7 Key Tips to Launch An “Internal” Virtual Assistant Successfully
In the last couple of years, internal virtual assistants that help the employees for HR, IT, legal, procurement and more topics gained popularity especially among large organisations. The main reason for the rise of usage is that they increase the efficiency by enabling the employees to reach information or realise daily tasks easily and instantly. Putting the technological and design issues aside, launching the employee assistant successfully and making it effectively used by the employees is an important challenge for the organisations. In this blog, we discuss the components of a successful launch for an “internal” virtual assistant after all the technical phases are completed.
When you complete each and every technical step to create a successful internal virtual assistant, it is time to consider how you will launch it internally and how you will ensure that employees make it part of their daily life.
1- Design an image, name, and voice
Whether your virtual assistant is an internal one or a customer facing one, it is for sure, you need to design an image, a name – a voice in case it is a voice based assistant. If it is an employee assistant, the design should be aligned with your overall “employer brand” and internal communication strategy. This would help the employees easily remember and position the assistant as a colleague – ready to help them.
You can conduct a small survey for selecting the name or the image, which might increase employees’ awareness of the virtual assistant and make them feel themselves part of the creation process.
2 – Ensure that you completed the pilot phase
The internal virtual assistant is on the stage as a representative of your employee brand, so it has to provide a high-quality experience. After testing it in several steps, you should consider piloting it with a limited group of employees before launching it to the whole organisation. This limited group might be the owner of the project or an IT team that was responsible for the technological part. As they use the assistant, you’ll be able to see the results with the real users and irritate the bot for a better experience.
3 – Set a phase-based strategy
By a phase based strategy, you start with a limited scope and enlarge it as the users get into the habit of using the assistant. For instance, if it is an HR assistant, you start with answering the top 20 queries that make the 80% of the queries asked to the HR department. After you see the efficiency, you add new topics and enlarge the scope with them. You can implement the phase-based strategy for the channel integrations as well. You can start with the intranet platform, and then add the WhatsApp account or vice versa. Being present on WhatsApp will definitely increase the usage as blue-collar employees will be able to reach the assistant easily as well. Putting the QR code of this WhatsApp number on physical environments will make the availability even easier.
4 – Set the expectations properly
As people are confused about what AI is capable of, setting the expectations properly is of crucial importance. You need to announce the assistant with the right wording, while setting the expectations at a minimal level to avoid any disappointment. The most important benefit of the assistant is 24/7 availability and instant assistance. However, the audience should know that it is not covering all their questions, but it is trained like a junior team member and will improve itself in time.
5 – Initiate a bold launch campaign
Your internal virtual assistant deserves to be launched by the CEO at the highest level. A video from the CEO promoting the assistant will attract attention in the whole organisation and encourage the employees to make their first try. After the first announcement, you can empower the launch by certain actions:
- Launch a competition to deliver an award for the heavy users of the assistant.
- Create a physical robot for the assistant that is positioned in the public areas like the lobby, cafeteria, meeting rooms of the premises.
- Distribute promotional materials for the assistant.
- Promote it with pop-ups through all internal communication channels like intranet, and other tools and platforms that employees use for general or specific purposes.
- Run an emailing campaign.
- Send business-initiated messages by the assistant to the audience via WhatsApp.
- Increase the awareness by brand ambassadors in each department.
6 – Stop answering the queries by human-based channels
The main purpose of the virtual assistant is to increase efficiency through automation. Therefore, at a certain point you need to stop helping with the basic queries by human-based channels such as the teams in related departments. For instance, when you announce that the only way of doing the day off requests is using the virtual assistant and you do not support it by the HR team as of a certain date, this will force the employees to engage with the virtual assistant. Forcing should be limited with the basic info or tasks and human assistance should still be available for more complicated issues.
7- Announce it externally
You do not have to keep the launch internal. If you think that your internal virtual assistant really creates value in terms of efficiency and employee experience, you should definitely announce it outside of the organisation via press releases and social media posts. The key is always to highlight the benefits of it. The innovative methods and new technologies behind the assistant also matter. In addition, submitting the virtual assistant to the relevant award programs and competitions is a good way to get recognition. These programs might be national or international but it is certain that winning an award or being featured by a distinguished institution will encourage the management to invest more in this field and increase the motivation of the teams.
An innovative project is only valuable when it is used by the audience and offers a real benefit. So you need to make the internal virtual assistant used by the audience and fulfil the functionality that it is initiated for. From this perspective, they are not different from customer facing assistants and they deserve a well-planned launch with the teamwork of related departments such as HR, IT, compliance, procurement, etc. After launching it, another story begins – you have to focus on the maintenance part.