Overview

Automating tasks & improving job performance.

Citizens Advice is a network of independent charities throughout the United Kingdom that provides free, confidential information and advice to assist people with their problems.

To make their well-oiled machine run smoothly, they began the journey to bots on Workplace to enable their staff to have quick and easy access to the information, knowledge, and tools they need to do their jobs.

Challenge

As a company dedicated to providing the information people need to move forward, improving accessibility to that information for staff was essential for growth and improved company performance.

Pandora Longstreth, Workplace Engagement Officer at Citizens Advice, wanted her staff to spend less time on mundane tasks so they could spend more time on bigger things, like supporting their communities.

Before implementing bots on Workplace, internal communication and accessibility to information was fractured. Old-school communications tactics were creating roadblocks in day-to-day operations for their 30,000 staff members and volunteers.

They needed a solution to open up the communication pipeline and make content delivery easy, but wanted to place emphasis on keeping those conversations personal and helpful.

Solution

Since adopting The Bot Platform to their Workplace instance, Citizens Advice have created a number of bots that are helping their staff be more productive at work by automating internal processes and content delivery in a variety of ways.

Workplace Review bot

The Review bot was built by Citizens Advice to survey staff on how they are finding Workplace. Staff can enter information about the ease of use and their confidence in using Workplace, which features they like the most, and which areas of Workplace they would like to receive more information or training on. The bot can then direct staff members to educational Workplace groups and resources.

This initial bot served another purpose – helping Pandora and her team learn how to build bots by solving a simple problem first, then tackling bigger things down the road once they had key learnings from this experience.

Staff Conference bot

This bot was used to communicate with attendees for their annual staff conference. The bot sent out broadcasts to groups of staff and provided them with information about the event including the agenda, logistical and travel details. Using the bot, staff could also access conference content including information about their annual staff awards which included the ability to see the award shortlist and vote on who should win. After the conference took place, the bot then acted as a post event survey to gather feedback on what attendees enjoyed and what could be improved for next year.

Diversity Data bot

The Diversity Data bot was built to try and get staff to update their details within the HR system. This was a big internal push at Citizens Advice, and team members were sending out company-wide comms all week attempting to prompt members to complete the task.

To help push people to action, Pandora created the Diversity Data bot and prompted users to engage with it by creating a fun “Friday Quiz” for those who completed the task. Staff were completing the required task so they could engage with something fun instead of feeling like they were being reminded to do the same thing over and over again. With an already busy team, the Diversity Data bot helped automate a HR process and nudge staff members to complete their profiles.

Stand Up bot

The Stand Up bot was built to save the Communications team at Citizens Advice time. Being such a large organization with remote workers, there can be a lot to communicate in each team. Within the Communications department there are smaller teams like social media and events, so everyone is working on something different at the same time. The problem Pandora identified was that people did not know where everyone was or what they were working on. Someone could be working on building a flyer for an upcoming event when there could have been multiple team members who had already built a template. As a team, they needed to be more linked together to make everyone more productive.

With bots, Citizens Advice is able to bridge that gap between Workplace and information sharing across the organization. Using the bots post to Group feature, team members can have a full and detailed written report every morning so they can really understand what colleagues are doing and respond with questions in the comments underneath.

New Starter bot

The most recent bot that has been built by Pandora and her team has helped to automate the onboarding process for new hires at Citizens Advice. The bot automatically greets new starters on their first day and helps introduce them to their team members through a guided experience that encourages them to start posting to Workplace and engaging with the platform.

The New Starter bot also provides information of use to new hires, such as floor plans for different Citizens Advice offices, company FAQs and links to brand guidelines and HR policies.

Business Impact

Before using bots, the Citizens Advice team members were spending their time on the wrong things.

New starters used to spend 30 minutes alone trying to figure out where they should begin on their first day. Processes were confusing and there wasn’t a singular place staff could go to access information.

In terms of the Stand Up bot, the Citizens Advice comms team used to have a Monday stand up with everyone, but this quickly grew to 30-45 minutes spent just to get through everyone. Teams were only given a small glimpse into what everyone was working on.

With bots, Pandora is able to automate internal processes and content delivery which is saving staff huge amounts of time but also being received incredibly well by users, with their first two bots getting over 90% positive feedback. More so, bots are also helping to increase understanding of and engagement with Workplace as an internal communication and collaboration platform at Citizens Advice.

A massive goal of bots for Citizens Advice was to change how people work. Bots enabled them to understand what they can do to help staff succeed by using Workplace to create a collaborative business culture.

Results

3

hours a month given back to each comms team member

90

positive feedback on their first two bots launched

30

minutes saved for new hires with each given the same key information and introduction

9000

messages sent to staff
Workplace integrations

How They Did It

Step 1: Identify pain points to be solved

In an organization of 30,000 people, communications barriers are a given. Instead of trying to solve every problem at once, Pandora and her team tried to start by solving a simple problem, refining the process, then moving onto something more complex.

Connecting their remote and office workers so they feel part of one, larger organization can be difficult, so building bots to improve their company-wide communication was designed to address this challenge.

Step 2: Establish which bots to introduce first

The first “problem” they decided to solve was automating their employee feedback survey. This survey was transitioned into their Review bot discussed above, allowing them to test the bot process and make one mundane task easier.

Once they knew how to build bots, the next thing to learn was how their staff was engaging with them. It quickly became apparent that a Staff Conference bot would keep their staff informed, but also supply key insights into bot engagement, and execution.

Now that Pandora knew how to build bots and how her staff was engaging with them, the next step was to see what bots could help them save time. In came their next project – New Starter bot.

Step 3: Launch and monitor usage

The best way to learn, adapt, and grow is to first identify key learnings. For the Citizens Advice team, a few things became crystal clear.

After implementing their bots to learn how to build and how their staff was engaging, the new starter bot was their first chance to test how bots can save them time.

To measure success, the Citizens Advice team timed new staff to see how long it would take them to do a task before using bots. It was taking new starters 30 minutes alone just to figure out where to start.

Using a bot, they were able to automate the onboarding process from day one and explain all their processes. Everyone gets the same welcome experience and accessibility to the same information without ever needing to rely on managers all the time.

Step 4 : Refine the experience over time and experiment with new bots

Pandora and the Citizens Advice team have already identified new problems that can be solved in the future, but they are building bots one solution at a time.

We always say, “give a bot a job description and it will do just that.” It is important for internal staff to know they can create bots to make mundane tasks easier or completed quicker. Someone doing a big piece of work may realize that there could be a process or comms task that’s taking up a lot of time and energy that could be automated via a bot. They can then shift their focus to solving the next problem.

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