The Future of Human-Digital Collaboration
The growing sophistication and development of chatbots will make for some interesting workmates in the coming years
It wasn’t long ago that people preferred to communicate with each other and with brands by voice, either face-to-face or through the phone. In fact, some of us can even remember walking into a bank branch to withdraw cash or speak to a bank manager. Fast-forward to 2018 and things could not be more different with text – whether e-mail or instant messaging – far more ubiquitous, and people of all ages now communicating through WhatsApp, WeChat or other channels. In fact, over one billion messages are exchanged with businesses through the Facebook Messenger App every month, and by next year, eMarketer estimated that over a quarter of the world will use messaging apps.
For those of us in the customer service industry, we need to take notice of this radical change in people’s communication preferences. We are in the business of communicating to customers on behalf of our clients, most of whom are huge multinationals with millions of customers. If we continue to communicate solely by phone, then we will fail to communicate properly with at least a quarter of the world’s population. This applies to customers, and it also applies to future employees.
Last year we launched Everise’s Ana the Chatbot, one of our innovations that came out of the C3 Labs. Ana was our first internally-developed chatbot and aids in talent acquisition for Everise, currently being positioned throughout the C3 website. Initially, Ana will help address questions and queries that potential applicants may have, ranging from basic information requests to more complex questions by directing them to the relevant part of the website or contact. Later iterations, though, will be even more sophisticated, taking applicants further in their journey towards employment.
Why is this important? Two reasons: first, by moving onto chat we are able to communicate to our audience (in this case, potential employees) in the medium that they are most used to, in addition to phone and other means. This technology will be leveraged for our own clients as well.
Specifically to HR, we know that potential applicants want a range of information before they even apply. For instance, 87% want access to HR documents before they join a company, 67% of candidates want easier access to information on their benefits and 50% of candidates want to know more about job expectations before starting work. By allowing easier access to this information – through innovations such as Ana – we remove many of the obstacles that prevent applicants from taking the next steps towards applying for a certain position.
Second, Ana works alongside our own HR personnel and assists them in the recruitment process, providing 24/7 access to employment information and documents. By pre-screening candidates and automatically answering some of the initial questions and requests for information that they will have, our own HR team is free to conduct higher-value work including candidate outreach and a deeper selection of suitable employees.
Ana is integrated with Workday to deliver and suggest relevant jobs and assist in everything from applications to walking in the door. Additionally, once a candidate is hired Ana will create a T-30 days engagement program that keeps them engaged via SMS and a mobile app.
The idea of chatbots was first mooted as far back as 1960, but only recently have the advances in Artificial Intelligence and natural language processing made chatbots a reality. I would expect chatbots to play an ever-larger role in customer service in the coming years, and Everise will be taking the lessons learned from Ana and applying them to solutions for our own clients.
This means that the customer experience experts of the future will not just have other human colleagues to keep them company, but digital ones as well.
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