Chatbots can enormously aid employee communications and save internal communications departments substantial time. The software programs simulate conversation to interact with humans in text or voice. They’re like Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri, except they’re programmed with company information.
Internal communications teams can customize chatbots to provide the organization’s workforce a range of information. They can send messages to the entire workforce, specific teams or individual employees. Although chatbots aren’t the best option for every enterprise, they offer several advantages over intranets, one of the most common workplace communications systems.
Chatbot Advantages over Intranets
Chris McGrath, founder of Tangoworks Chatbots, explains why chatbots are better than intranets:
They provide answers — quickly. Chatbots promptly answer simple questions such as “How much annual leave do I have left?” Employees don’t need to open an app or wander around online.
They’re always open. In companies where everyone already has a messaging app open to communicate with colleagues, it’s simple to start a conversation with a chatbot.
They don’t need fast internet connections. The text-based user interfaces of messaging apps consume very little bandwidth, and chatbots delivered by SMS don’t require internet at all.
They can integrate information from a variety of systems. That’s especially valuable if a company stores data in different systems and you’re not sure which system has the information you need.
They use push notifications. Push notifications make sure employees get information fast. Employees usually view text messages within a few minutes.
They reach mobile workers. With voice messaging capability, chatbots can also be voicebots — invaluable for getting information to someone busy operating machinery, helping a patient, or working in a cleanroom.
They’re user-friendly. Some employees may have difficulty navigating a complex intranet, but they’ll know how to respond to a chatbot.
Chatbots fall short in some areas. Intranets offer the better choice for long-form content, browsing for information, and displaying full graphical user interface, McGrath says. There’s nothing to prevent a corporation from using both a chatbot and an intranet to inform employees.
Possible Chatbot Uses for Corporate Communications
Says Alexandra Zamolo, content marketing manager at Bee Keeper, cites several chatbot uses for corporate communications:
Assign tasks. Leaders can delegate responsibilities to groups or specific team members. The chatbot can confirm that personnel saw the message and request confirmation.
Report issues. Chatbots can quickly share important health and safety information. They can also receive accident report submissions or maintenance requests, and inform employees about the impact of inclement weather, such as road closures.
Deliver company announcements. They can announce new hires, departures, and leadership changes and send virtual invitations to events, and tally employees expected attend.
Distribute onboarding and training materials. They can share new hire onboarding materials, including company policies and key corporate messages. Chatbots can also run quizzes to gauge how well employees recollect information. The chatbot can then reiterate best practices based on the respondent’s answers, such as safety policies.
Manage schedules. They can field time-off requests, handle shift trades and schedule changes.
Bottom Line: Chatbots offer an increasingly popular way for communications teams and departmental managers to send information to employees. Although they’re not the best option for all organizations, they offer some key advantages over corporate intranets.
William J. Comcowich founded and served as CEO of CyberAlert LLC, the predecessor of Glean.info. He is currently serving as Interim CEO and member of the Board of Directors. Glean.info provides customized media monitoring, media measurement and analytics solutions across all types of traditional and social media.