These days people rely on technology more than ever to simplify their tasks. Smartphones are the most prominent examples. When the first handset was introduced, nobody thought it could be used for anything else apart from making calls and sending messages. Now cell phones have become an integral part of almost everyone’s life! Right from booking a cab, table at a restaurant or movie tickets to setting reminders for credit card payments or investments, everything is at their fingertips (literally!). How is all this made possible? The answer is – Bots.
Ever heard of Jarvis? No, not the one in Iron Man movies (or the sequels). Jarvis is a reminder bot in Facebook. Maybe you are more familiar with Siri (Apple), Cortana (Microsoft) and a couple others that have amplified the use of smartphones. The average user can perform a host of activities with minimal efforts using these virtual assistants. All of these are bots.
Bots are programmed to imitate human behaviour and perform tasks in similar manner. They can execute a series of tasks on their own when humans initiate certain actions. For example, some banks have bots answer questions asked on their website in a manner similar to how a real customer support employee would.
There are different ways in which bots can provide value to humans and increase their productivity in professional as well as personal life:
Messenger bots can be highly useful in making sure that the entire performance management process is efficient. In an era of agile performance management, it is widely being accepted that annual performance reviews are ineffective, costly and take up a lot of time of both reviewers and reviewees. They can add lot of value by facilitating real time feedback between the two to share and receive information in a much more transparent manner. All the bot has to do is go over every message shared in the chat and find patterns that are difficult to identify. Today’s advanced NLP technology combined with sentiment analysis has the ability to make most of the HR processes more efficient and unbiased.
Excerpts from LinkedIn’s lastest announcement-:
Productivity bots and similar tools to improve communication with your network –
You can opt-in to use our automated systems that can help you with messages by suggesting responses, assisting in scheduling meetings with connections, generating ice breakers, or offering insights to help you connect with other professionals more easily. (Source)
Reminder bots can be added to your preferred mode of communication. Be it Facebook or Slack. You can set reminders for yourself or your teammates for anything from a meeting to due presentations, or from occasional motivational message to pump them up during dull parts of the day. The best part is you can remind individuals or entire teams (channels in Slack) at the same time. If your team is used to conducting standups everyday, schedule them for one fixed time for every morning. Instead of waiting for sometime to manually invite everyone together it’s better to let the bot remind them.
Some of the most popular ones are Facebook’s Jarvis, Zoom and QuietTime that operates on Slack platform.
Scheduling bots or rather bots specifically for scheduling meetings are already on the rise. Instead of wasting time looking for the ‘right available time’, let the bot take over the responsibility. It is as easy as just cc-ing the virtual assistant in your mail and watch it work its magic. Give it some time and you will have the time booked in your calendar as desired. You can even customize templates to suit your needs. This way the recipient does not realize that he or she is interacting with a bot. The experience is quite life-like.
Many companies are now focusing on improving their chat bots. Users find it much more easy to interact with bots than visit multiple pages on a website to get things done. You can easily book flight tickets or make hotel reservations. It takes less than half the time and efforts that users typically experience. Plus, these bots are intelligent enough to remember anniversaries and birthdays. They wish you and also offer special discounts on such occasions.
Every company wants to get better at understanding the needs and requirements of their target market. Artificial Intelligence has made bots smarter and more adept at sifting through relevant data, carry out complete analysis and return intelligent information.
The Human Resource Department can use research bots to screen the right candidates and match them to the right jobs. Bots can be trained to think like a recruiter and also eliminate the human bias that usually creeps in. They can process vast amounts of data much faster and identify only a select number of candidates that are best suited for the job.
In addition to these, Bots can also be used to train new employees. They eliminate the chances of human errors and reduce the response time in addition to handling high volumes of multiple tasks simultaneously.
In the near future, the market is going to be flooded with bots. So much so that users will be spoilt for choice. It is sure to free up a lot of time that can otherwise be invested in more productive initiatives. Which bot do you use that gives the most value?