5 internal chatbots that can help your employees thrive

Internal chatbots guide

You’ve likely interacted with external chatbots on several occasions.

Perhaps you’ve engaged with one on an ecommerce site when you had specific questions about your order; maybe you’ve interacted with another on a SaaS brand’s website to learn more about their platform.

Use cases like these offer clear benefits to organizations, customers, and prospects. They allow clients and prospects to get their questions answered quickly and comprehensively; and they allow businesses to scale their customer support and sales efforts successfully.

While external chatbots are clearly invaluable, internal chatbots are just as—if not more—important. We’ll share why that is by breaking down powerful examples, many of which we use here at Workato. But to get us started, let’s align on the definition of an internal chatbot.

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What is an internal chatbot?

An internal chatbot, or an internal bot, is a type of chatbot that organizations only use with employees. They’re easily customizable and allow employees to access the data and functionality from their applications within their business communications platform (e.g. Slack).

Related: An overview on chatbot automation

Internal chatbot examples

To help bring this definition to life, let’s walk through a few use cases.

Answer employees’ questions in near real-time with Knowledge Bot

As employees look to perform specific tasks for the first time, or for the first time in a while, they may need some help.

Instead of relying on colleagues for assistance, or forcing employees to comb through your internal knowledge base/intranet, you can use a customized internal chatbot to answer their questions.

For example, here’s how “Knowledge Bot” can help:

1. Once an employee has a question, they can access Knowledge Bot through their business communications platform.

2. Knowledge Bot displays a modal (pop-up) where the employee can explain what they need help with and select the category that’s associated with their query (from a preset list).

An example of how you can use Knowledge Bot in Slack

3. Once the employee clicks “Apply Filters”, the bot leverages natural language processing (NLP) to look for and identify the articles in your knowledge base that match the submitted filters most closely. In near real-time, the bot presents links to several articles.

4. The employee can click through to any one of these articles to find the answer they’re looking for.

Related: A guide to using service desk chatbots

Onboard employees more seamlessly with Welcome Bot

With many new hires still working remotely, it’s critical that they identify and join the channels in your business comms platform that suit their needs and interests, quickly. 

To help them navigate this task, you can use Welcome Bot to message the following on the new hire’s first day:

  • Asks them to introduce themselves in a specific channel 
  • Shares company-wide channels they might be interested in
  • Provides more specific channels that cater to their role and responsibilities
  • Introduces them to more light hearted and fun channels 
A Slack message from Welcome Bot that's sent on an employee's first day

Welcome Bot can even go a step further by sending the new hire a message the following day that reminds them to introduce themselves, shares the colleagues they’d likely need to engage with (including, of course, their new manager), and presents the websites they need to be aware of.

A Slack message from Welcome Bot that's sent on an employee's second day

Related: 7 HR chatbots that can elevate the employee experience 

Provision applications quickly with Firefighter

Your organization’s tech stack will inevitably evolve; moreover, the number of employees who need to access—or who should no longer access—a given application is likely to grow over time. These factors help explain why it’s critical that an organization finds a scalable way to perform application provisioning. 

Here at Workato, we’ve accomplished this with Firefighter. 

A screenshot of Firefighter's homepage
A screenshot of Firefighter’s homepage, where employees can begin the process of requesting access to apps, among other activities. 

It allows anyone on our team to request access to an application by filling out the fields shown below; once submitted, Firefighter alerts the assigned approver (often the hiring manager) of the request and allows them to accept or reject it, all without leaving our business comms platform. 

A modal from Firefighter where the employee can request access to an application

Assuming the approver accepts the request, Firefighter sends a notification to the BT team in a specific channel, where a member of that channel can go on to carry out the provisioning.

Related: How an integrated LMS can benefit your employees

Foster a safe and productive work space with Office Assistant

If your office managers are like ours, they’ll want employees to come into the office on the days that suit them best. At the same time, your office managers will want to ensure that anyone who does come in is fully vaccinated against COVID-19. 

To help on both fronts, our team uses Office Assistant.

Using the internal bot, an employee can follow specific colleagues to learn when they’re coming into the office as well as show proof of vaccination by uploading their Vaccine Card; for the latter, a member of our HR team would go on to verify the uploaded documents. 

A screenshot of Office Assistant's homepage

The employee can then go on to schedule their visit, which includes selecting the day they plan to come in, the office they’ll be working from, and the workspace they’ll be using. 

Finally, in the event that an employee tests positive for COVID-19 soon after they visit an office, they can inform Office Assistant, and the bot would perform contact tracing on their behalf.

Related: How IT chatbots can empower your employees to perform their best work

Encourage employee referrals with RecruiterBot

Employee referrals often lead to better hires for your organization, as measured by retention, quality of work, among other factors.

To help your organization source more candidates through this channel, you can follow Slack’s footsteps and use RecruiterBot. The way it works is simple: Employees can refer candidates by filling out all of the required fields in RecruiterBot’s modal.

A screenshot of the information that RecruiterBot collects

What kinds of results can you expect after implementing this type of chatbot? The team at Slack can give you an idea based on their experience.

“Since (RecruiterBot was) launched last year, we’ve seen 100% of referrals flow through Recruiter Bot. We’ve also seen our average referral time decrease by 50%.”
Vasu Jain Senior Software Engineer at Slack

The advantages of using an internal chatbot 

Given its versatility and its impactful use cases, an internal chatbot offers a multitude of benefits:

  • It improves employee productivity. By helping employees find information and submit requests within their business comms platform, they’re able to save a substantial amount of time. They can reallocate those time savings toward more important tasks that they’re uniquely qualified to take on. The same holds true for employees who, without the use of internal chatbots, would face significantly more questions from colleagues as well as approvers who would have to move between apps to address requests.
  • It keeps your data safe. An internal chatbot can ensure that an employee only accesses the data and functionality from an application that falls within their level of permissions*. This keeps your data protected, and it ensures that your business stays compliant with various data privacy measures.

*Workbot, Workato’s platform bot, uses a patented approach to ensure that this holds true for each employee.

  • It can be leveraged in a myriad of ways. As we saw from our examples, internal bots can benefit numerous team members. Its versatility extends beyond the human resource processes we mentioned, and includes processes around employee expenses, quote approvals, equipment and device procurement, etc.
  • It helps deliver a top-notch employee experience. Helping employees focus on more strategic and critical work is a surefire way to improve employee engagement. But internal bots can also improve the employee experience from the lens of internal communication. In the case of Welcome Bot, for instance, this can take the form of sending employees personalized, timely information automatically in the platform they’re already using.
  • Its implementation doesn’t require writing a single line of code. Gone are the days of relying on developers to build internal bots. Business users who understand the ins and outs of specific applications and processes can now build these bots themselves in a matter of minutes. 

Related: The benefits of using Standup Bot

Implement any internal bot with Workato’s Workbot

Workbot allows you to build custom platform bots for Slack or Microsoft Teams quickly and easily using Workato’s low-code UX, pre-built integrations, and templated automations (which we refer to as “recipes”). 

These custom platform bots can help you streamline business-critical processes end-to-end, whether it’s employee onboarding, order to cash, or lead routing. Moreover, Workbot integrates with the latest AI technologies, empowering your team to build intelligent automations.

Learn more about Workbot by speaking with one of our automation experts

About the author
Jon Gitlin Content Strategist @ Workato
Jon Gitlin is the Managing Editor of The Connector, where you can get the latest news on Workato and uncover tips, examples, and frameworks for implementing powerful integrations and automations. In his free time, he loves to run outside, watch soccer (er...football) matches, and explore local restaurants.