01 / Introduction
The era of conversational artificial intelligence is rapidly changing the business of both traditional websites and mobile applications.
What are, then, the benefits of “conversational AI” that new business systems can offer?
Well, to begin with: it seems that voice and dialogue interfaces are finally ripe to compete against traditional ones. Now, of course, change as such is no big news for tech industry. We might have provided you with a long list of examples, but instead decided to draw your attention to some most potent ones: mobile applications have already shifted the focus of users from computers and laptops to smartphones, just as, before their era started, keyboard input only benefited after the mouse appeared, — and just as nowadays voice input and the widespread availability of fast access to the Internet seamlessly complement existing interfaces. Finally, something that there is no need to recall: smartphones and tablets have relatively recently reshaped the market by flooding it with easy-to-navigate applications, controlled only by the movement of a finger, which makes intuitive interfaces familiar and routine.
Motion control and even augmented and virtual reality through VR glasses didn’t take long to follow, with all of this bringing technology in line with our human instincts. And what can be more human than conversation?
Interactive AIs (which are often mistakenly called “artificial intelligence”) combine natural language processing, AI, and machine learning to understand and respond to text or speech in any form — in a fun and individualized manner.
Lately, with enhanced access to cloud computing and sophisticated algorithms, more and more companies have found themselves able to implement AI solutions.
The further development of this paradigm will make it possible to turn acquiring technologic experience into a conversation, not a struggle with the user interface. There are already many chatbots on the market, as well as many other ways to automate customer interactions. No one seeks to replace people with technology — it is important to increase the value of customer experience with the help of technological solutions being as close as possible to the most exact and accurate reproduction of human attitude and approach. And it is precisely in order to achieve this that such systems use natural conversation, provide intelligent answers that are capable of promoting conversation, and can even demonstrate empathy to build proper customer relations.
From this vantage, empathy and ownership in business are seen in the context of communication with customers, which essentially means understanding the importance of each and every transaction for the consumer.
02 / Interactive AI systems in business
In a business environment, it looks like conversational AI will be able to expand the functionality of mobile applications and websites, and then, in a best-case scenario, will allow to replace them completely!
Conversational AI is going to be everywhere — in our homes, in cars, call centers, banks and hospitals. According to one estimate, the global market for conversational AI is expected to grow from $ 4.2 billion in 2019 to $ 15.7 billion by 2024 (with a combined annual growth of 30.2 percent).
So far, there have been two technological trends that have made this growth possible:
1. The spread of messaging platforms (WeChat in China, Facebook Messenger in the USA), which create many opportunities for businesses to interact with people using well-developed chat bots of proper design. Messaging platforms are becoming so popular in our lives that the four largest of them can boast more active users than the four largest social networking platforms (4.1 billion versus 3.4 billion).
2. The distribution of scripts and add-ons for voice assistants such as Google Home and Amazon Alexa, gives companies an opportunity to develop their own plugins, attracting other users to their platforms. The same is true for advanced chatbot systems that allow you to use bots when messaging as a “point of interaction”, while using even more cutting-edge technology platforms for business.
The concept of interactive AI has been around for more than a decade now, but ways of usage and applications continue to become more sophisticated and are gaining popularity in many areas. There are three fundamental reasons why your business or startup may soon need to integrate conversational (interactive) AI into it.
Here is how you could use it:
1) By integrating the existing user experience. More than 26 billion IoT (Intelligent Internet of Things) devices are operating worldwide. Voice assistants have in fact become a new interface for the interaction between applications and devices, eliminating the need to have direct access to any separate branded application.
Many of us already use smart home assistants to play music, listen to weather forecasts, or control a smart home, but this may be just the beginning. Yes, chatbots help you to order pizza, find out the exchange rate or book a plane ticket. But this experience could become way more comprehensive.
For example, Pillo, a provider of home-based medical technology, uses voice assistants to manage patient’s health. Employing a voice interface, Pillo is equipped with embedded machine learning module, face recognition, and video conferencing technologies to provide services that comply with the Health Insurance Mobility and Liability Act (HIPAA).
Another example, the Realty Street Leads startup that, using BRAIN platform, has been rethinking the usual experience of real estate services, combining geolocation and chatbots in order for experienced realtors to be able to quickly consult clients.
These services can be combined with smartphones and wearable devices to transfer the usual business services into the field of interactive interfaces.
2) By optimizing repetitive actions within an individualizing approach. This could be used in conversational commerce, from ecommerce sites to points of delivery of goods and to call centers and reference services, where people usually use various systems to solve a large number of repetitive tasks.
