Simply explained: What are enterprise chatbots?

Obviously most chatbots exist within a consumer context, say for customer service purposes; however for an enterprise chatbot the use for internal customers (i.e. your team) is top of mind.

Put simply, an enterprise chatbot is a conversational interface with a business application. Employees can pose a complete question to their chatbot and it will recognize and fulfill the user’s intent.

Even though they basically use most of the technology that regular chatbots use, they come with tweaks to create use cases tailored to a given organization and its employees.

Examples of enterprise chatbot use cases include:

  • Chatbot for IT Helpdesk issues that suggest solutions based on the problem description and open a ticket if the problem can’t be resolved
  • HR related chatbots for asking about policies, allowances, workplace perks, etc.
  • Business intelligence chatbots that could look up reports, facts, figures and maybe even send visualizations in the form of charts, gauges and tables
  • Intranet search chatbots that can narrow down search results with Natural Language Processing (NLP) to capture file types, times, authors or storage locations from just one query
  • Subject matter expert chatbots that could be an intermediary between lengthy knowledge bases and employees trying to answer ad-hoc questions for either themselves, or even customers they are speaking with in a shop or over the phone

Can my department own and make an Enterprise Chatbot?

With chatbots facing external customers the case is often clear, the experience is often owned by the customer service department and is typically integrated with Helpdesk or eCommerce solutions.

Many companies consider employees and other stakeholders their “internal customers” and want to make their lives as easy as possible, too. This is a big driver for the Digital Workplace in general.

For internal-facing chatbots ownership can be less clear, but it will usually be owned by either IT or the Internal comms/Intranet team. It depends on how deeply the chatbot will integrate with company data, here are some hints which department might be better suited:

IT ownership

  • A Microsoft Teams chatbot integration
  • Integrations with some APIs can mean having to develop and debug it where the onus would again fall on IT

Internal comms/Intranet ownership

  • QnA Bots that draw from internal knowledge
  • Governance of data contained in the bot
  • Distributing the bot and communicating it to users

Editor’s tip
You can gauge how much IT involvement you’ll need by going through our buyer’s guide on how to pick the best enterprise chatbot platform.

Use cases for internal chatbots

With chatbots in particular there is a noticeable degree of overlap between typical use cases for customers and employees. The lingo is different, but the intent is quite similar:

  • Consumers ask for their bank balance – employees for their PTO allowance
  • Customers want refunds – employees want reimbursements
  • etc.
Infographic showing examples of the ways chatbots can improve experiences for both customers and employees
Similarities between chatbots for customer service or employee service

Typical enterprise chatbot uses cases would be:

  • asking questions like how much PTO a user has left
  • locate documents and policies
  • get updates or summaries from their other applications
  • find experts within the business

Related: 10 most popular chatbot use cases for your Intranet

Enterprise chatbot challenges

A major obstacle for creating an enterprise chatbot is to maintain user adoption and have users relearn to use the chatbot instead of the old way that existed before.

Why is this hard?

With most enterprise chatbot platforms it is relatively easy to set up your text responses and teach the chatbot the necessary natural language capability to safely match a question to an answer.

But oftentimes such chatbots are built on ‘canned’ text and can merely link you to a knowledge base article somewhere on the Intranet. Or if the answer is a lengthy policy the chatbot just “dumps” the lengthy, non-personalized response on the user and they need to read through it and pick what is applicable to them.

Isn’t ‘canned’ better than nothing?

It sure isn’t worse, but it also places the identical cognitive load on the user, as going to the Intranet search would have. As we covered in our Intranet chatbot guide, failing to reduce friction for the user is guaranteed to not have them return.

Thus often chatbots end up not leaving the ‘experimentation’ stage, as they’re not sufficiently better than what was before – thus failing to ‘retrain’ user habits.

In order to give enterprise chatbots the capacity to give the user a personalized, direct answer to their question, the chatbot needs to be integrated with all existing business applications from both the cloud and on-premise sources. This requires the chatbot platform to offer API integrations and a some kind of answer ‘designer’ or ‘configurator’ that lets the admins pick out which part of an API’s response would be used in the answer.

The goal would be for the chatbot not to say

You need to click here to log into the portal to find out how much leave allowance you have

but instead just respond

You have 6 more days this year. Want to request more?

Benefits of using enterprise chatbots

Happy customers and happy employees – enterprise chatbots have similar goals

Organizations are using enterprise chatbots in order to:

  1. Reduce time employees spend looking for and aggregating information
  2. Answer frequent questions to HR or Servicedesks directly and without wait time for the user
  3. Automate the processing of requests and simplify submissions for the employee
  4. Help the employees with processes they do infrequently, like updating the name on their employee file or renewing a security badge
  5. Automate daily or regular processes by constantly watching out for changed data or changes in conditions and alert the user only when changes are detected; thus reducing the need to manually check certain applications
  6. Reduce the number of clicks necessary to look up simple things like available meeting rooms, cafeteria menu, building notices

Much like enterprise chatbots for external customers, internal chatbots are instrumental in cutting down on time, clicks and user focus necessary to get done or answer all manners of questions large and small.

Depending on your needs, and scale of your project a number of platforms could be of interest to your Digital Workplace. Check out this guide that helps you identify which chatbot is the best for your organization.

Related Posts
Read More

Digital Assistant for HR

Digital transformation is uniquely affecting every facet of HR operations, be it recruiting digital natives, offering digital services…