5 ways an internal virtual agent can increase employee productivity

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Companies can use conversational AI as an effective method to streamline internal processes and help employees make the most out of their time at work.

Conversational AI is often positioned as an outward-facing technology to help brands better connect with their customers. And, rightly so. An artificially-intelligent virtual agent can be a boon to any company looking to transform the customer experience, helping efficiently automate interactions, cut costs and decrease the workload of existing human support staff.

Advances in natural language understanding (NLU) allow virtual agents to automate large numbers of menial tasks that would typically take up valuable time for both customers and employees if they were to use traditional channels such as phone or email. In the financial services sector, we’ve seen successes with large banks using conversational AI to automate up to 20% of total support traffic (across all channels), and insurance companies that successfully handle upwards of 70% of chat traffic without the need to involve human support.

These great results don’t just have to stop on the customer side of things, either. The same technology can just as easily be turned inward by companies, streamlining internal processes and helping all employees (not just customer support) become more efficient and productive.

This implementation of conversational AI is also a low-risk way to introduce employees to the technology and ‘field-test’ a virtual agent within an organization before committing to a customer-facing solution down the line. Vendors that offer pre-built content within internal support categories are a great way to get a project off the ground quickly.

Here are five ways that conversational AI can benefit a company internally so that the allocation of time and resources can be better applied elsewhere.

1) Streamline the onboarding process

Getting new employees up to speed can be a time-consuming task that involves a tedious amount of admin. A virtual agent can be implemented as an efficient way to cut down the amount of work that a manager needs to do in order to register a new team member to the various systems and services within an organization.

The unique advantage that conversational AI offers in this scenario is the ability to seamlessly connect between multiple backend systems via APIs and allow the entire onboarding process to be managed through a single, easy-to-use chat window.

2) Maximize HR and IT support

The majority of questions that employees have for HR and IT departments are usually easy enough for trained staff to handle. The issue arises, of course, that if the relevant staff is unavailable, employees will often attempt to solve things for themselves which can lead to inefficient use of time or a compounding of the problem.

An internal support agent can be used to answer the brunt of these common questions so that human staff never need to be burdened with an “I need to reset my password” or a “how do I file my travel expenses?” request again. With conversational AI, all of a company’s pertinent HR and IT information can be easily accessible in one convenient, platform-agnostic place - and all an employee has to do to get an instantaneous response, is ask.

3) Speed up time-consuming tasks

There are countless tasks that employees encounter during their workday that distract from their primary responsibilities. Scheduling meetings, filling out timesheets, logging sick leave, and more can all impact overall productivity, especially if the various systems are scattered across a confusing intranet or are in a different physical location.

Using conversational AI to automate these tasks, therefore reducing the time it takes to process them, can greatly improve employee efficiency. Employees can use a virtual agent as their own digital personal assistant to better schedule their work-adjacent tasks and reduce the amount of time spent away from important work.

4) One place for all important information

Much like a company-wide intranet, a virtual agent can be used as a central source of information that employees rely on for everything from HR matters to company best practices. Unlike an intranet, however, the natural language understanding tech that conversational AI is built on makes accessing that information infinitely easier and more intuitive.

Employees can simply ask the virtual agent for what they are looking for, instead of navigating through confusing menus or trying to guess correct search strings. Conversational AI uses a mixture of deep learning and natural language processing (and proprietary neural networks like our own Automatic Semantic Understanding) to accurately predict what users want and deliver the correct answers.

5) Proactively keep employees up-to-date

Companies in today’s digital world are in a constant state of change. Keeping employees abreast of the latest updates to products, services, internal procedures or even just who’s birthday it is this week all require a significant amount of time and effort.

Conversational AI offers a proactive method of updating employees right at their desks by having a virtual agent popup whenever any new or important information needs to be distributed amongst employees. This method has been effective at large insurers like Tryg in Denmark, who’s virtual agent greets employees when they log in each morning and distributes daily info on new products and changes in policy.