Today “artificial intelligence” is a term on every CIO’s tongue. In fact, a recent study by MITSloan indicated that nearly 85% of global executives believe AI will allow their companies to obtain or sustain a competitive advantage.
Powered by a branch of Artificial Intelligence called Natural Language Processing (NLP), chatbots facilitate conversations between humans and machines in everyday business interactions.
In Enterprises, we are seeing chatbots provide a new way for employees to interact with corporate data and work in a more productive way. For instance, an enterprise can interact with the user to acquire necessary information, return information or integrate with business systems to complete common tasks more quickly.
Enterprise chatbot trends & adoption levels
Below are some trustworthy statistics indicating the reality, strengths and maturation of chatbots for companies today:
- 80% of businesses will have chatbots by 2020 ( Forrester)
- Chatbots expected to cut business costs by $8 billion by 2022 ( Juniper Research)
- 69% of consumers already prefer chatbots for communication with Brands (Salesforce)
- 15% of consumers have communicated with a business via a chatbot in the last 12 months (Drift survey - State of Chatbots Report)
- 47% of consumers would buy something from a chatbot (HubSpot)
- 300k+ chatbots are already available in Facebook messenger (and this number is constantly increasing!)
Actual use cases for Chatbots
The relevant scenarios for Enterprise chatbots can be grouped into four main categories: Customer Service, Enterprise Application HR, Travel and Recruiting and Sales. In the next paragraphs, I will detail the actual use cases for chatbots in each category.
This is an area where Enterprises are already seeing great results from chatbots in terms of cost savings. The most common use case for chatbots in customer service is for Internal Helpdesk.
Internal Helpdesk requests are usually simple or recurring questions that take a long time to answer and which lends to a breach in service agreement contracts. Chatbots are disrupting this process by providing answers to more simple user questions, allowing service desk personnel to work on the more complex requests. Chatbots use machine learning to learn answers to common and repetitive support requests and improves the quality of enterprise Helpdesk over time. The result is savings in time and cost, while improving support efficiency.
In Techedge, we have developed a chatbot integrated with ServiceNow, one of the leaders in the IT Service desk market. You can ask our bot questions and they will automatically be answered by the chatbot via a search in our internal knowledge base. If the answer does not satisfy the user, the bot submits an incident for the user to be looked at by a service desk agent. The bot understands the nature of the issue (e.g. My domain password is locked) and routes the ticket to the correct team (e.g. Domain admin). While the chatbot takes care of simple questions, a live service desk agent can take over whenever the bot is not able to answer.
The integration of chatbots with enterprise applications is one of the most interesting areas for enterprise bots. In fact, enterprises are already leveraging chatbots to streamline business processes across departments. Chatbots can help to quickly perform everyday but essential tasks giving employees more time to concentrate on revenue-generating activities.
One example, in Techedge we integrate chatbots with SAP ERP to facilitate routine tasks and cross-application workflow activities. Interacting with our chatbots, customers can perform basic technical actions such as the SAP password reset, or more functional actions such as fetching information from the SAP system such as a stock material, or pull a report or action on workflow process without the need of logging into the SAP system.
HR, Travel and Recruiting
With HR chatbots, employees can now ask or message a bot to resolve issues, answer questions and perform other time-consuming tasks. Examples are documentation requests, PTO balance, update personal information and so on. There are already many chatbots able to update employee time report or submit travel expenses without the need of logging into various applications. Another application of chatbots in human resources is the applicants pre-screening, where the bot can ask the candidate a list of predefined questions to verify that they are qualified for the job. Chatbots can also help to simplify the process by onboarding new employees to the company acting as 24/7 advisor.
Sales chatbots can help sales representatives to keep CRM up-to-date, without wasting precious time that could be dedicated to clients and opportunities. According to ServiceNow's State of Work 2017 report, Sales executives spend an estimated 55% of their day working on low-level admin tasks, while they spend only 18% of their time interacting with customers.
Chatbots will enable sales reps to instantly perform tasks from text or voice commands instead of navigating numerous screen clicks and interfaces, delays via instant system-to-system access to fetch information/reports or enter data. In Techedge, for example we developed a chatbot integrated with SAP Sales force where sales reps can ask or message a bot to update records, get statuses, answer questions, and perform other time-consuming, administrative sales tasks on their behalf while using their everyday messaging tools.