Lunchtime IC Therapy session: chatbots

ICtherapy chatbot

Last Friday saw the first in our series of our Lunchtime IC Therapy sessions. An idea borne out of our simplynetwork, the aim is to offer members a time and place to get together online. Here they can let off steam about a particular issue they may be facing, and ask questions of experts as well as learn from the experiences of their IC peers.

This webinar session was on the subject of chatbots, suitable for newbies and non-techies to those already implementing a bot, or scoping a project. It offered a lay of the landscape, and an opportunity to sort the ‘possibilities from the science-fiction’!

We were joined by:

  • simplynetwork member Den Carter, Channels and Content Lead at British Airways, who shared the backstory of the airline’s ambitious chatbot project.
  • Jean-Baptiste Delafosse of Lumapps, which creates social networks for large organisations including Violia. Lumapps is focusing on making intranets smarter, and is considering the opportunities offered by integrating chatbots.
  • Azuronaut’s Regan Collins, who demonstrated their Payslip and Flow bots, which engage the frontline workforce at food and cinema chains across the UK via mobile. They use Microsoft Lewis as the coding platform, as many of their customers are on O365.

Den chatted us through his project. For context, BA has 45,000 colleagues on the payroll and 80,000 contractors. A massive 90% of these are mobile workers without access to a desktop computer – many connect only through tablets and iPhones. He was also excited to draw on the company’s centenary and pioneering heritage for this new digital project – and pioneering it is!

They plan to bring their internal communications channels brought up to a similar, slick level of their customer experience – and that includes the chatbots. They’re aiming for a mobile-first, ‘one-stop shop’, a ‘bot of bots’; a single, multi-access channel as part of a new strategy that will reengineer the channels architecture. In four years, he hopes for a single point of contact for all the business – and yes, it’ll be a chatbot.

According to Den, this project is on an unprecedented magnitude – apparent by the fact BA had trouble finding a vendor who could deliver. On this scale, it’s not hard to find one for a customer-facing audience – but not internal.

So how is he managing it?

Watch the webinar below to find out more.

Among the questions and topics covered:

Best use cases: From shift worker rostering to training – what creates stickiness and engagement?

How to manage expectations: We can set up an FAQ – but how about the questions that aren’t in the FAQs?

Voice recognition:  Is there demand in the market? Are people moving away from keyboards?

Tone of voice or persona: How do you programme this into your chatbot?

How difficult is it to add chatbots to an existing HR platform? Can you ‘botify’ systems such as SAP Success Factors?

How do we plan for the future while new technologies are constantly emerging?

How far along are we with artificial intelligence? Do bots learn for themselves, or do you have to teach them everything? 

And of course… how much does this all cost, and how do we make the business case?

Want to carry on the conversation? Why not join the simplynetwork, where you’ll have access to the experience and expertise of like-minded peers.