Alex is desperate to get his vehicle tire replaced ahead of the long drive early the next day. The local tire store is closed for the day and opens late morning. Looking for options, he logs into the tire company website and is greeted by a new avatar.
Emma: Hello, I am Emma, here to help you. What are you looking for today?
Alex: Hi – I need replacement tires for my SUV.
Emma: Sure, I will be glad to help with that. Please select your vehicle make from the options provided ……
A few minutes later, Alex signs off, thanking Emma. He just placed an order for express delivery of two spare tires for his SUV to be delivered by 5:30 am. He is relieved. He can now catch a good sleep before he sets out on his long drive the next morning.
In today’s world, while humanity sleeps, smart AI bots stay awake and keep your business ticking, answering routine questions, taking queries, recording service requests, or even helping complete a sale. With little or no human interaction from the business. An incredible upgrade to customer experience –unimaginable just a few years ago. That is the power of Conversational AI.
As businesses transform digitally, they find that conversational AI for customer experience (CX) are viable options that must be considered.
Key elements of Conversational AI
Conversational AI is an interesting blend of tech Natural Language Processing (NLP), machine learning (ML), deep learning, contextual awareness, and Art. It allows bots to converse like human beings by recognizing speech text, understanding context, understanding multiple languages, and creating as close to human interaction as possible. Art brings a human touch, elements of empathy, mannerism, and contextual personalization, making it seem very real.
Conversational AI comes in two flavors: AI chatbots that are predominantly text-driven and AI voice bots that serve voice responses. The realism in voice (personal language preferences, dialects, and tonality) brings a new stickiness level to the CX instance.
Unlike older generation chatbots, Conversational AI bots are not script-based, rule-driven programs. The AI element (especially in voice bots) aims to ‘understand’ unspoken emotions and customize the menu’s responses to ensure a more meaningful experience.
Conversational AI technology includes NLP, machine learning, dialog management – which might need NLU (Natural Language Understanding) – where unstructured customer inputs are mapped based on context and keywords to something that can be interpreted. It then gets presented using NLG (Natural Language Generation).
The process uses orchestrated responses for conversation flow, using the client’s history, context, and past responses as required. For Conversational AI voice bots, ASR (Automatic Speech Recognition) and TTS (Text to Speech) routines need to be integrated with necessary customization and training. This throws up unique challenges as language, and human interactions have cultural elements that vary widely across geographies.
Successful deployments of Conversational AI are driving a change in the business rationale for its consideration. Initially, the business case for AI Chatbots evolved around reducing the human resource costs required to provide 24×7 Customer Service. However, when implemented correctly, it reduces people costs, saves on training, unlocks efficiency, and increases sales – a priceless return on investment!
Examples of successful conversational AI deployments
- Financial Services: PwC, a globally reputed Big 4 Accounting firm, deployed AI-powered NLP-based chatbot to answer queries on HR, finance, and business process policies. Available to 10,000 employees in one region, PwC frees up the HR team to focus on more strategic issues and less on routine matters.
- Airline Sector: Lufthansa’s Elisa, Nelly, and Maria are the airline’s trained AI chatbots that go beyond answering routine questions from passengers. These chatbots will even connect a passenger to a live speaking human agent when required. The passenger doesn’t need to wait in line, and the agent has a complete context to address the query quickly.
- Services & Utilities: Bluehost is a leading hosting services company with a chatbot well equipped to handle most client queries. This includes billing details, pending bills, current plans, renewals, and some others.
- Insurance Industry: Geico, a leading insurance company, has its now popular and friendly AI virtual assistant, Gabby. Gabby is also in constant learning mode as it trains on customer inputs and queries to improve further.
- Fashion Industry: Sephora is a popular fashion brand that is an early adopter of conversational AI chatbot tech. The bot throws up a quiz for a new visitor, which it uses to customize recommendations and create a user profile. The bot allows you to apply various products to your selfies to visualize how you look in them. The popular bot is now rolled out across multiple platforms, including FB Messenger.
Not a panacea
Understanding customer process, system maturity, and knowing which customer touchpoints to automate are critical. If AI is introduced in a hurry before all customer interface contexts, workflows, and escalation paths are clearly defined or understood, it can create chaos and do more damage than good.
Make sure you ask for the latest version of the AI model from the vendor, understand the road map, and consider the best for your deployment. The AI models need to be trained for your specific business context, product categories, and business logic. Also, test internally or do a pilot for early adapters and measure feedback to see the response before full-fledged large-scale deployment. Remember, AI is a tech solution and will not fix a broken business or client process.
Conversational AI is here to stay. Apart from all the apparent benefits stated in this article, the bot is a goldmine of data that can help conceptualize targeted campaigns and build memorable engagements if mined correctly and integrated into CRM. As other related technologies improve (such as gesture tech), expect AI chatbots to become a ‘must have’ for most businesses.
AI deployments are soaring in the business world at multiple touchpoints – from websites and social media platforms to apps and HR systems catering to customers and employees.
Start a conversation with Trigent today
Conversational AI ensures your customer experience goes up a notch. Find out at what customer touchpoints in your business you should consider deploying conversation AI and how best to implement the solution. Ask our retail gurus at Trigent. We have developed AI solutions for our customers in the healthcare, banking and finance, transportation, and logistics industries. Benefit from our experience. We are optimistic this chat will help drive an entirely new conversation with your customers.