· 3 min read

Simplify Sourcing Intake via Chatbots

Gartner had seen this coming – chatbots would become an integral part of sourcing solutions. Though it was a technological prophecy when it was ideated, it soon became a reality. In the past few years, we have seen chatbots assisting human beings with guided buying and processing self-service requests.  

Today’s conversational procurement bots have brought a sea of change in processing user requests and guided buying. Let us dig deeper and understand how they assist users.

Ease of input and guided buying

How does the process begin?

To initiate a chatbot conversation, even sending a ‘Hi’ is sufficient. The bot then provides numerous options to choose from and guides users with the next steps.

Users have to then submit their requirements in the mentioned structured format in a simple conversational way.

For instance, if the user is a procurement professional then he or she has to enter details such as product name and quantity. The NLP-powered chatbot understands the requirement and also gives intelligent suggestions of products or services, as per pre-set organizational preferences. Also, a whole array of approved vendors are suggested to buy from.

How are product and vendor suggestions made?

These suggestions stem from the user’s previous buying patterns and preferences set for buying. Let us take an instance where a user wants to buy a laptop from a brand XYZ. If he has bought a laptop of a brand PQR in the past, the bot will suggest PQR as an option when he makes a purchase requisition. If there is no prior history then the user is asked to enter details of the vendor he is looking to buy from.

Does the procurement professional need to enter credentials and log in?

Modern chatbots allow users to initiate the buying process from any channel that they use. For instance, they can interact with the conversational bot while being on Slack or on Microsoft Teams or on WhatsApp or any other app.

We will dig deeper into the benefits of a conversational PR Bot’s integration with business communication apps in the upcoming sections.

Processing requests at light speed

A user made a request a few weeks ago and now wants to know details about the status of his shipment. Tracking down the status of his request in a system which processes thousands of requests is akin to finding a needle in the haystack, but procurement bots can simplify this task. The user can input the request number and the bot verifies the purchase. Once found correct, the user will be provided the status of the request made and its link. The user need not leave his preferred medium of communication while tracking down his request.

How did integrations with Slack, Microsoft and other mediums become the norm?

Despite having smart and user-friendly applications, users had to still login into the platform every time to make a service request. They still had to learn how to use chatbots. Leveraging the power of chatbots was more difficult than had been thought because of poor product adoption. The right solution to this is making chatbots accessible across all platforms. Users can submit their service requests or seek guidance while being on any business communication platform. They can interact with bots the way they used to after logging in to platforms.

Let us understand the impact of a user who inputs using Slack or Microsoft Teams or other channels to chatbots.

Zero Learning Curve

Chatbots, (receiving input from other business communication apps/integrated with other business communication apps) eliminate the need to learn the nitty gritties of a sourcing platform. Also, integrations nullify change management. Businesses no longer need to impart any training to end users. Definitely, we can claim that thousands of dollars and man hours are saved with this shift.

Good Riddance to platform login and storing credentials

Before chatbots became the norm, end users had to login to the procurement platform and had to remember their credentials or had to store them. No more. The chatbots, integrated with Slack or Microsoft Teams or any other business communication platform, lets users submit their service request or seek guided buying while they continue to communicate within the same pane of glass.

Faster response

Users can make requests at any time, which is unlike conventional customer success models in which the user has to call or text within a specific time frame. Chatbots process these requests instantly and bring down response time to seconds.

Continuous Learning and Continuous Improvement

As chatbots receive service requests or seek guidance for buying, chatbots learn user requirements and improve their suggestions and service request processing. In the next interaction, the user would be recommended better and more buying options from the catalogs.

The cumulative effect of all these factors is Improved User Satisfaction. The end user no longer feels frustrated while making a service request or seeking guidance to make a purchase.

Doing business transactions while on Slack is no longer a want, it has become a need.

Aerchain has understood this need and has built chatbots to make the sourcing process more interactive and transparent. With the latest release, Aerchain addresses this need.

Let us know your customer’s experiences and how they feel more empowered than ever before.

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