Have you ever clicked on a “chat now” or “contact us” button on your favorite company’s website? If so, you have seen a chat window open and have been connected to someone who answered your questions in a text box. Text chat gives you instant access to a customer service representative and generally gets your questions answered quickly. But did you really just chat with a customer service representative? The “person” on the other end of that instant messaging box may have been an artificial intelligence (AI) tool known as a chatbot.

What is a chatbot and why are companies using them?

A chatbot is essentially a software program designed to interact with a user through text, graphics, or audible methods. The goal of this AI tool is to mimic normal conversation and to answer questions, as well as give recommendations based on the user’s questions. Depending on the programming of the chatbot’s machine learning algorithm, the chatbot can answer hundreds or thousands of questions. The conversation is so realistic to human interactions that a user may not even realize they are speaking with a computer.

Companies use chatbots for a number of reasons, including:

  • Reduced workloads: Chatbots can handle an unlimited amount of chats at the same time.
  • Reduced operational costs: Chatbots are cheaper than human interactions.
  • Customer engagement: Chatbot reply instantly; there’s no need to keep customers waiting.
  • Employee productivity: Chatbots can operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Are there any current uses of chatbots in the market?

Short answer is a resounding yes. While chatbots and AI continue to evolve, many companies have already begun utilizing their benefits. Pizza Hut’s chatbot allows users to order a pizza on Twitter. And E*TRADE’s chatbot allows users to manage and trade their accounts.

Companies can also utilize this technology to their benefit within their HR departments. As mentioned in our previous post on using AI to find job candidates, the current HR function is in need of change in many areas.

Here are a few ways AI and chatbots can help with HR:

  • Employee training: Interactive touchpoints to engage employees during training modules
  • Benefits enrollment: A complete walkthrough of benefits and assistance selecting benefits
  • Frequently asked questions: Quick answers to the common questions employees may have
  • Recruiting: Resume screening and interviewing candidates.

As artificial intelligence continues to evolve, its benefits will continue to be realized in the HR function. Researchers agree.

  • By 2020, customers will manage 85% of their relationship with the enterprise without interacting with a human resource. (Gartner 2017)
  • Less than one-tenth of recruiting functions are experimenting with recruiting chatbots, but almost one-third plan on using them in the near future. (Gartner 2017)
  • Forty-four percent of recruiting functions believe chatbots will be highly important to recruiting strategy and operations in the coming years. (Gartner 2017)

Let that sink in for a moment. Forty-four percent of recruiting functions see benefits of chatbots in the coming years. Recruiting alone can reap the benefits of using chatbots in their core operations. How great would it be to be able to scan through 500 resumes for just one job post within a matter of seconds? Better yet, what if a chatbot could conduct a virtual interview with a candidate? The possibilities are only starting to be realized. HR personnel are entrenched with burdensome workloads, and it would be ideal to alleviate some of those pressures and increase HR’s productivity and resourcefulness.

With the influx of technology and AI possibilities on the horizon, now is the time for organizations to think through the benefits of incorporating chatbots into their HR function. MorganFranklin is here to help. Our Human Capital team can assist with full-cycle HR Transformation, Workforce Strategy, and Organization Development and Design that allow the efficient use of chatbots, machine learning, and other emerging artificial intelligence, technologies.