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Covid testing overloads internal comms. Chatbot can help out

5 min 4. 10. 2022

After the large companies – with 250 or more employees – the smaller ones with 50 to 249 employees are next in line for this Covid testing requirement. The obligation will probably be in place until May, but very specific organisational problems are already appearing today. But you can easily prevent them with conversational AI.

In practice, there are several ways to perform the tests. The most common is self-testing with an antigen test. Another option is to have the testing done by an “in-house” physician or a contracted health care provider. And this is where the chaos can begin.

Organisational hell for overloaded HR staff and coordinators

You see, most ordinary employees merely know that the obligation exists. This places additional pressure on the company HR team. They’re already recruiting new people, onboarding employees, and handling all the company’s meetings and information flows almost exclusively online. Now they’ll be obliged to answer hundreds of new questions – but these are often similar. HR teams most often address this by creating various comprehensive FAQs and posting them on an internal server or emailing them out, in the hope that the situation will calm down. But employees either don’t read the email, or two days later they don’t know they received it. So instead of searching, they’d rather ask HR directly again.

The most common questions all look similar regardless of whether the company has branches:

  • When and where is the testing?
  • Do I have to go to the headquarters for this?
  • Is some particular person organising this?
  • How does the test take place in practice?
  • Can I arrange my own test?
  • Do I get confirmation?
  • Are the tests paid for?

The important thing is: it often doesn’t stop at just one question. Therefore, some kind of conceptual solution is needed.


The traditional ways of communication are no longer enough

The HR team will often choose a method for communicating issues that has worked well in the past and that they currently have time for. The most common are:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Passive problem solving. The questions are posted on a specific section of the website, where every employee can see them. Disadvantages:

  • Employees will ask HR for a link.
  • Employees will read at length and may not find their answer.
  • HR may have forgotten to include a key question.

An online meeting
Over a voice or video meeting, HR explains everything to the employees to whom the testing relates. Disadvantages:

  • It’s difficult to find a specific date that suits everyone.
  • With many participants, a meeting becomes chaotic.
  • Employees won’t remember the information and will want it in writing.

A mailing
The HR team sends out a mailing to all employees with information on where and how to get tested. Disadvantages:

  • Two days later you learn that some employees don’t even know the email exists.
  • Employees reply to the email, and HR has to deal with a new wave of queries.
  • Employees have so much correspondence that they simply overlook the email.

And all this provides a great opportunity for conversational AI.

blog-img answers up to 80% of repeat queries

Of course, we’re not talking about a classic button-operated “preschooler”, but a solution using NLP (natural language processing). This means the chatbot can understand the written text, perceive the context of the conversation, and can respond more quickly. What are the specific benefits?

  • You get an ideal solution for large companies with multiple branches: Hundreds of employees can all find out when and where testing is taking place. No burden on HR.
  • You can create as many scripts as you like: For example, would you rather employees stay at home or get tested? You can easily adapt your communication to this.
  • You can add questions and answers at any time without IT: After just a single training session, you can create even complex dialogues. For example, if the situation changes. Of course, we’ll be on hand at any time.
  • Different questions = the same correct answer: How is the test done? How does the test work? Is it an antigen test? Or PCR? Different questions, but they’re all heading in the same direction. The chatbot recognises this and responds correctly.

Above all, however, it’s an active approach that can be linked to virtually any communication channel. Whether it’s by integrating it into your intranet or an internal communication platform such as Microsoft TEAMS, where the chatbot will be on your employee roster, you get the assurance that all the information is reaching your people. On time and always up to date.