Conversational AI: How to use it for a Winning Customer Experience Strategy


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Consumer expectations are being set by voice assistants like Siri, Google Assistant, and Alexa. We interact with this technology every day. And we’re coming to expect this same type of interaction and rapid response when we communicate with businesses. Given this, solutions like conversational AI will soon be a requirement for every company’s contact center.

Benefits of Conversational AI

Conversational AI enables consumers to interact with computer applications as they would with humans, similar to our experiences with digital assistants in the home. With conversational AI, organizations can replace inadequate chatbots and unwieldy interactive voice response (IVR) menus and simply ask customers, “How can I help?” — and then get them to the right place. That may be a priority agent line, a low-friction switch to digital channels, or intelligent, conversational self-service that guarantees consumers’ concerns are quickly addressed. When organizations can avoid making their customers wait in lengthy queues, the risk of losing a transaction or losing a customer for good decreases.

Conversational AI helps business-to-consumer organizations improve customer experiences, reduce costs and build scalability and resilience into their operations. This is more important than ever, as businesses struggle to fill positions in their contact centers due to the current labor shortage. Conversational AI can handle repetitive tasks so your agents can focus on conversations that add more value to the customer relationship. It can direct specific contacts to specific agents, allowing contact centers to get new agents productive faster, by focusing their training on a smaller range of tasks. And it can help to manage seasonal spikes or other increases in demand.

Beyond the customer experience, cost, and scalability benefits, conversational AI can provide richer and more pertinent data. Companies will know what customers contact them for most often, what goods or services they’re requesting, and what issues recur frequently. These insights open up possibilities for improved automation, personnel management, digital deflection, and customer engagement.

Despite these advantages, Waterfield Tech’s recent research found that only 14% of respondents had implemented conversational AI. As Gartner predicts a 25% boost in consumer satisfaction scores in 2023 among organizations using AI, not leveraging this technology is a missed opportunity.

Don’t leave it to IT

Conversational AI is a transformational technology on the radar of many technology and innovation departments. But with Conversational AI, you’re not just deploying a piece of technology. Nor is it a typical transformation project. I think it’s best to think about it as deploying an extra workforce. A Virtual Agent workforce that needs leading, and managing, just like your existing customer service representatives. Business leaders and Customer service directors must take a leadership role in building a Conversational AI Strategy, and ensuring that the Virtual Agents are doing the right things, delivering a great customer experience, and having the desired impact on customer experience, cost, and other key contact center metrics.

Next Steps for Conversational AI

An inflationary environment coupled with fears of a potential recession in the months ahead will continue to put pressure on business models. Companies typically have two alternatives in times like these: find other things to sell or cut costs. As organizations look to shed infrastructure, they’ll increasingly turn to contact center automation as a key strategy. This includes things that help companies become smarter and nimbler in their customer interactions, like conversational AI. And with advancements in conversational AI that essentially mimic a company’s “best rep,” customer interactions can get done faster – and sometimes even better – than making customers wait for a customer service representative.

The adoption curve for conversational AI will accelerate in the year ahead as consumers increasingly expect – and demand – this more human type of interaction with the businesses that serve them.

Kerry Robinson
An Oxford physicist with a Master’s in Artificial Intelligence, Kerry is a technologist, scientist, and lover of data with over 20 years of experience in Conversational AI. He combines business, customer experience, and technical expertise to help organizations get maximum ROI from their investments in AI.


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