Most customers are prepared, in fact very willing, to solve a query themselves online. Whether it’s sales advice or a technical issue, people like the idea of being able to have all the information they need at their fingertips. However, enabling this over multiple channels, in multiple languages, 24/7, in a way that makes it easy and fast for customers to access can prove a challenge, even for the biggest of brands.
While an intelligent conversational interface bridges the gap between complex knowledge bases and impersonal customer self-service by providing a more humanlike interaction, customers are frequently left stranded on one or two platforms only—typically iOS or Android, and a website.
A multi-channel approach
Customer engagement is impossible if you’re not on the services your customers are using. In China it might be WeChat, if Facebook get their way it will be Messenger. What happens when the connected car really takes off, how will your customers talk to you then? In addition, supporting customers as they move around from location to location and device to device isn’t easy if you treat them as separate interactions.
Since building a closer relationship with individual customers is now a key objective for many organizations it makes sense to devise a digital strategy that enables all customer interactions from a single platform.
Build once, deploy anywhere
In order to meet these demands, enterprise, must maintain a ‘build once deploy many times’ ethos when it comes to developing their digital employees. Being able to develop intelligent, conversational applications to capitalize on emerging opportunities and then easily port them to be multi-lingual, over any device or service, is critical in making AI based applications commercially viable for enterprises.
To date, the Tech Giants have enjoyed a great deal of mindshare in the AI industry and, with consumer facing products like Alexa and Siri, it makes sense. In fact, a recent survey by Creative Strategies polled the habits of mobile users all over the world, and a full two-thirds of respondents said they enjoyed speaking conversationally to their mobile devices and were eager to see that same functionality expanded to places like their cars and living rooms. In other words, thanks to the Tech Giants individuals are becoming more comfortable and more trusting with AI-level engagement.
Own the data
But the comfort-level with the technology is only one hurdle. For enterprises, it’s clear that conversational AI applications will become as important to their customer engagement strategy by 2020 as the website was in 2000 or the app in 2010. However, the enterprise can’t build a business strategy around an experience owned by Amazon or Apple or Google.
The conversational AI experience will be critical to a company’s brand, and the data acquired from customer engagement will be the most vital key differentiator for brand equity. Companies who maintain ownership of their brand and their unique customer data through conversational UI experiences will be the ones who differentiate from the Tech Giants and position themselves as leaders in today’s on demand economy.
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.