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Transforming Customer Experience with Conversational AI

Conversational AI is powering transformative customer experiences across digital channels with intelligent search and Intelligent Virtual Assistants.

Butterfly hangs from a cocoon on a tree branch

It’s no secret that customers seek out and become more loyal to companies that offer better experiences. In the digital world, they want answers to their questions and solutions to their problems quickly and easily, without having to go through the click-and-scroll rigamarole we’ve all grown used to when using online content. While some businesses have responded by adding live chat tools to lend support, many have limited hours and long wait times. Over the years, a new option has emerged: self-service tools and Intelligent Virtual Assistants (IVAs) powered by Conversational AI technologies that let humans talk to computers the way they would talk to another human.

The next frontier for online chat is intelligent virtual assistants with Natural Language Understanding

Natural Language Understanding (NLU) is a component of Conversational AI that specifically refers to the ability to understand language with context. For example, someone can get an answer to a question like “What are your hours next Tuesday?” or “When do I need to pay?”

These questions might feel natural to ask a smart speaker but that same technology that powers the voice assistant’s ability to understand a question and answer it properly is also available through online chat, with an IVA. When Conversational AI is leveraged for online experiences, IVAs can help customers find what they need faster and more easily than ever before, without having to go to a new device.

(If you’re curious about what makes something an IVA versus a chatbot, we run through it in this Conversational AI overview blog.)

IVAs can engage and de-escalate customers

This true understanding of the context of a conversation uniquely positions IVAs to engage and even de-escalate customers. They can answer questions and provide support, and even offer a connection to a live agent if the customer needs further assistance.

IVAs can even be trained to understand customer emotions, and react appropriately. For example, if a customer is frustrated, an IVA might ask what’s wrong or how they can be of better service. This can mitigate potential issues before they become problems.

IVAs can also be used to help filter only the right users to human support. If an IVA identifies that someone is not ready for help yet (for example because they are in an easily solvable situation), it can redirect them into self-service content instead of routing them through other channels which might waste time or money on unnecessary calls/emails/chats etc..

Intelligent search offers better customer engagement

Conversational AI is also available to help improve website navigation experiences via Intelligent Search. Intelligent search can help with customer engagement, a key metric for customer experience and satisfaction. 

For example, if someone needs to know if a business is open on Saturdays, intelligent search can provide answers based on information that is on the website but difficult to find. This allows prospective customers to access information they need without having to call customer service or dig through the website. This saves time and builds trust.

Similarly, intelligent search can be helpful for customer retention efforts by providing accurate answers quickly and easily whenever customers have questions. Conversational AI lets people type questions, phrases, or statements and get highly contextual and personalized results as direct answers instead of lists of information they need to cull through.

Connecting multiple channels with voice and chat offers transformational customer experiences

The first rule of customer service is to make the experience as seamless and consistent as possible. The second rule is to put customers’ own preferences first. Customers want choice, but they also want convenience. That’s why voice assistants like Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri are such important tools: they allow consumers to quickly access general information in the most convenient way possible – just by asking. Similarly, if a customer wants something from you—whether it’s advice on how much paint they should order for a renovation or directions for getting from their hotel room to your store—it’s best if they can ask for it via chat or search rather than having to go through multiple steps within your website or app interface.

As customers become more comfortable using conversational “ask and get” interfaces, they have started to apply that more conversational tone to many of their digital interactions. By using platforms like XAPP AI, companies are able to establish one Unified Knowledge Model™ and make it accessible across channels. That means that the same information and Conversational AI learning can power a conversation with a voice assistant, a chat widget, a search bar on a website, or a text thread in an app. The customer chooses the form factor that they prefer and the company is able to meet them where they are with a good, seamless, consistent, experience.

Conversational AI is the clear next step for digital transformation

Conversational AI is a mature technology that’s integration ready and can be scaled across multiple form factors. It offers unparalleled opportunities to improve multiple experiences without total front-end and back-end overhauls.

IVAs that can engage and de-escalate customers, provide better customer engagement, connect multiple channels—intelligent search that provides answers instead of lists, in less time than it would take to connect to a live agent. That’s transformative for both the customer and the business.

Contact us to discuss how we can help any size business launch Conversational AI experiences that people want to use.