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AI Chatbot smart digital customer service application concept. Computer or mobile device application using artificial intelligence chat bot automatic reply online message to help customers instantly.
ATD Blog

I Have a Question

Tuesday, July 5, 2022
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How often do you have a question at work that you never ask? Imagine how businesses suffer when questions like these go unasked:

  • I bet there is a faster way to find this data. How do I do that?
  • Why does our company’s travel policy limit my hotel expenditures to $XX a night? That really has made my travel logistics inconvenient.
  • I’m really frustrated with my manager. How do I address that?

When these questions go unasked, meeting employees’ needs becomes a guessing game. Their reservation comes from the belief that the effort to find an answer is too hard or that the question makes them too vulnerable and puts them at risk. They can easily become discouraged and can limit their knowledge and capacity to make a more meaningful contribution. As a result, employee turnover can increase, and company culture suffers.

Chatbots can help field many questions that often go unasked. Don’t worry—your job isn’t about to be taken over by chatbots. They don’t have any meaningful emotional intelligence; therefore, the human interaction element of most jobs is still needed. However, there are situations when people do prefer to communicate with a chatbot.

First, chatbots are incredibly convenient. They are fast and instantaneous. One of the big deterrents to asking questions is the effort needed to find answers. Many of those unasked questions out there probably have a documented answer or at least someone who knows the answer. But that step of searching prevents people from even looking. A lot more questions are asked when you remove that barrier. Instead of searching through documentation or having to ask around for the right person to help, you could just type a question and a chatbot would serve up the answer immediately.

Second, many questions people have at work can make them feel vulnerable. Consider this scenario: I’m new at my job in a call center, and I’m struggling to learn how to properly use the CRM. I asked my manager for help, and she was kind enough to spend a couple of hours walking me through the most common tasks. She asks me, “OK, you good?” I respond, “Yes, that helped a lot. Thank you.” But in my mind, I’m not good. I’m just as confused as ever. Do I ask her for help again? Many will not, as it feels vulnerable and maybe puts their job at risk. But what if I can ask a chatbot for help? The chatbot will not care if I ask the same question a dozen times. And I can keep asking and reviewing until I feel like I fully understand. That’s a much safer experience.

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When the global pandemic forced most corporations to adopt a work-from-home policy, worksite collaboration platforms like Microsoft Teams and Slack took off in popularity. People become accustomed to instant messaging as a vital part of their day-to-day collaboration. Most of these worksite collaboration platforms have an easy way to plug in chatbots, thus making access to chatbots easier than ever.

And for those segments of workers not in front of a computer, most of them own a smartphone. Chatbots are also accessible via SMS, WhatsApp, and most other popular messaging apps.

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Corporations spend a lot of time making sure that they are answering questions correctly and promptly and that’s an important thing to do. But, they need to spend more energy and resources to encourage questions to be asked. Making it easier and safer to do so will go a long way, and chatbot technology is a great solution to solve the unasked question challenge!

How can you use chatbot technology to boost workers’ performance in your organizations? Share your ideas below.

About the Author

Vince Han is founder and CEO of Mobile Coach and a frequent speaker at conferences such as ATD International Conference & EXPO, ATD TechKnowledge, Training Conference, DevLearn, Learning Solutions, Masie’s Learning Conference, and others. He holds an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management. Han is an industry thought leader for learning and learning technology, with an emphasis on artificial intelligence and chatbot technology.

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