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Should you be implementing chatbots into your business?

Should you be implementing chatbots into your business? 

Many companies use chatbots to enhance the consumer experience, either to provide customer support and even to make direct sales. With artificial intelligence becoming more advanced, there is a real possibility that chatbots can be used as an option for streamlining business operations. In fact, by 2022 it is expected that chatbots will save businesses worldwide over $8 billion annually through the automation of various procedures.

So, are chatbots right for your business? Consider just a few of the benefits chatbots bring to an organization:

Enhanced mobile experience: The consumerization of the business activities is happening fast—employees want to see the same intuitiveness and simplicity in the applications they use for business as they do in the apps from their daily lives. In many instances, this boils down to their accessibility on mobile platforms. Employees want to have the freedom to conduct business where they want, when they want. Given their popularity in the consumer space, chatbots can play an important role in moving this transition forward. Chatbots work seamlessly on mobile devices—providing the simplicity and ease of use for daily business operations that a user expects from consumer programs. Chatbots used on mobile devices can easily provide employees with quick access to human resources-related information, or support for administrative duties such as organizing meetings, arranging room bookings, among other things.

Streamlined expense payments: Manual expense and invoice processing carry a burdenof inefficiency. They require employees and financial administrators to spend a considerable amount of time and resources manually inputting and processing payments at the risk of inaccuracy, losing hardcopy receipts or having to follow extensive paper trails. Chatbots can be used to help automate these processes, and many chatbot platforms have been specifically designed for expense and invoice management. A more streamlined a simplified experience will improve expense compliance and accuracy. Concur, for example, has developed a chatbot that can be used directly from Slack that allows users view expense report summaries, upload receipts, submit quick expenses and access travel itineraries simply by typing “@concur” before each command. An employee can type “ @concur, expense $15 for Uber” and the bot will automatically send expense details to their Concur account.

Improved business intelligence: Data analytics is essential for any business looking to gain a better understanding of their employees or customers, and leveraging it successfully will help business leaders make smarter decisions. The opportunity to use chatbots for business intelligence is twofold—first by using chatbots to gain greater insights on employees, and second to improve accessibility to the data itself. If your employees are using chatbots frequently enough, it is possible to gather data based on their queries, keywords, the information their looking to access, or greater visibility of employee expenses. These insights can then be used to establish more efficient and strategic internal planning. Chatbots can also be used to improve visibility into this data itself, as a form of data retriever. Whether you need information on business expenses or customer engagements, asking a chatbot a simple question can help break down complex and vast amounts of information into simple, straightforward answers.

With over 80 per cent of businesses planning to adopt chatbots by 2017, it’s important that businesses consider the advantages this technology could bring to the organization, think creatively about how these applications can be applied to bring greatest value and how they can be integrated seamlessly into your operations.

Kevin Craig is the Managing Director of Concur Canada.

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