In addition to obvious benefits of technical support and answers to frequently asked questions by users, chatbots can act as virtual consultants for micro-sales of simple goods, such as consumables or souvenirs. This can be a familiar type of commerce, as well as it can be a dropshipping business working based on the “messenger — shop” pattern.
BRAIN customers use a dialogue system for a regional car dealership, which allows to automate the process of consulting consumers on possible options and services, along with answers to common questions and the process of selecting a car in a dialogue mode.
It should be mentioned that, while Amazon’s robotic process automation (RPA) and one-touch order buttons, do not always provide the best possible experience for working with clients or employees, individually configured conversational systems are able to fill this niche.
As younger generations seek access to information through chatbots, polls tell us — and this sounds quite logical — that 70 percent of millennials report positive experiences using them.
3) By introducing innovation through conversation. Dialogue systems are inherently an unstructured way of communicating. This means that each session provides an opportunity to collect more information to improve algorithms and create appropriate solutions for products that meet the user’s goals in a better way.
In addition, interactive systems are constantly self-learning in order to solve new business problems. To give you just one instance of this, the automotive industry plans to use voice biometrics to provide access to personal information such as navigation history and recent phone calls.
A CRM system that includes data on conversations and preferences of its user can be used in various business processes, ranging from segmentation of the user database to the subsequent targeting. BRAIN clients used a dialogue system to manage the recruitment process, including semi-automatic selection of candidates for the vacancy, polling them and maintaining a database of potential candidates for all the further steps in the direction of solving of personnel issues.
Another example is the Admilio startup, which uses BRAIN technology to provide discount coupons for users through chatbots, providing personalized offers based on the experience of previous orders.
03 / BRAIN Platform Clients’ Tips
The possibilities for conversational AI for business tasks are amazing, but remember that this is not a panacea. Providing BRAIN platform in order to help our clients to get their startups off the ground, we also provide our customers with the following tips:
Align the goal with the need. The amount of data that you are available to collect about your customers, although expanding every day, is still finite. Consider starting with clearly defined goals for your conversational systems and avoiding universal solutions. In fact, many of these systems tend to demonstrate their best performance under quite strict instructions. You should not expect the chatbot of the online store support service or the chatbot from the lead generation system is going to be the right choice for giving you several pieces of advice on stocks portfolio. Instead, focus on the company’s previous experience, which will allow you to create an individual interactive AI system matching your business.
Chatbots are not a panacea. By their nature, AI decisions are “smart” in the narrow sense. That is, they are very good at solving specific problems, but still cannot cope with many of signature human traits, such as, for instance, empathy and critical thinking. By becoming more consumer needs-oriented, conversational AI is now able to solve repetitive tasks in a more human-centered way. However, one still must not expect the impossible to happen for human understanding and intuition cannot be reproduced.
Hence, do not make the chatbot pretend to be a human being! It’s hard to discuss AI without thinking about the ethical implications. The imitation of human conversation in modern chat bots is only improving, which means the problem is only intensifying. Both the sellers and the clients will only benefit if the fact that the buyers interact with a dialogue system is not going to be concealed. The best solution, then, if the chatbot does not cope, is still a seamless switching of the dialogue over to a human operator that joins in it instead of a chatbot.
Turn a “monologue” into a “dialogue”. While chatting, people typically expect a certain level of mutual interest in the conversation and, consequently, that the conversation will take place in such a way that there will be answers that feed the subsequent questions, as well as answers that inform and promote the conversation. While the technical support agent understands and adequately responds to the fact that people communicate differently when they write, the capabilities of the chatbot are limited by triggers, such as dialect, informal or formal language, slang, idioms, and other examples by which the system understands the meaning of words and the emotional tone of the conversation. The only way for a smart chatbot to achieve results is to listen and analyze the answers. The interactive AI will be able to listen to the questions and concerns of your client, classify and analyze their needs and intentions, and also save information to improve any further transactions with this particular client.
Build trust with your clients. Build a reliable relationship. By communicating with customers in the environment they are familiar with, your company allows them to feel that they are heard, supported, and appreciated. Such clients will, in turn, appreciate the flexibility of the system and its ability to help them to achieve the desired result, whether it is a conversation with a chat bot or a virtual agent who joined in the conversation right in time.
We are constantly improving interactive applications for our customers, we are working on the perfection of their use cases and paradigms, which ultimately will lead to increased productivity for enterprises and a more personalized and accessible experience for end customers.