The word ‘Conversational AI’ evokes a picture of intelligent bots, AI-powered apps, improved customer experience, and better productivity. According to Gartner, by 2020, 85% of customer interactions will be managed without a human. Conversational AI has widespread use in a variety of industries and across various functions. There are many innovative use cases that are building around industries including Banking, Insurance, Telecom, Retail and functions like HR, ITSM, Marketing, Sales & Finance. Many businesses understand the power of Conversation AI and its potential. The pinching question here is, are businesses efficient enough to capitalize on the growing power of AI?
After all, Gartner forecasts that by 2020, 70% of white-collar workers will interact with conversational platforms on a daily basis. Yes, in a perfect world, Conversational AI makes immense sense. Yet, despite its massive potential, so far only a minuscule portion of the global consumers has experienced the benefits of Conversational AI. What’s stopping industry honchos from expanding the scope of Conversational AI within their organizations when its advantages are all too apparent?
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Why is that so? We know, for instance:
- Conversational AI-powered bots operate 24*7 and can simultaneously have conversations with thousands of customers. Just imagine, what will be the financial impact if this has to be done by a human.
- Chatbots are ever-active - patiently waiting to instantiate a talk with a customer and reeling them in when the time’s right. Can you have a better bait than a bot for this task?
- Conversational AI makes use of Natural Language Processing (NLP) & Machine Learning (ML) technologies to mimic human-like conversations.
- Imagine the possibilities of creating customer delight moments using chatbots. The likes of Starbucks today employ a bot on their website to help customers book cakes, flowers or order a cup of their favorite cafe latte at any time of the day.
- Conversational chatbots help banking customers with fill forms via FAQs, investment advice, and even send reminders about deposit due dates.
The list of benefits offered by Conversational AI will go on and on.
The Enterprise CXOs are convinced with the potential of Conversational AI, but still, there are doubting Thomases. This may be due to the below reasons, so allow us to bust the myths -
ROI (Return on Investment)
For an Enterprise to introduce a new technology is never an easy game. One should be very conscious of estimating the ROI by considering the macro variables. Especially in the case of Conversational AI, business goals play a vital role in the successful calculation of ROI. Your business goal can be onboarding 2X new customers, achieving 3X higher C-Sat score, improving employee productivity, etc. Have a clear estimation of Implementation, Support, License and Maintenance costs. Compare it with the existing cost incurred to reach the similar business goal.
How to get started
Vision of building a Conversational Enterprise is the best thing that any Enterprise can bet on. We all agree that technology is changing with speed like never before. Business owners are ever too eager to imbibe the latest technology but do not know where to start, especially so when it comes to Conversational AI.
It is always suggested to implement Conversational AI with a single-use case. Be it an internal process like ITSM, HR or customer-facing like Support, Sales, etc., below can be the typical steps -
- Identify the use case you would like to automate intelligently
- Document all the possible tasks performed in that particular use case
- Build the bot implementing the tasks and train the bot with the relevant utterances
- Perform rigorous testing with a variety of utterances to ensure the bot identifies the right intent for any given utterance.
Once you get hands-on experience with the bot development, maintenance and building engagement, you can then implement it across the different functions and departments.
Many companies are hesitant to adopt Conversational AI assuming it is very challenging to implement, requiring external developers/engineers to make use of technology to build and maintain chatbots efficiently. But that’s not true. With the advent of enterprise bot-building platform like Kore.ai, it is very easy to build a bot. It is a UI-based platform and even engineers with basic coding skills can build a bot, integrate it into various enterprise applications, and publish it on desired channels. LowCode(or)NoCode #loconoco is a reality with the Kore.ai Bots Platform.
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Be Willing for a Change
Management of larger enterprises especially of size 10,000+ employees fear that, when implemented internally, it will be a challenge to get optimal number of employees to use chatbots. Even in case of customers, it is a concern if they are willing to interact through chatbots leaving aside other alternative channels. In reality, Chatbots are nothing but a sophisticated form of communication that’s heavily powered by technology. Chatbots are very intuitive and when implemented effectively, they have the power to engage the user better than any other medium. Successful enterprises are already reaping the benefits of Conversational AI
Knowing Target Audience and Channels
Sometimes businesses fail to understand their audience and the channels they want to use as a medium of propagation of their products or services. Understanding audience personas prevents businesses from moving forward with Conversational AI. Conversational AI-powered chatbots can be used on websites, social media pages or any other messaging channels keeping one thing in mind that chatbot conversations vary from one platform to the other. For instance, website visitors may know more about your products than someone who visits your social media for the first time.
Understanding the Business Use Case
Businesses should identify use cases that will fit Conversational AI. For example, think about your own customers or employees where conversational AI merits more investment. Here are a few Conversational AI use cases that can meet the following user needs:
- Reducing friction - Use conversational AI to simplify complex workflows by turning them into a natural chat.
- Convenience - Embrace voice to reach your users when they need to be hands-free, or engage them in a messaging app they already use.
- Decision support - Adopt conversational AI to walk users through a decision or task that might feel overwhelming.
- Trust - Leverage conversational AI to develop a relationship with your users over time.
Once you’ve selected one or a couple of use cases to get started with, you’ll need to put together a team and select tools. But nowadays, due to the maturity of existing communication and NLP platforms, you can usually leverage your existing engineering team. Assign marketing to take a key role as well, ensuring the persona and content of your application are aligned with your brand.
A few other temporary difficulties implementing Conversational AI-powered chatbots:
1. Bot Building Limitations
Most bot-building platforms are complex to use and some even only build pre-defined flow-based bots. Think about a business that needs customer service bot where it has to answer based on user queries?
2. Driving Conversations
There are chatbots that set up quick responses and not allow users to ask queries. This is a huge setback because there can be ‘N’ number of flows. You may have created a flow e.g for the queries related to pricing. But what if a user wants to know more about your product other than an endless list of products? On the contrary, a good salesperson will ask the right questions to understand your preferences.
Building Conversational AI bots without proper planning and use cases will cost you a bomb. On top, you’ll need additional resources to maintain the performance.
Enterprises use a variety of applications to interact with customers & employees. The efficient bots should integrate with any enterprise application just like Kore.ai bots will integrate with 150+ enterprise applications.
5. Language Support
It is very difficult to find a platform that can build chatbots in the language you prefer. Kore.ai platform supports more than 15 languages.
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Naturally, businesses are wary of investing in a technology that they are unsure of in terms of its ability to deliver the results for them. But bots do streamline business processes and optimize time and resources so CEOs and CIOs can focus on their core business. Ultimately, it boils down to strike the right balance on strategizing, planning and budgeting for your conversational AI initiatives.
If you are stuck with some of the above-mentioned questions or want to know the best practices of implementing Conversational chatbots at your enterprise, we’ve got you covered: Checkout the LIVE Conversation with Mini Suri, CCSO at Kore.ai. She carries 20+ years of experience in helping large enterprises including Citi Group, & Uber to successfully implement AI Technology and grow as Conversational Enterprise.