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Rethinking Chatbots: They're Not Just for Customers
Source: Naveen Rajdev




Grabbing that morning Starbucks fix got a little easier this year, thanks to artificial intelligence. Starbucks launched a new feature in January that allows customers who own iPhones or Amazon Echos to order their coffee through voice-activated assistants. Depending which device they use, customers can also ask check their Starbucks account balances, inquire about seasonal specials and find out which baked treats are available at their local stores.

Starbucks has said the use of digital assistants helps it provide more personalized customer experiences. These assistants are also more cost-effective (than the humans who normally would put in customer orders). They facilitate faster, more valuable engagement.

There's even more to AI's impact: While the Starbucks example (along with other uses for chatbots and digital assistants) focuses on external efforts -- benefitting customers, in this case -- chatbots can be immensely helpful in internal efforts such as:
Workflow and communication

Implementing AI can improve workflow and facilitate communication among team members. If someone runs late to a meeting, for instance, his or her digital assistant can ping other participants, telling them to push back the start time.

This will prevent everyone from needing to hop on the phone or send texts, delaying the meeting further. The chatbot will handle the logistics, so the humans involved can focus on getting to the appointment and having a productive discussion.

Digital assistants also drive shorter sales cycles. A salesperson might offer a presentation to a potential customer, then return to the office to type up a report for the presales or solutions teams -- a time-consuming but necessary responsibility.

But if this salesperson records the conversation, a digital assistant can extract the most important details from the transcript, fire off a few short emails and move on to the next high-level task.



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