Chatbot Case Study: Event Bot for Intranet Now Conference
Intranet Now Conference, London, UK
Intranet Now is a conference for internal communications and intranet professionals, held in London, UK. The fifth year for this annual conference, organized by Wedge Black and Lisa Riemers, focuses on the employee experience throughout the digital workplace.
Tangowork’s Intranet Now event chatbot
Intranet and comms professionals attend the Intranet Now conference to learn how they can improve digital communications and engagement, and to benefit from the experience and expertise of other participants. In 2017, Tangowork worked with the Intranet Now organizers to set up an event chatbot for the conference. Chatbots were (and still are) an emerging concept for internal communications, and with the Intranet Now chatbot, attendees got first-hand experience in using a chatbot, testing its capabilities, and envisioning how it could work for their organization. The Intranet Now chatbot is available again in 2018 to provide details for potential attendees over the summer and participants on conference day. The Intranet Now conference chatbot was deployed on Facebook Messenger, as it is the most widely used messaging app in the majority of Western countries, including the UK. Facebook Messenger also allowed for rich functionality, including buttons, photos, carousels, and menus.
Tangowork’s Professional Services team worked closely with the Intranet Now organizers to populate the backend of the chatbot, programming potential user questions, chatbot responses, and reviewing user-chatbot conversation transcripts to improve the chatbot conversations in real time. In 2017, the chatbot handled questions across 32 different themes, and was programmed with about 400 sample user utterances. Using natural language processing (NLP) — a branch of AI — enabled the chatbot to understand hundreds of thousands of related questions even when asked in slightly differently ways, just by entering those 400 sample utterances.
Gradual chatbot implementation
The Intranet Now chatbot was available via the conference’s Facebook page leading up to the conference, and this allowed for a slow-growing pilot, so-to-speak, as various people discovered the chatbot and tested out its knowledge and capabilities. The project confirmed for Tangowork the importance of a slow-growing pilot and continuous transcript review. Tangowork has found that even when those who brainstorm possible user requests are intimately familiar with both the subject matter the chatbot is addressing and the end users (in this case, the Intranet Now conference and its participants), users will have additional expectations and unanticipated questions. This is why a slow-growing pilot, with a gradually increasing number of users, was vital. By making the chatbot available on Intranet Now’s Facebook page in advance of the conference, the increasing usage clearly showed what information people were looking for. Transcript review allowed the Tangowork team to see which user questions were getting incorrect responses from the chatbot, and add new responses to provide the needed information. Later, continued transcript review on the day of the conference allowed the chatbot to meet attendees’ immediate needs.
Chatbot on conference day
Chris McGrath, founder of Tangowork, had a conference presentation early in the day to introduce the chatbot to attendees who hadn’t already discovered it. People then started using the chatbot more heavily, especially to check out speaker bios and the conference schedule. During the conference, if someone asked the chatbot what presentation was now/next, instead of just delivering the entire conference schedule, the chatbot would look at the current time, and display the next 3 presentations as the result. An unanticipated request was attendees asking the chatbot where they could charge their phones. Spotting this as part of their live transcript review, the Tangowork Professional Services team quickly added a response so the chatbot was able to provide an answer to the next person who asked.
“The Tangowork team was great to work with — they made it effortless to get our own dedicated event chatbot up and running.”
Takeaways for next year
Wedge Black, Intranet Now conference founder, had this to say about Tangowork:
“The chatbot Tangowork built for our 2017 Intranet Now conference gave us the means to conveniently provide important event details to our participants, both before and during the conference. At the same time, we were sharing an example of a leading edge technology that internal communicators could experiment with at the conference and take home as a possibility for use in their own organizations. And the Tangowork team was great to work with — they made it effortless to get our own dedicated event chatbot up and running.”
The Intranet Now chatbot was a valuable resource for conference participants, and a learning opportunity in itself, presenting a new potential technology for internal communicators to use. Everything that the Intranet Now chatbot learned at last year’s conference will result in more accurate and successful conversations for this year’s conference.
Visit the Intranet Now Facebook page to learn more about this year’s conference, with the theme: The employee experience throughout the digital workplace. While you’re on their page, you can chat with the Intranet Now conference chatbot, as it preps for Intranet Now 2018.