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GUEST COMMENT Alexa who? Reaping the rewards of conversational AI for business

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Conversation starter: Alexa and other AI are now in many homes
Conversation starter: Alexa and other AI are now in many homes
Maria Morais, Global Industry Principal, Consumer Industries, SAP Customer Experience
Maria Morais, Global Industry Principal, Consumer Industries, SAP Customer Experience

In today’s world, we’re communicating on a myriad of different platforms to stay in touch with each other, turning on our phones to access Facebook messenger or opening up our laptops to use Slack. For billions of people around the globe, it’s easy to stay connected.

 

And now, work is being put in so that computers can understand too. With the increasing shift to digital engagement, computers are able to understand natural language. And do consumers love it? Yes, yes they do.

 

Take Alexa for example, while not a computer, she understands languages and has taken households by storm, albeit with some privacy concerns, but mostly a success. If employers can now take that power to the workspace, they might like to know that there are countless benefits. From more efficient processes, to increased customer engagement and overall increased return on investment, conversational AI really brings the a-game.

What’s in it for you

Businesses globally are utilising conversational AI to unlock untapped value in their top and bottom lines. But what have they discovered that some businesses have yet to take advantage of? More importantly, where can it be found?

The most prominent benefit of conversational AI is that with a simple command, it can connect someone’s request to their desired objective. This drastically decreases the number of steps and duration in otherwise laborious, manual processes. Here are some usual demands that users may have and the benefit that conversational AI can bring:

  1. The amount of time saved is meaningful and provides a better user experience.

Consider yourself a maintenance worker who travels to different factories to fix machines. More often than not you’re confronted with using a 1000-page manual to ensure you don’t miss any loopholes. But what if you could just type in a question and get an instant answer?

 

  1. Conversational AI assistants can provide timely, accurate, and tailored experiences in many instances, especially customer service.

You have received a faulty product from a merchant and you proceed to call a customer helpline. Unfortunately, you get bounced from department to department only to receive an unsatisfactory answer. What if you were able to get an accurate answer in just a minute?

 

  1. Ease of scale and adaption with low costs/automatic responses.

Businesses want to grow and they need to be able to do so with a service that can grow with them. Conversational AI services are available 24/7 in many different languages and have the capacity to handle the increasing number of calls that come with a growing successful business.

 

  1. Meet your customers on their terms and make it easier for them to engage with you.

It’s the Premier League final and you are a restaurant owner. What if you were able to message special game day promotions to each of your customers? With conversational AI you can tantalise the taste buds of your customers instantaneously; you’ll be getting orders placed in no time at all.

 

  1. Minimise navigational and execution difficulty for your user.

You’ve just installed a new IT system, and while it functions quite well, it requires lots of manoeuvring. Conversational AI enables the end-user to place requests to the system and obtain responses, transferring the onus of execution from human to machine. This benefit can be applied to systems of all sizes, raising the prospect of revitalising outdated processes.

 

  1. Make your customers and employees happy: This might be the most important factor and strength of conversational AI. As a technology that’s purely human-centred, the main focus is to allow the user to benefit from the usage of natural language to reduce frustration, time spent and complexity.

 

Boosting your ROI through conversational AI

A challenge for anyone implementing a new tool is ensuring it’s done to the correct standard to get maximum value.

There are four steps to consider when taking on conversational AI

  1. Implementation: Setting up. You may require an extra set of hands to implement the system. When assessing any external teams that you bring in, it’s important to look for the following traits; technical competence, familiarity with your systems, and, since CAI is a human-centred AI capability, design, and data science skills to build the right application for your business.
  2. License: Spending on the service. Paying for a conversational AI service is usually done on a monthly basis, either by subscription or pay-as-you-go. Like any service, you should understand what it is that you’re paying for.Is it an end-to-end service? How flexible is it? Are they charging you for “hello” and “goodbye”?
  3. Support: Smoothing out any problems you may encounter with your service. When owning a business, you need continuous monitoring and support. Just like a car, enterprise-grade service level agreements and support/operations are critical to making sure your application remains healthy and functional. Your service should come with support from the outset – without exceptions.
  4. Performance: Ensuring maximum value from your conversational AI service. Just by ensuring your application is working and performing, you’ll begin to see the benefits. With a robust, accurate, and quality system you get performance that wins over your end-users.By optimising each of these areas, you will realise your ROI in an efficient manner.

 

Conversational AI can truly transform the way a business operates, across different industries and functions – no organisation is exempt. As the machines handle the most tedious tasks, humans have the opportunity to spend time on work they enjoy and are able to focus on strategy and creativity. But ultimately, the most important benefit of conversational AI is the invaluable customer experience that is delivered to the end-user, through which a business will create life long fans.

 

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