Customers today engage with companies on multiple channels – calls, text, email, chat, and social media – and expect quick responses and fast resolution. In this omni-channel environment, enterprises have turned to chatbots to listen to customers’ voices and connect, but these solutions will quickly fall short if not proactively managed and upgraded.
Conversational AI bots are one evolved way to address customers’ needs quickly and with empathy. More contextual and personalized than simple chatbots, Conversational AI bots are trained to dynamically make decisions and help businesses engage with customers 24/7 using real-time tone and sentiment analytics. This is particularly important in the ever-changing world of contact centers. So how can enterprises begin to leverage this technology to improve their efficiency, productivity, and sales? It begins with a hyper-personalized customer experience.
What is Conversational AI?
Conversational AI is a set of AI-based technologies that enable systems to simulate human-like conversations. While the technology is similar to chatbots, which have been around for years, Conversational AI extends chatbot capabilities by including all technology beneath the bot umbrella, like voice bots and voice + text assistants, whereas chatbots have “text-only” functionality. This makes the technology truly conversational, thus providing a more-natural and customized user experience while collecting detailed information that enables the contact center to gain actionable insights.
Conversational AI-based virtual agents understand the customer’s speech using natural language processing (NLP) to parse and interpret indirect phrases, incomplete sentences, and even context. These virtual agents also use pattern recognition and contextual analysis to make more intuitive perceptions and judgments for a better understanding of human speech. And, although it can handle repeated queries like member authorizations and product details, Conversational AI agents can transfer calls to human agents for more-complicated inquiries, transmitting real-time analytics (including tone) that allow the human agent to respond appropriately with the best-suited product, offer, or solution.
Take it to the Next Level with Cognitive Search and Predictive ML
By layering-in cognitive search, structured and unstructured data can be pulled from various enterprise data sources, helping the chatbots provide faster and smarter responses and elevating the entire customer-service experience. Think of it as an advanced version of enterprise search powered by AI that brings together numerous data sources while providing automated indexing and personalization.
The cognitive search solutions currently available use AI capabilities such as natural language understanding (NLU) and ML to ingest, understand, and query digital content from multiple sources. They also use ML to understand and organize data, predict users’ search queries, continuously learn, and improve answers based on user feedback.
Conversational AI powered by cognitive search makes it possible to derive insights from a consistently growing collection of data that can be used across the company. This gives it the potential to greatly improve how an organization's employees discover and access relevant information. For example, agents can enter a query in natural language, and Conversational AI will understand the context and invoke cognitive search to find more insights. To improve the AI engine, these insights can be presented to the agent, who can visualize the selective options, and give feedback on the retrieved information, which in turn improves adaptive learning.
One such Conversational AI-based cognitive-search solution was implemented for a healthcare client’s contact center. The solution provided sales agents with access to widespread digital content including enrollment options, medical supplement details, etc., allowing quicker, more-efficient responses and resolutions. As a result, the company saw reduced average call handling, faster information access, improved sales opportunities, and dramatically improved users’ call-center experience.
Yet to drive business outcomes, companies need customer insights to become more personalized and predictive in nature. Using these insights, businesses can proactively pitch the products that align with each customer’s needs. For example, McKinsey reports that as much as 35% of Amazon’s revenue is generated by its recommendation engine. Combining predictive ML models and cognitive search with Conversational AI can deliver precisely the type of hyper-personalized customer experience necessary to capture these opportunities.
Intelligent product recommendations provide natural and logical upselling and cross-selling opportunities that resonate with the customer. The product-recommendation tool automatically identifies the customer’s interest through historical data and provides the right suggestions. Customers with no purchase intention suddenly find themselves interested in doing so – and small purchases can pave the way to larger ones. Data-driven predictions make customer interactions more meaningful, while helping Conversational AI deliver hyper-personalized, intuitive experiences to customers that also improve the quality and efficiency of operations.
The Importance of training the Machine Learning Model
Ensuring a contact center’s ability to leverage this powerful combination requires a seamless, intelligent system built for the enterprise’s specific needs. This, in turn, requires training the models to perform appropriately. The detailed steps to train the model include:
Five Key Benefits of Conversational AI
Conversational AI powered by cognitive search and predictive ML delivers more personalized, intuitive customer experiences while improving the quality of business operations and workflows. In practical terms, this combination of technologies brings five key benefits:
Conversational AI infused with cognitive search and predictive ML will enable a more-personalized virtual assistant that can address every user request. Multiple chatbots will converge to a single, more efficient, and decisive virtual agent, paving the way for a more-interactive user experience. The ability to identify a user’s mood with voice modulation, body language, and emotional signals makes it possible for evolved chatbots to handle complex questions and carry out multifaceted conversations. Additionally, using big data analytics, companies will be able to predict customer churn and provide recommendations from user data available on multiple data sources including social media. In short, by revolutionizing their contact-center automation, companies can drive efficiency and revenue by moving beyond the scope of simple chatbots.
Principal Consultant & Practice Manager, Wipro AI Solutions
Sumalatha is a technologist and innovator. She architects and delivers AI solutions for various customers from a variety of domains and identifies opportunities to deliver significant business benefits by applying cutting edge techniques in machine learning. She is also focused on building Conversational AI solutions on the Wipro Holmes platform. Sumalatha holds a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Engineering from N. S. S College of Engineering. Her hobbies are playing badminton and reading books.