Taskbots: chatbots that improve business productivity
Oct. 22, 2018
All of the above are simple instructions. It takes only a few seconds to transmit these instructions to a person and that person understands them naturally. Thanks to chatbots, transmitting these commands to a computer program is just as fast and intuitive.
The first example is a very common process in any company: issue and send an invoice. To do this, the worker has to identify himself in the system, fill in the necessary fields, make the corresponding clicks to issue the invoice, save it in the appropriate format, open the email application, write a text, attach the document ...
Some computer programs have a steep learning curve. Think of the example of editing the photograph. What button should be used to reduce the brightness? Where was the ‘Cut’ option? How to do to add text?
We often make 15 clicks in different applications to perform a simple task that can be summarized in a sentence. And, when we do not know how to use the corresponding program, the task is delayed or interrupted.
Thanks to chatbots, companies and workers can free themselves of these unproductive workflows. We can ask the chabot to issue an invoice with the same sentence we use to ask a colleague or employee. In addition, the chatbot will perform the task more quickly than any colleague or employee.
We can ask the chabot to issue an invoice with the same sentence we use to ask a colleague or employee. The chatbot will perform the task more quickly than any colleague or employee.
What is a chatbot?
A chatbot is a technology that allows users to have a conversation with a computer program, via voice or text.
Chatbots can be considered a new user interface. This new user interface let users interact with computers programs in natural language.
A common mistake is to confuse the interface with the service itself. In fact, the same service can have different interfaces. For example, a web, a mobile application and a chatbot can be three different interfaces to make the same online purchase.
What do we mean by taskbots?
There are different types of chatbots, since they are used to solve very different needs. In this article we focus on a specific type: taskbots.
We propose the term taskbots to name those chatbots that improve business productivity. They are solutions designed to simplify and automate repetitive workflows.
To better understand what a taskbot is, we review its main characteristics below.
The name of taskbot emphasizes tasks instead of conversations. Users of this type of software are not interested in talking about tasks. They want the tasks to be done.
Interactions with this type of chatbot are usually quick and direct. The user orders the bot a task (for example, the issuance of an invoice) and the bot confirms the process performed. In other types of chatbots, such as those designed as a marketing tool, there is more space for off-topic talk, humor or entertainment.
If we classify chatbots according to the target audience, we distinguish two main types: customer bots and business bots.
Customer bots are aimed at a company's end customers. For example, customer service bots. Instead, business bots are aimed at a company’s workers. When we talk about taskbots we refer mainly to these business bots, focused on improving corporate workflows. Taskbots are especially effective in routine and repetitive processes, such as searching for information, filling forms, integrating data from different systems, issuing invoices or making purchases.
Depending on their domain knowledge, we distinguish between generalist bots and specialized bots.
Generalist chatbots or superbots interact with multiple services and allow users to hold conversations about very wide and varied knowledge domains. Some of the most popular virtual assistants, such as Siri (Apple), Alexa (Amazon) or Google Assistant, are included in this category.
Specialist chabots have a more limited and specific knowledge domain. Taskbot are specialist chatbots. The smaller the domain, the more effective the taksbot is in understanding and executing user instructions. This type of chatbots are not capable of dealing with requests as diverse as Google Assitant, but they are experts in the processes of a specific field.
A chatbot can serve as a user interface for a single service. However, taskbots usually provide a unique interface that integrates different computer programs.
Thanks to taskbots, each worker can know the experience of having a professional assistant at their disposal.
What can a taskbot do for my company?
A taskbot has the following competitive advantages:
- Intuitive use: Traditionally, workers are forced to learn the operation of each computer program with which they interact. Chatbots eliminate that learning process. If a user can speak or write, he or she already knows how to communicate with a chatbot.
- Speed: Chatbots save time. Consequently, they increase business productivity.
- 24/7 availability: Taskbots do not have breaks or vacations.
- Auditability: Automated processes can be monitored and reviewed at any time. Depending on the needs of the user or the company, taskbots can be configured to perform tasks autonomously or to request confirmation before performing a task.
- Ease of integration: Chatbots integrate quickly with other systems and they offer a unified interface for a set of different systems.
In summary, thanks to taskbots, each worker can know the experience of having a professional assistant at their disposal.