Other than customer-facing virtual assistants, internal-facing virtual assistants can be vital in increasing productivity and improving culture too.
In the recent hype about virtual assistants, most media and businesses focus on commerce and other customer-facing/external uses for virtual assistants. However, another really useful and interesting area where virtual assistants really shine is within the team, where it can help motivate and bring people together.
When we talk about bots in this context, we mean bots that sit within your team’s communication channels, such as Slack, Workplace by Facebook, or Skype for Business, and helps your team members with their work by augmenting their process flows.
Great uses of virtual assistants internally
- Getting team members on the same page for transparency
One of the biggest problems is information overload in today’s teams. It’s really difficult for teams to be able to receive and understand all the information that they need to do their job well, and summaries of what matters to them will help a lot. From summarization of their chat to that of their customer support tickets or sales pipeline, there are many ways for bots to bring greater transparency to teams.
- Analyzing data and content collectively to enable communication
A great way to use bots in your team is to pull in data from charts and development processes. When data is being presented in the chat, there can be a seamless and productive conversation around it without having to get on a call and share screens, navigating to another web page, or anything that could get in the way of actually talking about it.
- Building culture and connection with the company
Praise or motivation bots are also common ways of using bots in chats. For example, when someone has done well, you can log the shoutouts that other team mates have given them; or you could also sense some lull in the conversation and the bot can jump in and say something funny (like “Guys, is that all you got?”). These build character and connection and can help keep team mates engaged in the conversation.
Getting the team’s buy-in
- Test with a small initial effort
To test the team’s reaction to bots, start with a relatively easy-to-implement bot that everyone can easily adopt. As people start to get comfortable with the idea of having bots in their internal workflows, it will be easier to add more and more full-featured bots.
- Observe and fit within the team’s workflow
In order to increase the adoption of the bot within your team, you’ll have to have a pretty good understanding of how the team works and what you’d like the bot to help with. For example, if you know that the team is constantly pausing in the middle of conversations to check the latest development build, a bot that can help to bring that information into the chat context easily will help save tons of time and effort.
- Reduce cognitive overload in choices
Similarly, try to keep the decision making on which bots to add to the team lean. Focus on executing and engaging the majority of users, and iteratively add and delete bots as you observe the use and efficacy of the bots over time.
Creating longevity in the bot-human relationship
- Actively engage non-users
The bot can only really be well-adopted if the majority of your team uses it. Hence, engaging people in the team who aren’t using the bot or aware of its existence is actually really important in the long term. Actively monitor usage, and get stragglers on board.
- Ask for feedback and suggestions
Qualitative feedback is also important to the process, to have a good gauge of what your team really needs and what they feel about the bot. This will help to refine your next iterations or even which bots you should think about implementing next.
- Give the bot a personality
To really make the bot ingratiate itself with your team, give your bot a unique voice if you are able to control some of its dialog parameters. By speaking in a tone that resonates with your team, they are more likely to appreciate and enjoy the bot’s presence.
There are many types of bots and their functionalities can help your team in various ways, limited only by your resources and imagination. At KeyReply we personally love bots ourselves, and of course we use our very own machine learning-powered Digest.AI bot within our team every day to keep updated on what’s happening. Take your time to experiment, and have fun while you’re at it.