Can Chatbots be HR Initiatives?
As an HR rep, your job is to make sure everything runs smoothly. You know every process, every rule, every company policy. You could recite the employee handbook by heart as if you wrote it yourself ('cause you probably did).
Sometimes, though, you have to come up with ideas. You love to do this because it spices things up. Involving the employees in HR initiatives is a big part of the fun of being an HR.
Lately, you may have heard of chatbots. We at ubisend have talked with many HR reps from businesses of all sizes. With them, we discussed the issues the HR department faces (too many enquiries about the same ol' questions clogging your inbox, just to mention one).
Automation and AI, an HR initiative?
The question is, then: can deploying a chatbot be part of your HR initiatives? Can bringing an AI solution to the company be part of these new processes you want to bring within your teams to not only spice things up but also make your business more efficient?
I think it can.
Like with any project you wish to bring forward to your team, you will have to present a solid business case for this chatbot (more on that below).
However, if planned properly, an HR chatbot can be the tool your company needs to step into the magnificent world of AI and automation.
Of course, the chatbot development company you pick to help you out should hold your hand throughout that process. It is not an easy step to take, so make sure you pick the right company along for the ride.
Planning your HR chatbot business case
You have decided to put your HR chatbot business case together. Great. You are going to need a few things to get there.
1. Internal research
Talk to your HR team. Have they heard about chatbots? If not, briefly explain what they are and what you think they could do for your team.
Let them go crazy. Open the discussion for an hour or so and see if anyone comes up with cool ideas.
2. External research
You've got the feedback from your team, now is the time to do some research.
Who out there is the best chatbot building company? Who has the experience to help you out? I suggest you read this article which explains all the steps within this specific step.
3. Talk to providers
Narrow your search down to two or three chatbot providers and talk to them. Grab our 20 questions spreadsheet, it is going to be super useful to you during these meetings.
20 Questions to Ask your Chatbot Developer. Grab the free worksheet.
At the end of each meeting, get them to send you statistics, case studies, and demos of the work they've done -- this is all going to go into your business case.
4. Bring them in
This is a step we take with all our potential clients: we meet them face to face.
You most likely have put a business case together for another project before but this is completely new territory. It's good to bring your company of choice in to help you out. If they are not willing to do that prior to signing a contract, I would probably stay away.
Get them in with the explicit purpose of helping you build that business case. Tell them who you have to present it to, what you need to put in it, and ask what they think you should add in there as well.
This is where the experience of the chatbot company will shine (or turn you off).
At the end of the day, it's all about ROI.
Based on the data and case studies received from your company of choice, you should be able to approximately forecast how much money/time you could save by bringing a chatbot into the mix.
Take the ideas from step 1 above and run them through these numbers. What would happen if we automated 30% of the HR enquiries? How much time would we save if an AI robot took care of setting meetings up for us instead of having to do it manually? How much more productive would our different departments be if they didn't have to wait 5 days for the answer to their questions?
As you know, this will not be an exact science. It should be good enough to present and make sense.
I guess I should have merged these two into one, but I think it makes sense to talk about cost after ROI.
By the time you speak to your 2-3 top company choices (step 3), you should already have asked about their average prices. You will not get a precise quote for the stuff you want to build before you actually define it precisely with your chatbot company.
So, what you can do is use the average/tentative quote they have given you to work out your ROI, then again use it to prepare a 3-stage roll out of the idea.
In your business case presentation, introduce the price it would cost to go full-on crazy and do everything you dream of, the price it would take to just barely get started, and a middle ground. Add the ROI figures to each, and bring that to your review team.
I hope this helps shed some light on chatbots helping your HR department and how to build the right business case for it.