The number of messages sent between customers and businesses in a month – 2 billion. Yes, we are generations that prefer messaging over calling. That explains the expansion of internet communication channels whose purpose is faster and more efficient information flow. Chat apps and programs became vital not only for private conversations, but for corporations and commercial businesses, too. Although they are present form 1950s, one of the rising stars of innovations are surely chatbots – programs for automated, real-time message answering.
Chatbots tend to revolutionize the way we communicate and interact online considering that, traditionally, humans are the one doing the talking/writing, yet there are situations when we can be replaced by technological solutions. That way, people are saving time and money, providing better selling and customer support experience, gathering important statistics, and all that running 24/7. Keep in mind chat bots are not some extremely expensive innovation tool hard to implement, but a small addition making huge difference, which adds on to their popularity.
How they do it?
Chatbots are typically living inside their home applications such as Skype or Facebook Messenger, therefore there is no need for any additional downloading. They automatically cope with received messages and answer by imitating human way of communicating, thanks to AI or machine learning. Machine learning in this case means improving with experience, more specifically, memorizing key words and parts of conversations to improve verbal skills for future interactions. It’s important to learn to adapt to different tones of speech, moods and circumstances in order for people to feel pleasant and trustful talking to a chatbot. What makes these chatty fellas more human-like speakers is Natural language processing (NLP) helping them with the simulation of text produced by us. They need to be fast, helpful, precise – in one word - efficient.
Primary and most common use of these virtual agents is to answer customers in need of a quick info, detailed explanation, human customer service assistant, complaint resolution, place reservation and more. And they are doing a pretty good job, obviously, knowing that search quantity of `chatbots` and co. multiplied 19 times in the last 5 years, according to Google trends. However, conversational agents are not only consumer-oriented, but there are innovative applications of chatbots that can be of high importance for the employees themselves. Stress relief and harassment report are the two we want to inform you about.
Indie takes away the stress
Pioneera program, with its chatbot Indie, exists to make stressed workers get things of their chest. When an employee feels the pressure taking its toll, he or she can write to Indie 24/7, and it will use the language to asses what kind of help or support they need. This intelligent virtual assistant will provide advice and tools to resolve a certain problem or to simply make the human feel better. To make everyday office life less stressful.
Indie looks for words which in medical terminology mark somebody whose under stress, and it gets personal. The more you talk to it, the more it gets to know you, and the more effective and problem-solving the conversations become. What’s important to point out is that it’s all anonymous. However, although anonymous, the collected information can be of a great use for the company, which can then conclude where’s the struggle at and act accordingly, contributing to the wellbeing of their personnel.
Not-such-a-fun Fact: Stress costs the Australian economy alone $15 billion each year, and the US economy over $200 billion.
Think Pioneera and Indie have a bright future.
Spot breaks the silence
The biggest issue, almost bigger than harassment itself, is it remaining unreported. Especially at workplace. People are afraid to speak up, which results in 75% of such incidents remaining secret, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The reason is mainly the fear of retribution. Spot is developed to help the harassed reliably record an unpleasant experience, without them talking to another human.
Spot is a science and AI-driven bot which is available 24/7, doesn’t care who you are, but what are you going through, it’s free, knows what not to ask, and perhaps most importantly it doesn’t judge you. The fact that the employee can talk to Spot anytime is crucial because the report can be made while the feelings and memory are fresh. This chatbot relies on Cognitive interview techniques to gather the most relevant information and constitute the report with as much details as possible. It asks neutral and practical questions making the employee feel comfortable, not ashamed nor frightened.
Here, technology is used to empower victims and help them overcome trauma by giving them legal support. If somebody isn’t sure whether what they experienced qualifies as harassment or discrimination, there is Spot’s handbook with all the legal concepts explained. Users can then choose what details will be shared, and whether they will remain anonymous or not. Then it forms a certified, time-stamped PDF report, which can fully serve as evidence at the court. When user downloads it – it’s gone from the server. The point of using chatbots in cases of sexual or work harassment is not to provide the paper and tell it’s users they will win the case, but give them confidence based on legal doctrines. To make them feel good about speaking out, knowing it is completely justified.
Those are the cases of communication technology giving it’s best to protect and help the employees.
Besides Spot and Pioneera, there are numerous apps serving the same or similar purpose while being even better dialogists than humans. The opportunities created by this breakthrough technology are hard to count and they will continue to evolve. The ones we wrote about really made us admire on how many levels can innovative technology help us, and how limitless human mind is in producing ideas.
Just so you know, if you and your surrounding have ideas waiting in line, the whole innovation process can be easily managed by the Innovation Cloud solutions, and you’ll be many steps closer to making those ideas reality.