Customer interactions form the foundation for customer happiness – and that’s true for any business in any industry. Conversational artificial intelligence (AI) is leading the way to provide delightful customer experiences and gather data on what brings customers real value and how customers are interacting with the business.
Deepak Rupakula, Vice President of Growth & Alliances for Uniphore; Saurabh Rai, Global Head of Analytics for Tech Mahindra Business Process Services; and Abhiroop Sarkar, Principal Consultant and Interaction Analytics Practice Lead for Tech Mahindra met recently to talk about just how exciting and innovative conversational AI could be in business applications. In this fireside chat, “Leveraging Conversational AI to Enrich Customer Experience,” they explored the business impacts of conversational AI.
Conversational AI Has Evolved Dramatically Over the Past Decade
According to Saurabh, humans have always desired to understand and interpret speech patterns. We explored what animals were saying before computers ever existed, so the advent of AI provided a rich incentive to push language boundaries.
Today, computer storage and processing are far more accessible, allowing nearly anyone to delve into what conversational AI can do. In the early days, the technology was there but too cumbersome for practical use.
Thanks to intelligent automation, speech has become a key data point in all decision-making within customer experience. It’s a highly effective tool for businesses. “Speech is one of the building blocks of understanding the total customer experience,” says Deepak. “How do we integrate the data from different avenues like social or even metaverse with data from speech to inform customer 360?”
For example, two minutes on a call with a customer service agent can reveal a rich data source that can feed future decisions based on other customer data. This enables businesses to iterate better and make decisions in real-time. And because humans have become more comfortable talking through various devices, speech has become a significant source for providing customer value. AI offers insight into customer sentiment and intent, making it easier to respond to complex customer queries.
Conversational AI Improves Experiences Before, During, and After Customer Interactions
Deepak notes that conversational AI doesn’t just improve customer experiences during the interaction. It also provides the foundation for better experiences before a call even happens and offers context and data for improving operations moving forward.
For example, in roadside assistance, a customer may call in and then receive a text message for accurate location coordinates. From there, the agent can send help to their location.
Speech and digital modes of interaction provide a greater sense of self-service. The more complex the ask, the greater the human interaction while the machine steps back. While the agent and customer interact, AI works behind the scenes to:
Thanks to scale for machine learning, this type of AI support has many applications across different industries. IT reduces learning curves and labor for customer service agents while ensuring customers have the best experience possible.
How Will Conversational AI Evolve and Who Benefits?
Everyone on the panel agrees that conversational AI can provide a total experience beyond speech. People want to converse through emails, chat, emoticons, or even gaming experiences. Conversational AI brings all these into a single pipeline and adapts based on the user’s mood. This capability ensures that customers, organizations, and employees all have a stake in full adoption and expansion of the tech.
However, customers are at the center of all conversational AI benefits and are the bedrock for how companies can think of ROI. Both Uniphore and Tech Mahindra are confident that once a company sees conversational AI within its context—how it augments what the company is already doing—they’ll be believers.
Conversational AI Providers Must Understand Privacy
“Data is the new oxygen,” says Saurabh. Companies must jealously guard their customer data, but they must still provide context. This provides the foundation for the next iteration of these projects as companies manage these two competing goals. However, companies that will survive are the ones taking data privacy seriously. Even further, companies who intimately understand this balance will be the ones to deploy the most effective conversational AI products.
Conversational AI Is More Relevant Than Ever
Companies can provide rich experiences for their customers using conversational AI and can continue doing so in the next few years. Covid-19 was a catalyst for adopting technologies that automated manual tasks and improved efficiencies, and we’ll see continued adoption as businesses innovate and differentiate themselves from a noisy online world.
Feel free to connect with speakers on this panel through their LinkedIn profiles to ask questions or offer your own thoughts on the future of conversational AI and its impact on customer experience. Also, read more about how the Uniphore and Tech Mahindra partnership is revolutionizing customer service through conversational AI and connected experiences.