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We are a society on the go, and businesses are developing ways to let employees work where they want, when they want. One of the growing ways to do this is by using chatbots to update employees or automate monotonous tasks.
Chatbot integration with business applications allows employees to receive updates while on the move or away from desktops, providing greater efficiency and a more complete picture of current projects.
Chris Eustace is founder of Eustace Consulting, a Boston-based Salesforce implementation consultancy, which has been using chatbots to push notifications and insight from its business applications, primarily Salesforce and Slack.
"There are days when I've been on the road all day, haven't had time to get to my computer to know what's going on" Eustace said. "Now, every important alert I'm getting fed through to Slack on my phone."
"It's really streamlined the process and made it easy at the high-management level to be able to keep up with everything that's going on without having to proactively reach in and dig for data," Eustace said.
Chris Eustacefounder, Eustace Consulting
To make it easy for business employees, Workato prebuilt a number of common integrations called recipes to use out of the box.
"We built these out in a language where there is no coding to be done for the user," said Bhaskar Roy, vice president of growth at Workato in Cupertino, Calif.
In addition to its work with Eusace Consulting, Workato recently released a chatbot integration specifically for Salesforce, called Forcebot, which can easily be customized to match an enterprise's in-house Salesforce integration.
"You can essentially tell it that you want this information from Salesforce to go to a particular app and this is how you want to interact with it," Roy said. "You can go in and customize these recipes or build your own commands without having to write any code."
By also scanning other business applications for relevant information, Forcebot is able to categorize which leads sales reps should pay attention to first, according to Roy.
"Rather than bombarding reps whenever there is a lead, we provide intelligence behind it and try to understand if this lead is hot or urgent," Roy said. "That intelligence is based on multiple apps the [chatbot integration] is connected to."
In this situation, the importance of chatbots comes down to the importance of finding the right lead at the right time. By obtaining knowledge that a lead is ready to buy based on a chatbot integration combing the relevant pieces of data, a sales rep is given a better opportunity to succeed.
Companies are starting to see the benefits of using chatbots, as 70% of executives are investing more in artificial intelligence technologies than they did in 2013, according to an Accenture study.
"The company that can provide the most relevant, accurate information that aligns to the lead's needs in real time has a higher probability of gaining that client than its competitor -- in short, time can kill all deals," said Karl Becker, president of The Carruthers Group, an Arvada, Colo.-based marketing and sales programs consultancy. "With a bot this can be a possibility, and with integration to technologies that can involve a salesperson in real time, you have a great solution to provide a wide level of coverage."
While automation and updates via chatbots have its place, caution is recommended before leaving everything to chatbots. Eustace has found several use cases for chatbot integrations at his consultancy, but there are some areas where a chatbot proves just as useful as completing the task manually.
"We're always trying to automate and alert as many things that make sense," Eustace said. "We're not in love with how you have to type commands in a certain way. For example, opening a query for a phone number in Slack isn't really any faster than opening up Salesforce and typing in a customer's name. But I think that will change."
Although it is difficult to transform tasks that are embedded in users' daily routines into automations or to push them out as notifications, companies are continuing the move toward chatbot integration to assess its leads and find ways to capitalize on incoming sales.
"Sales organizations that focus on lead/client segmentation are beginning to evaluate these types of solutions," Becker said. "The main rationale is that giving the lead/client what they want in the most efficient and most timely manner creates a competitive advantage and a more frictionless buying journey."
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