With the Gartner IT Prediction that “By 2021, more than 50% of enterprises will be spending more per annum on bots and chatbot creations than traditional mobile app developments”, there is little doubt that conversational AI or “Chatbots” are the next new wave of digital transformation technology.
However, history has shown us that no matter how good a new technology is, it will inevitably suffer low usage and adoption rates or even fail if the human learning curve to adopt the technology is too great.
To date, new technology has traditionally required people to learn new website, app, or device- specific menus, often just to complete tasks we previously knew how to perform. All these advancements in technology even touch screens, have required humans to interface on the “machines” terms.
Conversational AI is the first significant human-centric advancement that focuses on machines interacting on human terms to essentially “speak human”. This is achieved using speech and text enabled interfaces where customers can converse using their own words, phrases and terminology, and expect an intelligent response or action.
Why Conversational AI Matters for Businesses Today
Using language to interact with machines has opened a whole new world of possibilities.
Prior to the advent of conversational experiences, the age-old battle of feature set vs. intuitive usability has been strongly debated. Think of using a camera or camera app for example. The vast majority of people use “auto mode” because it is too cumbersome to learn all the camera settings and make quick changes. But think, if in just a few seconds you could say “camera, focus on the birthday boy, take a 20 shot burst and blur the background”, everyone could take photos like a pro.
The same principle applies when customers are interacting with your brand. Conversational AI helps eliminate the challenges that customers have interacting with businesses over digital channels.
Through the use of omnichannel conversational AI, an unlimited number of customers can interact over any channel, 24/7 - 365 days a year. They are not required to learn new menus, filter through search results, or wait for agents who are handling multiple conversations at once. Regardless of how the customer phrases their question, they receive a consistent and accurate response that reflects the tone of your brand.
From answering a simple billing inquiry or booking a reservation, to delivering advice on complex topics, an intelligent conversational interface empowers customers with the ability to simply ask for exactly what they want.
With hundreds of millions of people in North America using SMS, Facebook Messenger, Kik, and Whats App to communicate with their friends and family, it's only natural for them to want to interface with their product and service providers on these same channels.
Working to support the adoption of these messaging platforms, the world's leading tech companies like Google, Microsoft, and Amazon have been developing natural language processing (NLP) and other core conversational technologies to enable cost-effective development of highly functional conversation experiences.
It’s this culmination of market adoption and readiness in concert with the maturation of the core conversational technologies required to build conversational experience that is fueling the massive growth and opportunity.
With Juniper Research citing that “By 2022, chatbots will be responsible for cost savings of over $8 billion annually, up from $20 million in 2017” its time businesses take notice of this opportunity to gain a competitive advantage.
One of the most appealing aspects of Conversational AI (chatbots) for business is that you can start small supporting a few workflows within a single department of your business. Then by capitalizing on a chatbots inherent ability to continually learn new workflows, you can expand your conversational experience across departments and add on new communication channels to reach more customers.
Industry leading businesses are using Conversational AI to gain a competitive advantage right now, but in the near future, if your business isn’t using Conversational AI, you will no longer be competitive.
We'd love to hear your thoughts on Conversational AI, specifically how you are embedding it into your organization today. Drop us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below.