A user might find titles like The Terminator, Blade Runner or Ex Machina when they are browsing Netflix’s Science Fiction category. In these movies, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is portrayed as physical robots wandering among humans in futuristic worlds. Interestingly, while browsing titles about physical robots, business bots – virtual AI-powered robots – are at work serving up these movie suggestions.
Netflix uses machine learning, a category of artificial intelligence, to tailor recommendations for each user. Netflix is not unique. Companies across many business sectors, such as customer service, retail, finance, and manufacturing, use business bots to enable communications, improve processes and increase engagement.
There are a number of companies out there that offer out-of-the-box business bots, but they don’t offer the customization businesses need.
LiveTiles Bots is a tool for building customized bots tailored to a company or department’s unique needs. Here are some examples of business bots that can be built to improve the workplace:
1. Customer Service Bots
Automated Call Agents are probably the business bots with which people are most familiar. They intelligently interact with customers to answer questions and solve problems. 1-800-FLOWERS created a chatbot named “GWYN,” for example, using AI. To help customers find the perfect gift, GWYN starts an online chat with, “Hi, my name is Gwyn! I’m a virtual assistant to help you find the perfect gift.” To guide a customer to a purchase, GWYN asks a series of questions and offers gift suggestions based on the response. This is a popular use case for how AI is transforming the customer experience for the better.
2. Human Resources Bots
HR bots are available for every stage of employment, from screening candidates to training. An HR representative uses bots to answer automated questions about a job opening, or to complete a pre-screening process. Internally, an HR bot provides specific information relevant to an employee’s question. Want to know how much vacation time you have left? Just ask the HR bot.
3. Supply Chain Bots
Supply chain bots help materials flow smoothly from order to delivery. They are often nested within other systems for seamless connectivity to communicate information quickly across the supply chain. These include Order Processing Bots, Procurement Bots, Distribution Bots, Inventory Bots, Shipping Bots and Logistics Bots.
4. Branding Bots
Branding bots are like customer service bots, but they typically initiate communication. They advertise to users on topics or products of interest, and provide in-store/geographic information. The Spider-Man Bot is one such example. To raise awareness about the Secret Empire comic book, Marvel Comics created this business bot for Facebook and Twitter. It shares frames from the book and interacts with fans through riddles and games before directing them to the nearest location to purchase the book.
5. Marketing Bots
Marketing Bots use internal and external indicators to provide marketers with insights that help build competitive strategies, monitor projects and organize campaigns across print, digital and social platforms.
6. Sales Bots
Sales Bots use artificial intelligence to provide sales teams with targeted customer information, and the ability to identify potential sales opportunities and adapt pricing according to marketplace trends.
7. Finance Bots
Banking and finance were quick to adopt business bots. Beyond just banking services, Finance Bots do everything from general accounting to financial planning to external reporting. According to a report by McKinsey, general accounting operations are ripe with opportunities for task automation by bots. This includes journal entry automation, account reconciliation and allocation and fixed-asset account management.
8. Risk Management Bots
Risk and Compliance Bots continuously monitor activities for breaches in cybersecurity, compliance violations and other internal or external threats. The EU recently mandated General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) for the healthcare and banking industries. Risk and compliance bots help protect user data, ensure compliance with GDPR and provide continuous monitoring to avoid violations.
Business Bots are the Future
Most of the business bots mentioned above reduce the burden of a specific task within a company. These customizable virtual assistants provide broader and more nebulous services and interaction than typical out-of-the-box bots. Unlike basic bots with predetermined responses, virtual assistants are conversational and contextual with the ability to improvise based on artificial intelligence.
Given the many ways business bots can improve work-life, it is no surprise that the research consultancy Gartner expects bot use to increase 25% by 2021. To ensure that you don’t fall behind, it’s important to incorporate business bots into your AI strategy.