Customer Experience

Conversational AI in 2023: What Is It And Should You Use It?

By Simon Brennan 10 March 2023

For years now, businesses have been introducing chatbots as part of their digital transformation journey – and for good reason. A good bot can handle basic customer service queries 24/7, freeing up time for skilled advisors to focus on more complex, higher-value issues.

Most of these bots are basic logic machines driven by pre-written sets of rules. But now, with significant advances in artificial intelligence (AI), we’re entering a new age of bots: Conversational AI.

In this blog, we’ll explain what Conversational AI is and how it can level up your digital self-service.

What is Conversational AI?

Conversational AI refers to any digital assistant that a customer can actually talk to. Unlike traditional chatbots – which are pre-written programmes designed to deliver specific answers when triggered by specific keywords – conversational assistants use AI tools to mimic the flow and feel of natural, human conversation.

These tools include natural language processing (NLP), natural language understanding (NLU) and machine-learning models. They’re combined to create bots that can not only recognise human speech and text, but can also actually understand their meaning and intent – and respond accordingly.

What are the pitfalls of Conversational AI?

No matter how powerful the AI behind a chatbot, it’s still a bot at the end of the day. It may be better able to understand human language and respond convincingly, but it can’t genuinely connect and empathise with customers the same way a human adviser can. For many queries, that’s fine. But more complex questions and certain customer groups will still require a personal touch.

What’s more, most Conversational AI models are trained in English and so are unable to communicate with global customers in their native languages. They’re also often tripped up by slang, regional dialects and technical jargon unless developers specifically design models that can handle them.

What are the benefits of Conversational AI over a traditional chatbot?

On the surface, traditional, rules-based chatbots and Conversational AI assistants have many of the same benefits.

Both increase operational efficiency by freeing up more expensive human resources to handle more challenging customer questions. Both enable consistent, 24/7 customer support, meeting customer expectations for digital service at any time, from anywhere. And both are easily scalable, since it’s much cheaper and faster to add additional capabilities to a bot than it is to recruit and onboard a new human adviser.

But Conversational AI far outpaces a traditional, logic-driven bot when it comes to customer experience because:

  • They’re more natural to interact with – Traditional bots are only as good as the rules that power them ­– and can result in frustrating customer experiences if a customer doesn’t use the trigger words the bot’s been programmed to respond to. Because Conversational AI assistants can understand the meaning behind human speech and text, they can respond more effectively to the nuances of actual conversation.
  • You can offer more personalised experiences – Because they have a greater understanding of conversational nuances, they allow for more personalised customer experiences. Bots powered by Conversational AI can combine machine-powered data analysis with human-like understanding to deliver highly-personalised product and service recommendations, increasing cross-sell opportunities and delivering more value per interaction.

Conversational AI has the potential to transform customer service at every stage of the journey – from pre-purchase research right the way through to technical troubleshooting. When deployed thoughtfully, it can deliver more seamless, efficient and cost-effective support, taking your self-service offering to the next level.

To learn more about Conversational AI and how it can help elevate your customer experience, get in touch today.

See other posts by Simon Brennan

VP Sales

Simon Brennan has more than 14 years’ experience in the customer engagement sector, working with a wide variety of companies from tech start-ups to FTSE100 organisations. He is an expert in improving corporate customer communication, using technology to supercharge internal processes and deliver increased sales. Simon has a strong track record of successfully delivering cross-channel communication solutions for Engage Hub's corporate customer base, across multiple divisions within an organisation.

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