which performs automated tasks and has the ability to have a conversation with a human. If a bot is asked any question or is given any instruction, the bot responds or performs an action that is appropriate. They are referred to as bots or chatbots. The concept of a conversation is the main component that is central to a chatbot.
With the widespread use of messengers, virtual chatbots which imitate humans and human conversations are becoming increasingly popular. For example, the Chinese WeChat bots perform tasks such as calling a taxi, setting medical appointments, sending money to friends, checking-in for a flight, and much more.
Can chatbots simplify office life?
Yes, of course. The general benefits of using chatbots are:
- Instant response.
- Easy communication.
- Answers to both simple and complex questions.
- Friendly and approachable.
- Complaints resolved quickly.
Today, both employers and employees feel less creative and innovative as most of them spend their workday on zero value activities. This is where chatbots come to the rescue. Some of the prominent ways in which chatbots are used in the office are:
1. Meeting/ event management
Chatbots help in:
- Preparing for meetings.
- Scheduling meetings.
- Sending reminder emails to participants/attendees.
- Preparing the minutes of the meeting and sharing it with the attendees.
- Collecting post-event feedback.
2. Work tracking
Chatbots assist by helping in:
- Work reporting.
- Task management.
- Shift planning.
- Time tracking.
- Absence/leave management.
3. Screenings and interviews
The human resource department receives an umpteen number of applications just for a single position that is advertised online. Pulling out and preparing a potential list of candidates to interview can be time-consuming. Chatbots can help save time and money by handling the initial phase of the recruitment process. Chatbots can analyze the resumes, verify credentials, and select suitable candidates for interviews. This will help HR professionals to focus on professionalism, a candidate’s attitude, and cultural fit of the candidate and the interview process. Mechanical and routine tasks can be assigned to chatbots and chatbots help HR professionals maximize their time and augment their job functions.
4. Employee engagement
Chatbots can be deployed to conduct polls and surveys in your company to measure employee satisfaction and obtain crucial feedback. For example, chatbots can interact with employees to know about the jobs they perform and to understand any issues they face with their teams. As employees might be more at ease while talking to a chatbot, it will help in identifying team building issues early. Experts or coaches can then be assigned by managers to tackle relation building and communication among employees. Though there is always a place for human conversations in employee engagement, chatbots are an alternative way to maintain constant communication with employees.
5. Personal Assistance
Chatbots can be used to handle daily routine requests. They can assist employees with workplace issues. Chatbots can help with:
- Answering repetitive questions.
- Managing internal requests.
- Searching for valuable information.
80% of businesses are looking to implement chatbots by 2020. According to Gartner, the global research and advisory firm, by the year 2020, more than 85% of customer interactions will not involve humans. Having understood the advantages posed by chatbots for making office life much easier, we can say without any doubt that chatbots are greatly beneficial to the human race. They are available 24/7 and they have access to a broad array of information and functionalities. In terms of speed and accuracy, they outperform humans. Using personalized assistants such as chatbots helps businesses carry out their routines in an efficient and fast manner. It greatly helps businesses reach out to customers and deliver their products and services in a highly personalized and structured manner. Invest in building chatbots and become the forerunner of innovation.