Experts estimate that in 2022, more than 70% of customer interactions will rely on emerging technologies such as machine learning and AI-enabled chatbots, automated email and virtual agents. A few years ago, that number was only 15%.
Why the substantial leap in interest? Mainly because these tools can finally execute on the promise of voice-of-the-customer (VoC) strategies. CX Today defines VoC as “the cumulative feedback you receive from customers at the different junctures of their journey, across various channels and modes of interaction, in order to capture their expectations, needs, aspirations, demographic context and subjective opinion with maximum accuracy.”
By implementing a conversationally designed VoC program, an organization can more easily spot and target dominant trends across a company’s intended customer base and bring about product and service improvements that are perfectly attuned to ROI.
Understanding the Voice of the Customer
VoC summarizes your customer’s feedback about their experience with and expectations for your products or services. It includes customer needs, expectations, understandings and product improvement.
Businesses can capture VoC and employ the data to improve how customers interact with the company. Businesses can source this vital VoC data from far more than just surveys and webforms. They can find VoC data in natural, voice-based conversations people have with virtual contact center agents. Technologies such as text analytics and sentiment analysis can review these voice-based conversations to understand VoC better. Together, these tools help businesses find meaning in the customer feedback data.
VoC strategies are becoming more valuable as brands look to respond to customer preferences and demands. But the AI tools mentioned above that help businesses deliver on VoC strategies are only as good as they’re designed. These tools can be annoying, disconcerting or even offensive. Moreover, they can be a ticking time bomb to brands that don’t understand their customers’ changing voice and communication preferences.
Enter conversational design.
What is Conversational Design?
Conversational design examines human conversation to inform and improve interactions with digital systems to make them feel more natural. It can vastly enhance conversational AI, a form of intelligence that facilitates real-time, human-like communication between a person and a computer. More specifically, conversational design ensures AI-enabled communication tools match customer personas and sound as human-like as possible.
Properly programming conversational AI is critical to ensuring it aligns with humans’ evolving communication tendencies and preferences. Conversational AI can “learn” human nuance, but it won’t be as effective if it can’t respond in a human way. Thus, strong conversational design is instrumental to VoC strategies and your broader customer experience (CX) approach.
How Does Conversational Design Improve VoC Strategies?
Companies looking to better understand their customers should consider implementing conversational design into their AI tools. Using conversational design, you can ensure your chatbots, automated emails and other virtual agents are better equipped to handle customer interactions. Implementing conversational design allows digital customer service resources to use the intricacies of human nuances, such as tone, syntax, vernacular, etc.
Data generated from customer interactions leads to a more robust VoC strategy when AI-based tools are designed to interpret and respond using natural dialogue. The automation can better glean tone or sentiment from customers’ vocabulary.
For example, let’s compare AI-enabled virtual agents with and without conversational design.
Following a call with a customer, a virtual agent without conversational design asks the customer, “How was your experience?” to which the customer replies, “Bad.” This virtual agent might say, “Thank you for your feedback! We look forward to seeing you again.” Though this response is passable, it’s not a realistic conversation.
A virtual agent with conversational design handles this scenario differently. Following a call with a customer, the virtual agent asks, “How was your experience?” and the customer says, “Bad.” This virtual agent might say, “I’m sorry I couldn’t meet your needs. What can I do to fix this?”
By leveraging conversational design, companies can ensure AI-based tools are equipped to deliver human-like experiences to customers.
How Does Conversational Design Improve Overall CX?
Conversational design helps brands improve and evolve the customer experience by enhancing self-service resources and allowing your company to serve customer needs better. By leveraging business intelligence, brands can deliver contextually aware customer experiences. AI tools that are equipped with conversational design will be able to interpret customer requests and conversations easily – reducing customer frustration and helping answer their questions or resolve their problems faster.
Conversational design shouldn’t be an afterthought but rather a roadmap of potential and how users can arrive where they need to be. UX Magazine suggests that “the process … is like wire-framing and will be informed by your users’ journeys, stories or personas [when designing for conversation flow]. Consider writing a handful of dialogues from different scenarios (on-boarding, sale, follow-up, etc.). You can use these dialogues to get a good sense of how a back-and-forth flow with a user might unfold.”
Without conversational design, businesses miss opportunities to add personality, create a more expansive flow for customers to get to their end goal, better deal with customer emotions, track feedback and build stronger brand loyalty.
Satisfied Customers Will Better Serve Your Brand
Delivering a better customer experience is essential for business survival. Without a deep understanding of customers’ opinions of your company, it’s harder to hone other business areas to meet customer needs.
Conversational design is part of uncovering what customers are saying about your brand, and it allows you to improve the customer experience overall and build deeper brand loyalty. Satisfied customers will become strong ambassadors for your brand, leading to better perceptions of your organization and, likely, more customers.