Customer experience has emerged as the most important differentiator for any business. More than pricing strategy or product features, it’s the personalized support and guidance companies give their customers that determines their likelihood of success. In fact, studies show that 86% of customers will actually pay more for a guaranteed good experience.
Conversational AI is emerging as a crucial tool among companies looking to enhance and optimize the customer experience for their clients. Not only does the right technology provide a crucial insight into the voice of the customer through natural language processing and understanding, but it paves the way for new customer service opportunities.
With the right Conversational AI tools, businesses can develop engaging, efficient self-service strategies for consumers, pave the way to proactive service, and even empower agents to accomplish more. The question is, how do companies choose the right technology?
Here’s a simple guide to comparing conversational AI tech in 2023 and beyond.
Step 1: Evaluate the Conversational AI Landscape
The first step in choosing the right conversational AI technology is exploring the different kinds of technologies and tools available to modern CX leaders. In recent years, conversational AI has evolved drastically, with new discoveries in natural language processing and understanding algorithms, enhanced machine learning tools, and numerous opportunities for creating bots.
Today’s business leaders have a range of options to choose from, starting with intelligent chatbots which leverage conversational AI to support customers during the self-service journey, to voice-enabled solutions for personalized IVR experiences. There’s even the option to create virtual assistants specially designed to support employees in real-time, with next-best-action guidance, feedback, and coaching.
The generative AI landscape, and large language models is also having an increasing impact on the conversational AI space, allowing companies to create more intuitive bots and systems capable of delivering creative, human-like responses to queries. Conversational solutions built with generative AI could assist business leaders in building more powerful self-service solutions, as well as fantastic tools for proactive customer support.
Step 2: Set Goals for Conversational AI
After evaluating the current marketplace and the technologies available, business leaders need to determine what they want to accomplish with their conversational AI investment. While the primary focus of most companies is on improving customer experiences, increasing retention levels, and reducing churn, conversational AI tools can deliver a host of other benefits.
Some tools provide access to valuable automation solutions and analytical tools, which assist companies in securely collecting valuable data about the customer journey. These solutions, combined with customer journey orchestration tools, can assist businesses in enhancing every touchpoint with customers, and making more intelligent business decisions.
Conversational AI solutions can also provide deeper insights into the customer experience, offering information on the voice of the customer, sentiment, and consumer intent. In certain instances, they can even be used to enhance employee experiences, improving staff retention, and assisting teams in becoming more productive and efficient. Defining the core goals of a conversational AI strategy will allow team leaders to monitor the ROI more effectively from their investment.
Step 3: Define a Deployment Model
The next stage is determining how the company will deploy conversational AI into its CX workflow. There are numerous options available to business leaders today. Some organizations choose to develop their own bots and conversational tools from scratch, using SDKs and code frameworks. Others prefer to leverage the benefits of low-code and no-code tools offered by CX market leaders, to simplify the process of developing a conversational AI strategy.
Increasingly, powerful conversational AI tools are also appearing as an embedded part of many of the technologies business leaders already use for customer service and experience. CRM leaders are implementing these tools, alongside generative AI into their frameworks. CCaaS solutions frequently come with access to IVR systems, customizable workflows and self-service tools featuring conversational AI technology.
When choosing a deployment model, it’s important to ensure the conversational tools leveraged can access the right data from all environments. The best AI solutions are built with access to huge volumes of data, from across the business ecosystem. A flexible tool which can integrate with all of the resources business leaders already use will be essential to most business strategies.
Step 4: Examine Opportunities to Increase Value
While conversational AI can deliver exceptional benefits for companies, it’s crucial for many of today’s businesses to quickly assess ways of increasing the value of CX investments. In an uncertain economy, leaders will need to rapidly see the impact of the tools they’re embedding into their ecosystem. Fortunately, many vendors offering conversational AI tools provide plenty of support here.
The right vendor will provide extensive access to documentation and guidance, assisting developers and non-tech experts with the process of implementing conversational AI into everyday workflows. Some leaders even offer training to those who need help learning how to use algorithms, train machine learning models, and take advantage of LLMs.
The best vendors can offer step-by-step guidance on how to use conversational AI for both reactive and proactive customer service, and how to analyze the results of a campaign. Additionally, many of the best vendors will be defined by their commitment to consistent research and development. Business leaders investing in this space should prioritize vendors with an insight into the evolving world of AI, and how algorithms are changing.
Step 5: Analyze the Outcome of Conversational AI Investments
Finally, many vendors will give business leaders the opportunity to experiment with toolkits, use sandbox solutions to customize their AI tools, and examine potential outcomes for the technology. As business leaders invest in these new tools, it will be crucial to constantly monitor the outcomes of their investments, and define opportunities for growth.
Most leading conversational AI solutions built into tools like CRM software and contact center platforms will align with analytical and reporting tools which can offer useful insights to business leaders. Companies will need to set core metrics to measure throughout their initiative, so they can monitor exactly how their tools are influencing customer retention and employee productivity.
Advanced conversational AI solutions should make it easy to collect and unify data across multiple channels, to further enhance the performance of the technology and showcase any potential gaps in a CX strategy. Using these resources, companies will be able to enhance their investment more effectively in transformational technology, while generating consistent ROI.