Chatbots are the latest fad and companies providing chatbot services are flooding the market. Organisations depend on chatbots for everything, from recruitment to taking care of their employees. These AI-driven bots are in the infancy stage and have a long way to go to be near perfect. With so many different options available in the market, HR has to make sure that it ticks all the boxes while selecting a chatbot partner.
The first thing that HR leaders look for while selecting a chatbot partner is how it can improve productivity within the organisation. The aim is to maximise productivity within the organisation by making do with less or the same amount of resources, human or others, from within the organisation. A chatbot can have a big impact in an area that will benefit most from cutting costs. For instance, chatbots used in the customer service department will drive productivity with minimum resources.
The second objective is to deliver employee experience. With chatbots, managers hope to create a delight factor across every area of an employee’s journey in the organisation. Doing this creates good experiences and moments of truth for the workers. And it is not just employee experience but candidate experience as well. Aspiring workers value timely responses and confirmations of their applications when submitted online. Chatbots should facilitate consistent communication, which makes the company more attractive to the candidate.
“Chatbots should be able to understand the Indian accents. The lingual challenge very much exists when talking to a bot”
The third area is customisation and personalisation. Amit Das, director-HR and CHRO, Bennett Coleman and Co., emphasises on the need for chatbots to provide customisation options according to the types of employees in the organisation. “Nowadays, with the new generation being added to the ranks, we need a customised approach for every segment of the workforce,” says Das.
This is one area that chatbots have delivered in to quite an extent. The type of customisation and hyper-personalisation needed today and being delivered would not be possible with AI-driven assistants. A chatbot keeps collecting data as and when the employee interacts with it, and based on that data, it is able to provide a lot of insight to the managers. This guides them in terms of the steps that should be taken to engage the employees and keep them happy.
“Nowadays, with the new generation being added to the ranks, we need a customised approach in chatbots for every segment of the workforce”
The fourth is how well the bot can handle the language hurdles. This is especially relevant in a country, such as India. Companies recruit from every corner of the subcontinent and with so many different languages, the accents are bound to be different as well. This is a challenge for bots that interact using a verbal means of communication. The CHRO of Lenskart, Suruchi Maitra, admits that the language barrier is difficult to overcome. “Chatbots should be able to understand the Indian accents. The lingual challenge very much exists when talking to a bot,” says Maitra.
It is not just about accents but how a language is used. Candidates’ use of abbreviations and colloquial words and phrases may be incoherent to a bot and may prevent it from responding accurately.
Efficiency and user-friendliness
And finally, it matters how good the bot itself is. AI bots use data to learn and improve their performance and interact more humanely. A bot needs to be able to get past the early problems of interpreting emotions and recognising disengagement quickly. It has to be easy to use and interact with. It should look friendly and respond in a human-like fashion. The response time should be quick and the answers need to relate to the questions asked.
It is true that AI-driven bots have a long way to go in terms of performing at the optimum level. Bots have not learnt to respond to complex emotions and interpret contextual messages from employees. They have difficulty processing complex human emotions along with translating languages and understanding colloquial information. As of now, bots are only assisting HR to make informed decisions. But pretty soon they will be able to make complex decisions by themselves. However, for all its progress, AI is not there yet. For now, companies have to keep in mind these fundamental factors while choosing a chatbot partner.