Conversational AI for the Customer Experience

Posted by Bethany Frank on 31 Jul 2018

Experts predict the proliferation of artificial intelligence will be more impactful than the Internet. Here’s how artificial intelligence can help your business streamline operations and deliver a better customer experience.

Data-Driven Digital Experiences

Technology is making it easier than ever to transact and interact with businesses. From ordering lattes to requesting maintenance service, odds are there is a website, app, or voice command to help consumers complete the task in seconds.

Your customers are becoming more and more accustomed to performing these everyday tasks with the assistance of technology. At the heart of popular consumer brands like Starbucks, Uber, and Spotify are robust technology platforms that constantly churn data to deliver seamless and highly personalized customer experiences. Customers are coming to expect a custom tailored, data-driven digital experience all the time, whether they’re looking for a movie to stream or paying their bills.

Conversational AI Says “Hi”

Much of this technology is powered by artificial intelligence. A long way from glitchy concepts of the past, today’s intelligent computer systems enable businesses to enhance the customer experience and drive greater organizational efficiency. AI helps businesses automate operations, increase productivity, and better analyze data to inform strategic decisions across every sector. In a recent survey by PwC, over 70% of leaders and decision makers termed AI a “business advantage.”

Recent advancements in a specific type of AI called natural language processing (NLP) have allowed for the development of highly sophisticated voice recognition engines that further elevate the technology’s potential. Commonly known as “conversational AI”, these engines utilize techniques like intent classification and contextual understanding to learn more about customers and improve conversational ability over time.

Conversational AI is the force behind a growing $2.68 billion industry that’s projected to reach over $11 billion by 2023. CNBC reports one in three Americans already own a smart speaker, making it one of the most rapidly adopted consumer electronics of all time. And as more consumers adopt these devices, the technology is influencing important shifts in consumer behavior.

Voice as the Next Interface

Voice is the next interface for commerce and communication, and it’s creating new markets ripe with opportunity by revolutionizing how your customers shop, find information, and engage with your business. The shift makes sense – talking is simply much more convenient than typing, and a lot faster too. Choppy conversations with IVR systems will soon be a thing of the past, for example, and they’ll be replaced with chatbots and other digital assistants that can more naturally converse with your customers.

Modern voice recognition engines are savvy enough to remove much of the friction that riddles customer service today, if not all of it, and the technology is only getting better. Recent studies show that consumers even prefer AI-powered self-service over traditional engagement channels, especially as they become more comfortable using voice technology in everyday contexts. Conversational AI doesn’t only make for a better experience for your customers - it also frees employees from tedious customer service tasks that can be easily automated with the help of AI. In billing and payments, chatbots and voice assistants can help customers resolve many common issues like checking their balances or scheduling a payment without having to contact a live agent.

The Bottom Line: Things move fast in the digital age. By 2020, over 85% of business interactions are expected to be managed without a human. The way customers find, engage, and transact with your business will continue to change along with the evolution of technology itself. AI can help businesses harness the power of these new channels to optimize the customer experience while driving digital transformation.

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Bethany Frank Senior Marketing Associate Bethany specializes in content and events as part of Alacriti's marketing team. She's a graduate of Rutgers University and has a background in writing, broadcasting, and digital media. Fascinated by the intersection of technology and human nature, Bethany is out to explore what drives consumers in such a fast-paced, digitally connected world.

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