Conversational AI to shape future customer experiences

Think back to your own recent experience with your insurance agency, telecommunications provider to increase internet bandwidth or healthcare provider to schedule an appointment – you may recall the varying levels of automation and service

The stark contrast in customer experiences has become increasingly evident for millions of us over the past year, as organisations across all industries struggled to maintain business operations while volumes increased.

Automation has helped to drive business operations, but consumer-facing processes rarely meet our expectations. In fact, Gartner suggests 91% of organisations plan to deploy AI within the next three years to enhance customer experiences. In this way, conversational AI might be the solution, but with chatbots limited to question-and-answer engagements, it’s clear a more intelligent platform is required.

It’s more than just automation

Most organisations have an automated phone system and offer multichannel options, including mobile apps to improve operational efficiency. However, customer-facing processes rarely meet our expectations, as these systems were created inside-out. These can be incredibly frustrating for the customer – the dreaded automated phone call, for example, or the mobile app where all you can do is check status but not conduct new transactions.

McKinsey reported that COVID-19 has forced CX leaders to rethink what customers care about,  after all, maintaining a strong customer experience in a crisis requires rapid research to understand changing dynamics and new pain points as well as agile innovation to address them. In fact, Gartner suggests 91% of organisations plan to deploy artificial intelligence (AI) within the next three years to enhance customer experiences and meet increasing expectations. However, to be successful such systems need to be implemented from the outside-in, to act in a way that is logical from the customer’s perspective.

Intelligent automation requires AI

Virtual agents or chatbots are a growing AI tool connecting to intelligent automation platforms to drive conversational-driven experiences, however they have not been very intelligent and have been limited to basic question-and-answer engagements.

Conversation-driven experiences are the next wave of innovation and democratisation of AI that will transform how people interact with companies. However, they must be frictionless, fast, accurate, and enable business to be completed – not just give a status or direct you to a live agent. In fact, 63% of customers would prefer messaging with an online chatbot while 33% of companies that use virtual agents report an increase in customer satisfaction, plus save 33% per voice engagement.

Unpacking conversational AI

When you pull back the layers of how to incorporate conversational AI into your organisation, there are a number of necessary factors to take into consideration. Firstly, it’s important that information is discovered and mined by conversational AI platforms and Internet of Thing (IoT) devices. This will make it easier for organisations to transform and share content, and the use of no-code/low-code platforms will streamline this process further. Organisations should also look towards investing in advanced robotic process automation with cognitive capabilities that can learn and improve over time without human intervention. As conversational-driven experiences rely on the use of multiple automation platforms and systems, such as RPA, no-code/low code and AI, organisations should look towards ensuring operational awareness. This will help to have a 360 overview of how efficiently they are all performing and interacting with each other and provide the ability to flag bottlenecks, and anticipate deviations from consumer-facing processes.

Ultimately, despite promises by software vendors, the holy grail to delivering a comprehensive AI-enabled conversation driven experience in not available in one platform. It’s all about situational awareness and overall understanding of what’s going on from a people, process, and content standpoint. Like any new digital transformation initiative, using best of breed solutions rather than a single platform is the smartest strategy.

About the Author

Neil Murphy is Global VP at ABBYY. ABBYY is a Digital Intelligence company. We provide a Digital Intelligence platform that enables organizations to gain a complete understanding of their business. The platform is designed to allow organizations to deploy solutions in standalone configurations or as a tightly integrated extension of industry-leading RPA, BPM and packaged application solutions.

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