Today’s on-demand digital economy has put customers firmly in the driver’s seat. Now, more than ever, your customers expect rapid issue resolution and seamless conversations when interacting with your brand.
When deployed correctly, Conversational AI allows you to create more personalised customer experiences at scale, helping support the sales cycle and increase revenue. Here, we look at the ins and outs of Conversational AI, what it is, what it does and how it can benefit your business.
What is Conversational AI?
Conversational AI is technology that enables machines to interact with people via written or spoken word. A subset of artificial intelligence (AI), Conversational AI utilises machine learning, natural language processing, neural networks and speech recognition technologies to simulate human conversation.
Conversational AI has rapidly become one of the most popular customer service technologies, particularly within the utilities, ecommerce and automotive sectors. Chatbots, voice-based assistants and messaging apps are all examples of Conversational AI.
How Conversational AI works
Two key elements that underpin Conversational AI are natural language understanding (NLU) and natural language generation (NLG) – in other words, what people say and what they mean. Together, they make it possible for Conversational AI technology to first determine the query intent (using NLU), before understanding the meaning and offering a response in human language (using NLG).
Conversational AI breaks language down into discernible components while looking for statistically significant patterns. Machine learning models within the technology are trained to recognise these patterns and, importantly, can improve over time and produce more insightful responses.
Chatbot vs Conversational AI
Conversational AI and chatbots are often confused. Much has been said about the business case for chatbots in recent years, which has resulted in them being widely used online. But where chatbots represent a single communications channel, Conversational AI can help users on any channel, at any time, in spoken or written language.
Conversational AI can also be used to build chatbots. While some chatbots are rule-based (e.g. they respond to queries by referencing a set of pre-defined questions and answers), AI-based chatbots not only understand and respond in human language, they learn and improve over time.
Understanding the Value of Conversational AI
With new customer-focused technologies coming to the fore on a regular basis, why Conversational AI? There are a host of solid reasons for adopting this technology, particularly for online or customer-led businesses. Some of these include:
Conversational AI empowers customers by providing real-time responses 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. By promptly resolving issues, Conversational AI helps smooth the path to purchase. In fact, research conducted by Cognigy found Conversational AI has the power to increase lead conversion rates by up to 700%. In addition to augmenting sales, Conversational AI allows you to maximise human resources and free staff up to focus on higher value tasks.
Conversational AI can provide seamless customer support across multiple platforms, enabling you to offer a more personalised, contextual service to customers. The technology can also differentiate between recurring customers and new, and leverage context from past events and transactions. By improving the quality of interaction – a study by Uberall found that 80% of consumers who have engaged with a chatbot found it to be a positive experience – Conversational AI helps drive customer retention.
Where human-centred customer service teams are at the mercy of demand fluctuations, Conversational AI easily manages any increase or decrease in volume without creating bottlenecks or posing a service disruption to customers.
Getting Started with Conversational AI
The first step in a Conversational AI deployment is choosing the right technology. As part of our Customer Experience services at Revium we work with Cognigy for Conversational AI. A global leader in this space, Cognigy has serviced many high-profile enterprise clients including Bosch and Lufthansa.
Their platform, Cognigy.AI automates customer and employee communications and is available for on-premise and SaaS environments. Cognigy.AI allows you to have natural language conversations with users in any language and on any channel, including webchat, SMS, voice and mobile apps.
Conversational AI is continuing to evolve into a sophisticated technology that will soon be capable of detecting emotions and sentiment. As such, the case for including it as part of your customer experience technology stack is only going to grow.
Read our interview with the CEO of Cognigy to learn more, or talk to us about how Conversational AI can help boost customer satisfaction and drive revenue for your business.