Contingent workforce program professionals  are not likely to recommend their vendor management systems and managed service programs.  In SIA’s recent Workforce Solutions Buyer Survey, both VMSs and MSPs scored -12 and -3 net promoter scores, respectively, meaning more of their customers are not likely to recommend their services than those who would. A net promoter score that is below zero is an indication that your business has a lot of issues to address.

Interestingly, there is a direct correlation between VMS and MSPs’ negative NPS scores and the requirements placed on them to take on more tasks beyond their regular scope — including a lot of manual processes that, though necessary within the lifecycle of a contingent worker’s engagement, divert attention away from processes that can elevate the program and deliver value to the organization.

Bots vs. Chatbots

In the simplest terms, bots are automated tools used to make repeatable tasks easier, whereas chatbots are able to understand a broader range of language that allows them to interact (to an extent). Chatbots can ask questions, interpret responses and execute actions.

However, an incredible shift is underway that promises to lighten the load. This development – chatbots and bots — frees the contingent workforce program and its agents for more strategic tasks and elevates the value of the program in the process. Bots are an interactive technology that uses AI and pre-programmed questions/answers to automate various human interactions and processes through a (typically) text-based conversational interface.

The manual tasks. The accompanying graphic represents several time-consuming process steps within the lifecycle of a staff augmentation engagement — and where bots and/or chatbots may be used to reduce manual effort and improve the overall user experience.

In most programs today, these tasks are being completed by either the program management office/ MSP or the CW manager. Areas of improvement can be easily identifiable and potentially be corrected easily. It is recommended program managers review every step within a CW program to see where the opportunities are to leverage these technologies to create automation.

As bots and chatbots are being created at warp speed for all facets of our daily lives, buyer organizations are beginning to realize their potential and leverage bots to automate and remove manual efforts. As you can see in SIA’s research report, “Introduction to Chatbots,” investment and development in chatbots has increased dramatically in the last few years, as advances in processing power and artificial intelligence have intersected with business needs for automation. Recruitment chatbots, in particular, have attracted significant investment and a number of large staffing firms have made strategic investments into chatbot providers or developed their own tools.

Implementation. At a minimum, buyer organizations should entertain a bot and chatbot strategy to see what the possibilities are for improving the user experience and ultimately improve their NPS. To execute and implement a bot strategy, start with leveraging a VICA methodology. You need to scrutinize every manual step in the process and determine if a bot solution will provide realized or perceived value. Once value is determined as meaningful, you can find hundreds of companies that build bots that can drive a solution with the appropriate pricing. It’s time to change the manager experience and improve those NPS scores