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Bots That Work by Design: How to Implement Conversational AI with Intention

Bots are a big buzzword in the lexicon of most organizations these days. Along with voice assistants and IVR, text-based bots have demonstrated the ability to increase sales conversions, enhance omnichannel customer support strategies, and improve customer service metrics all at the same time. The evidence is so strong that 70% of businesses report they plan on leveraging AI as a way to “drastically improve ‘their customers’ overall experience this year.”

The potential advantages of including conversational AI in your customer experience strategy are undeniable. From reducing call volume in the contact center, to improving the overall efficiency of your organization, bots can significantly reduce the burden on humans while enhancing both customer and employee experiences. Plus, these days it is often the preferred communication channel for many customers.

However, here’s the catch. In many cases, deploying a bot can be as easy as turning on a feature in an existing communications platform your organization already uses. But to make bots conversational—with an experience that actually works for your customers—that requires good strategy, design, execution, and evaluation.

Developing an effective conversational AI strategy can be challenging. And the stakes are high. As advances in technology continue to change the way customers interact with your brand, their expectations continue to rise. According to a recent report from PwC, 59% of customers will walk away after several bad experiences, even if they love the brand. The same study showed that an alarming 17% will leave the brand after just one bad experience.

Today, your customers don’t expect to just have access to a bot, they expect to have access to a bot that is designed to meet their needs. Failing to incorporate strong CX design and orchestration into your strategy can turn these tools into a huge source of frustration for anyone interacting with your brand. In fact, regarding conversational AI as just another “checked box” in your CX tech stack can result in disaster for your brand at a time when poor experiences are driving customers away in droves.

Understanding Chatbots and Conversational AI

Implementing bots the right way requires a clear understanding of your current channel ecosystem (and legacy systems), your data, and most importantly, each customer’s unique needs and preferences. It also means understanding some of the differences between traditional chatbots and those supported by conversational AI technology. In a nutshell, traditional bots are based on a set of rules. When a customer asks a question, the bot searches for the right rule, and responds with a scripted reply based on a set of known keywords. These are “dumb bots.”

Conversational AI combines natural language processing (NLP) with channel automation like chatbots, voice assistants, or an interactive voice recognition system to help customers through either a spoken or typed interface.
What is Conversational AI?

Conversational AI, on the other hand, uses text or voice to facilitate a conversation that is not limited to keywords or scripts. As the system “learns,” bots offer increasingly personalized sales and support interactions that can incorporate real-time data and predict the next best step in the customer journey. Those predictions and eventual decisions include when it’s time to connect with a real human on your team and how to escalate and de-escalate support to maximize agent efficiency.

How do your customers want to interact with conversational AI? Talk with an AI and bot expert.

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Using Conversational AI to Create Memorable Experiences

To be memorable, customer and employee experiences must be delivered effortlessly across every channel—from your website, to search, voice, mobile, within social media, via email and apps and of course, using chatbots. As demonstrated by the previous example, the best experiences boil down to three things:

  • Know me. Your organization must understand the business, and more importantly, how each customer and employee desires to interact with your brand at any given time, and in any given situation.
  • Help me. The best brand experiences resolve potential issues before they become problems, and that means getting the answer right the first time.
  • Value me. Customers need to feel that your company truly values their business, and that you want to keep doing better—from an initial interaction all the way through to customer support.

Building strong CX design and orchestration into your conversational AI strategy can help your brand achieve all three of the above goals, resulting in continuous, seamless omnichannel journeys that exceed expectations at every turn. When your customers feel that all three of these needs are being met, long lasting brand loyalty will naturally follow.

Why Choose Avtex for Your Conversational AI Strategy

At Avtex, our significant experience in technology agnostic CX design and orchestration prevents us from underestimating the needs of our clients’ legacy systems and data management practices. With nearly five decades of creating the right CX strategies for both major and growing brands, we understand the characteristics of the most desirable customer and employee experiences.

At Avtex, our proven approach to agile automation as a service incorporates four phases to help design and orchestrate a seamless, powerful omnichannel journey for your customers:

Phase #1: Align technology and the business

In this first phase, we often start with an automation assessment and visionary workshops to analyze your current contact volume, understand customer intent and channel usage, and decide on the automation targets your organization would like to prioritize.

Phase #2: Design bot future state

With the north star goals now established, this second phase focuses on designing visitor journeys and bot campaigns that align to your business goals. During the design process, we will work with you to decide on bot personification, what the conversation flow might look like, and establish what the bot-to-human handoff will look like.

Phase #3: Implement and operationalize your Conversational AI program

As the implementation begins, our orchestration experts handle all of the bot logic, data integrations, and intent recognition needed to operationalize your conversational AI program. This phase also includes plenty of experience testing to ensure the new strategy appropriately accounts for the way customers want to engage with your business.

Phase #4: Ongoing Support

It’s important to remember launching a bot is a milestone, not a destination. We will continue to work with your team in the weeks and months that follow your bot launch to ensure the automation investment is providing the expected benefits and to analyze and tune bot performance.

The right conversational AI design and technology gives your customers the memorable experiences they crave, ones that them coming back time and time again. With more than 150+ conversational AI deployments across more than 100 brands, the Avtex team has a unique depth and breadth of experience to make conversational AI serve your CX strategy to its greatest ability.

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