Short for chat robot, a computer program that simulates human conversation, or chat, through artificial intelligence. Typically will function through a messenger app or similar.
10 Reasons Why Chatbots Will Save Internal Communications
As a boy, I remember eagerly poring over the employee magazine from Cominco, the metals smelter where my father worked. It was printed on thick glossy paper in full color — an expensive proposition in the early 1980s.
In some ways, those were the glory days for internal communications departments. They operated as miniature news rooms, with staff writers, photographers, deadlines and a sizeable print budget. Over the next two decades, though, most paper-based internal communications were gradually replaced with electronic ones. Some communications went to email, others to intranets, but neither received the same love and attention enjoyed by their physical forebears.
Drowning in email
According to The Radicati Group, the average business user receives 88 emails per day. But for some, it’s much worse.
As part of a research project last month, I interviewed Keli, a mid-level manager at a 15,000-employee company. Keli told me she receives about 800 emails per day. During the course of our phone conversation, she received 48 emails. Just before we hung up, she changed it — “49.”
The point for internal communications teams? You can’t trust that an important message will be noticed if you send it by email. Employees are drowning in it.
Intranets not the answer
In an effort to reduce email, many internal communications teams have attempted to shift news and communications to an intranet. Now, I have nothing against intranets — I’ve worked on them for two decades, and I even co-founded ThoughtFarmer, a leading intranet software company.
However, most intranets are not critical to employees’ day-to-day jobs. Because they’re not critical, many employees go days or weeks without visiting them — completely missing the news and communications.
Social networks a firehose
So are enterprise social networks the answer? Hardly. Keeping up with the endless stream of updates from Yammer or Slack barely works for teams of 10 or 20. As a broadcast medium for thousands of employees, social networks have nothing good to offer.
Why chatbots will make the difference
If I was a director of internal communications, I’d be frustrated. I have to ensure employees never miss an important communication, yet I’m competing with a deluge of messages across all mediums absolutely bombarding those same employees.
For the innovative communications professional, I see a solution in chatbots. I believe chatbots will save internal communications. And I’ll give you 10 reasons why.
But first, what are chatbots?
A chatbot is software that communicates with you via messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger, Skype, or SMS. You already use messaging apps today to communicate with family and friends. You can do the same with chatbots, but instead of messaging with a real person, you’re messaging with a piece of software.
For a complete introduction to chatbots, read Matt Schlicht’s excellent article, “The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Chatbots”.
10 Reasons Why Chatbots will Save Internal Communications
- All of your employees already use messaging apps.
- Chatbots reach employees who don’t have email or computers.
- Chatbots are both push and pull.
- Chatbot messages are easier to read.
- Chatbot messages are easier to write.
- You don’t have to log in to a chatbot.
- Chatbots are fully accessible by users with disabilities.
- Most chatbot messages are read within minutes.
- Chatbots work perfectly in low bandwidth.
- Chatbots work perfectly without internet.
Chatbots will be the most trusted way for internal communications to deliver a message
As for many years now, internal communications teams have faced a seemingly impossible task: ensure that no employee ever misses a critical communication, while competing with a firehose of information on dozens of channels.
Chatbots can’t eliminate that firehose. But they have advantages as a communications channel that no other medium can compete with.
Perhaps in a few years, we’ll all be deluged with chatbot messages and be seeking ways to manage them. But right now, for those internal communications professionals that are the early adopters, chatbots will be the most trusted way to deliver a message.
Credit: Chatbots Magazine
Here’s quick look at chatbots, as demonstrated at developer conferences in 2016. Google I/O, Microsoft Build and Facebook F8 all demonstrated digital assistants that use natural language processing.
Credit: Chatbots are a paradigm shift in human computer interaction
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