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We Need to Talk: Everything you Need to Know About Conversational AI

We Need to Talk: Everything you Need to Know About Conversational AI

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As a global industry, conversational AI is expected to reach a global worth of $13.9 billion. That’s right. The robots are finally taking over. But in real life, they’re actually working for us.

Artificial intelligence is reducing customer frustration, increasing revenue, improving service, and saving manhours. Intelligent solutions eliminate human error and are available 24/7.

However, artificial intelligence can be scary to some people. After all, it ‘knows too much.’ Concerns about security risks, privacy, and doubts about the efficiency of conversational AI are prevalent.

As more businesses adopt chatbot AI and other technology solutions, it will become the future.

What Is Conversational AI?

Unlike some humans, machines have the ability to learn from every interaction. From colloquial language to language nuances, machines can apply this information to the next situation.

That’s a primary benefit of conversational AI—it’s always improving. With a combination of machine learning, compiled data, and language, AI can respond to customers easily.

AI is much more than a simple conversational chatbot, though. Instead, the goal of AI programming is to mimic human speech exactly.

This includes abbreviations, colloquialisms, and a nuanced understanding of human emotion and language. Chatbots are intended for more simplistic, rote conversations. If an interaction veers too far outside of a pre-determined script, the bot must pass it off to a human representative.

When it comes down to basic structure, chatbots and conversational AI are different.

Chatbots vs. Conversational AI

Conversational AI, when boiled down to the basics, is just an upgraded version of chatbots.

Here are some flaws that conversational AI applications avoid:

  • Reliance on overly simplistic conversations
  • Can’t go outside of a prewritten script
  • Easily confused by very nuanced or colloquial language
  • Needs exact terms to pick up on what a customer wants

How do you learn to speak a language in a new culture? You pick up on small cues and apply that context for future interactions. That’s what AI does.

Conversational AI doesn’t rely on ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ responses from users. Instead, they can hold conversations. After posing open-ended questions, conversational AI can reply based on a knowledge database.

That database doesn’t need to be manually updated by a human developer. Instead, the AI software automatically self-updates and expands.

This constant learning is facilitated by customer interactions, initial data uploads, and the extensions it has access to.

Benefits of Conversational AI

Implementing conversational AI is relatively easy. If you have a good developer, it can take less time than the arduous process of finding the right customer service rep, interviewing them, and onboarding them.

Here are some of the benefits you’ll experience.

The first benefits are internal. Customer service is an incredibly rewarding position, but it’s also demanding. There are always customers who will make someone’s day absolutely miserable. And customer service agents get more than their fair share of that!

With AI taking on some of the more repetitive requests, your employee turnover rate will likely drop. After all, artificial intelligence software can’t get its feelings hurt or be frustrated at the thousandth repetition.

With this in mind, another benefit is represented by a spike in productivity. Your customer service, in a limited capacity, can continue around the clock. Even if your team is logging a standard 40-hour week, your conversational AI applications can work 24/7.

This will eliminate basic support tickets that are simple but time-consuming.

Another benefit is higher revenue. This occurs for a few reasons. For starters, you’ll reduce overtime hours.

If your customer service team is swamped, AI can help take some of the load off their shoulders. With reduced manhours, there’s less money going out of your pockets.

You’ll also keep customers inside the sales funnel. Abandoning their carts because they don’t get an immediate response to their question is a common issue. This will increase sales!

Think Beyond Customer Service

The benefits of AI go far beyond interacting with customers. You can also use it to save time and automate basic internal processes in your company.

Tired of meticulously reviewing payroll each month? What about billing customers? These are high-stakes activities that take a talented person.

Or do they? Crunching numbers is easy for artificial intelligence. Especially if you’re dealing with multiple complicated billing streams, AI can help make it happen.

Of course, if it’s high-stakes financial activities, it’s best to have a human expert review. After all, there’s always room for error!

But if you want to save the grunt work for artificial intelligence software, your accounting team is probably more than ready to pass it off!

You can also automate flagging problems too. If a site user encounters a broken page, it can send a ticket to the dev team.

This also works for creating support tickets that need to be sent to the customer service team too.

Keep Them Happy

Still not sold on the benefits of AI technology? If you give them a chance, your customers will convince you.

Whenever customers interact with your AI applications, they can collect information.

Preferences, location, purchase history, demographics, and other marketing information can all be collected. Then, you can course-correct your approach. Whether it’s altering that marketing pitch or adding a few landing pages to your website, AI gives you the raw data necessary to nail it.

AI can also mimic a human customer service representative. By pulling the customer’s account or order information, it can personalize the conversation. This puts the conversation in context, which is exactly what customers expect when they call into your company.

These days, receiving a phone call isn’t as exciting as it used to be. Neither is making one! Instead, younger demographics prefer text or chat options.

AI makes your company more accessible and up-to-date with consumer interaction preferences. Especially if your brand appeals to younger audiences, this will help you ‘stay in step,’ so to speak.

Finding the Right Tools

There are lots of great conversational AI platforms out there. When you’re searching, here’s what you need to prioritize.

  • Integrations
  • Security
  • Flexibility
  • Omni-channel capability

Integrations are the key to unlocking all that AI has to offer. Prebuilt integrations with popular tools like Salesforce or Workday are a great start. But a tool that offers custom integrations with APIs and custom adapters will make your experience easier.

What’s the number one customer concern you’ll need to overcome? Privacy. Many major companies have gotten hacked in recent years, and sensitive information has been stolen.

People will know that they’re putting identifying information in the hands of ‘a robot’. What they want to know next is: how will it be kept safe?

Be on the lookout for a platform that utilizes multi-factor authentication, possesses third-party certification, and military-grade encryption to keep your customers’ data safe. It’ll pay off in the event of a hack!

Flexibility is what your IT team needs to function. No matter how you need to conduct a deployment, whether it’s hybrid cloud or HIPAA compliant, your platform needs to be able to keep up.

Omni-channel capacity—what’s that?

Your customers use a wide range of platforms. From Slack to Facebook, from WhatsApp to Google Hangouts, you can find them everywhere. Conversational AI has to be able to keep up.

A conversational AI platform tool must be able to seamlessly adapt to all types of channels. This will give your AI a birds-eye view of all channels and tools and be able to make data-based deductions from there.

We’ve found the best conversational AI tool for the job. It combines all the above features and more. That way, your customers’ data is kept safe, your IT team is unfettered, and your business is free to fly.

Doing Your Research

AI doesn’t have to be intimidating! You can ease into it by even starting with a basic chatbot. This will help you, your team, and your customers get used to the new process.

Start by doing some gap research. What does your team need? What frustrations are they facing?

Once you’ve outlined these pain points, consider how conversational AI can help. More importantly, think through how AI can help tackle these pressures.

If your customer service team is swamped, AI can take care of basic tasks. Or, if they’re spending their time reviewing highly repetitive requests, AI can help improve employee satisfaction!

Getting Started with Conversational AI

Once you’ve identified problems, pain points, and solutions, you’re ready to find the tools you need to help your business soar. Each AI platform offers something a little different. Remember what we discussed earlier–prioritize safety and flexibility so that you don’t box your company, or your website, into a solution that doesn’t really work for you.

Then, you can make use of the best conversational AI platforms to help revolutionize your site. Check it out today—we’re excited to help!

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