Customer engagement is a continuing struggle for many organizations. To drive efficiencies, organizations are increasingly turning to automated channels, but too often they are faceless environments that don’t connect with the customer.
Many companies have implemented mobile apps, simple virtual assistants and chatbots in an attempt to resolve pain points, but these are frequently nothing more than FAQ systems with a speech enabled front-end. They don’t deliver the capable, conversational intelligence required to develop a sense of loyalty in the customer, and the business learns nothing from the interaction.
Customers want intelligent conversations
At the same time, customers’ expectations are changing. They’re used to the experience that Siri or Alexa gives them, but that’s still not enough. Customers recognise that there is no personalization or intelligent understanding about their demands. A recent independent survey found that over 70% of people wished their voice assistant understood the context of their conversation better, with 40% abandoning the application when it didn’t.
Many conversational applications aren’t capable of deducing what a customer means if they don’t use the correct terminology or jargon. Sometimes the technology behind the app can’t tell the difference between concepts such as you cancelled and I want to cancel. Others can’t use pertinent information such as geo-location or user preferences to increase customer engagement. Some can’t deviate from a dedicated script.
Conversations that results in action
In the end it’s no longer a conversation, but a battle of wills as to who gives up first, the customer or the application. But even then very few digital employees are intelligent enough to understand by the sentiment of the conversation alone that they should quickly hand over to a live agent.
The fact is, most natural language based applications in use today aren’t up to the job. Customers have moved beyond the wow, it talks factor and now expect a more intelligent response. One that actually does something, and makes their life better.
Sixty-six percent of the nearly two thousand survey respondents said they would use conversational applications more if this aspect could be improved. For enterprises this presents an opportunity not just to connect with their customers in a way that differentiates their business, but also to develop a closer relationship that delivers more than short term profit.
Conversations that deliver the data to drive your business forward
Despite knowing that they are talking to a machine, when a conversation is human-like people reveal all kinds of information. Even when the medium is text, not voice. Information that can be used in real-time to resolve the initial reason for the interaction using data from back-end systems; expand on any potential cross sale indicators; and engage the customer into another conversation with additional questions triggered by the original chat, prior behaviour and even data acquired from a third party.
This massive amount of raw, unstructured conversational data can then be extrapolated and analysed alongside context, metadata and other criteria to deliver actionable data to the entire business, from customer experience and product marketing to the boardroom. Armed with this information it is possible to transform customer engagement and your bottom line.
A digital employee that utilises artificial intelligence to deliver humanlike conversation achieves significantly higher levels of customer engagement than its first generation virtual assistant cousin. More engagement means more available actionable data. For businesses looking for innovative, cost effective ways to build a closer relationship with their customers, intelligent conversational applications are now a critical component of a digital strategy.
About Andy Peart
Andy Peart is CMSO of Artificial Solutions, an international business that “Makes Technology Think,” believing that people should be able to interact with technology intelligently, using their own voice, in their own terminology and across whatever channel they choose.