Chatbots and business transformation
Mark my words, in a relatively short time-span, chatbots and business transformation will become synonymous. It has to! The technology is too disruptive for it to be ignored.
Recently, we’ve been seeing in the media how robots/chatbots/AI (artificial intelligence) are transforming how we do things and how robots might one day take over the world and we humans will become superfluous to most tasks. Worries over AI and how robots will become sentient beings has been dramatized in Channel 4’s ‘Humans’. That’s all well and good, but for now, the area that excites me the most is how chatbots will take over the delivery of repeatable knowledge that Tier 1 (lowest level) support technicians/engineers deal with via call centres.
Most of us will have been on such a call to a support centre, to fix a software bug or a hardware issue, and been asked questions that are obviously being read from a script. Unfortunately, they need to assume one has zero computer knowledge and the pace is exhaustingly slow and incredibly boring for the likes of me. Indeed, I would be most surprised if that script isn’t in a decision-tree flowchart format whereby if the client answers ‘Yes’, the support server jumps to the next question and if the client answers ‘No’, s/he jumps to another line of questioning.
It’s not great for the technician at the end of the line either – it’s boring and repetitive, pure drudgery. Many users of such services are getting savvier and would be happier to run through these questions at their own pace, interacting with a chatbot, rather than a human. Some may prefer to fix their issue outside of business hours. Either way, not having to wait in a queue for support to answer the phone, ‘livechat’, or email via a forum is a huge bonus. Tier 1 employees could be better placed using their grey-matter for more challenging work, enjoying a more rewarding work experience; organisations become more efficient and save labour costs. Therefore, chatbots and business transformation are a no-brainer!
The beauty of this technology is that chatbots can illustrate their answers with images, video clips, links to other knowledge or even, they can hand over to other chatbots that contain other knowledge. The other chatbots may not even be scripted, they have be smarter, AI chatbots, because ‘widgets’ in the Microsoft Azure platform all work together, seamlessly to the end user. So does chatbots and business transformation appear to go together? Of course they do!
Other areas scripted chatbots can take over include regulations such as policies and procedures (P&Ps). Corporations can have hundreds of P&Ps, potentially in different languages, many having been created by policy writers who are interpreting government legislation into palatable language. The problem with their interpretations is that the end result can become unfit for purpose. Other problems arise when the legislation needs updating or amending. The employees would need to receive updated copies and prove they have read it amended version. Similarly, in real-time critical situations, imagine having to sit down to find the right procedure in a document of potentially tens or hundreds of pages, especially when comprehension is reduced until time constraints and stress. Here is yet another example of how chatbots and business transformation will go hand-in-hand, changing the way we have done things for decades.
But what if your complex P&Ps were broken down into ‘Yes’, ‘No’, ‘Not Sure’ choices so that the decision-making speeds up to seconds, reducing the time to answer to minutes rather than several hours or days. Who wouldn’t want to use such chatbots?! I know my answer…