Use The Following Best Practices as a Guide to Build Your Conversational AI Roadmap
While some of the best practices we’re discussing in this article might seem obvious, the first step in developing your brand’s conversational AI roadmap is to set clear goals for your automation efforts.
Common goals are;
- increasing engagement,
- driving more sales,
- lowering costs or,
- delivering a best-in-class customer experience, any combination of which can complement each other.
From there, you’ll need to prioritize what type of your most common customer support contacts or transactions deliver the most ROI if their resolution can be automated.
Your initial focus should be on high volume, high savings type of support contacts, which will vary depending on your business, but could include return inquiries, reporting a missing item from an order, issues applying a promo code, etc.
Next, you’ll want to prioritize high volume, low transaction savings inquiries, which deliver value at scale and, then, potentially high transaction savings, low volume inquiries depending on your vertical.
What you’ll leave off your list are low volume, low savings inquiries, which won’t add value to your roadmap.
Now that you’ve identified the customer support inquiries ripe for automation across the order life-cycle, you can dig into factors to consider as you’re planning your roadmap.
Let’s look at some of the best practices.
Focus on Resolving vs. Redirecting
One of the areas in which your roadmap can have the biggest impact is in understanding the difference between inquiry redirection and resolution and focusing CX automation efforts on the latter.
Chat is not a glorified FAQ or knowledge base and generic answers to specific, personalized queries won’t cut it. Not only is redirection frustrating for the customer, it also sends them down a rabbit hole where you can’t track data on what they’re actually doing.
Your conversations shouldn’t tell customers where to go for more info or how to resolve the inquiry on their own, instead your AI needs to actually resolve that inquiry in real time in the context of the chat itself.
Opt for Prebuilt vs. Custom
Today’s conversational AI technology can produce consumer-driven conversations instead of offering a fixed, robotic dialogue flow.
Context is also not just understood, but it can be inferred and memory can be maintained over entire interactions, or even between interactions. You don’t need to anticipate every permutation of your customers’ interactions anymore; next-gen automation can do that for you.
There’s no need to put internal resources toward developing custom-built dialogue flows that are slow to scale and depend on your organization being able to scope any and all possible customer inquiries.
Prebuilt, packaged, configurable, extensible digital workers will get your customer experience further much faster, allowing you to meet customers on their channel of choice and deliver real-time resolution in key service moments.
Expect to Scale Quickly
For your conversational AI roadmap to have measurable impact, you need to think beyond a minimum viable product (MVP) approach. You have to give your customers enough content and context that you pique their interest and serve their needs in actually conversing with you.
Next-gen automation allows for rapid implementation, helping you to scale the maturity curve quickly. In a year, working with the right partner, you could move from basic order support (order tracking and returns/exchanges) to advanced service digital workers offering custom services.
Don’t Forget About People
Think about people–no automation is complete without them! The question isn’t how to reduce headcount with bots, but how you help your people deliver best-in-class customer experience and pair that with automation that does the same.
You’ll want to think about where your customers should be able to converse with you–which channels and touch-points are most important to your brand and your buyers?
You’ll need to know when and how to hand off to a person.
Finally, you need to understand what platforms or groups should take on the live conversation. Is it service reps or social community managers, sales reps, advisors, stylists, designers, consultants, etc?
The good news is CX automation systems today can escalate conversations to any or multiple of these groups based on the intent of the customer.
Get Your Analytics Aligned
One of the most important things to remember about your conversational AI roadmap is that it’s a long-term commitment.
Until you actually engage your users in automated conversations, you don’t know what they want to talk about, so you’ll need analytics to support listening to your customers and reacting to their shifting needs.
The conversational AI platforms available today allow you to simplify this.
They handle intent, not just utterances that you need to manually convert to an intent. Because these systems know hundreds of intents, they can automatically do that for you.
You can also drill down to subcategories, adjust dates, view trends and look at sentiment. Analytics are a powerful, necessary way to understand how customers feel about the conversation they’re having with your brand.
Time is Money, Get started Fast!
Don’t wait for the stars to align to start building your conversational AI roadmap.
Borrow technology vs. building your own and don’t delay implementation until all of the systems containing customer data are connected.
Today’s CX automation systems can ingest data and integrate at specific points and bring the experience together at the customer experience automation level as opposed to the back-end.
Ultimately, the sooner you develop and implement your roadmap, the sooner you’ll start reaping the benefits, including an almost immediate increase in customer satisfaction as you give your customers the opportunity to engage and get resolution in real time.