The Future of Customer Conversation

Conversations can have tremendous value in our personal lives, but it is also true for your business. The conversation is fundamentally human. It helps us understand others and build relationships most valuable to us.

It is also the foundation of successful businesses. Good conversation is not supplementary. It is the backbone of your business, and your growth depends on it.

So how can you create conversations combining people and technology that deliver real business value?

Rethinking the business of conversation

The consumer-focused market is forcing companies to enhance and work on how they communicate with people and deliver exceptional experiences.

Consumers always bring a purpose, need, or problem to the brand they want to solve. They always expect to receive the solutions as quickly and efficiently as possible.

How will you meet the customer’s unmet, frequently changing needs and help them to achieve their desired outcomes?

The quest for genuinely human-centered conversation

Some organizations are mistaking human-like conversation for human-centered communication. As a result, they have replaced human interaction in a limiting, narrow way, for example, instead of using AI to augment discussion in subtler, richer ways. That’s why they cannot fulfill today’s customers’ needs.

Organizations seem to understand the complexity of the conversation and the diverse mechanisms involved in even the most basic interactions. But, instead, they are hovering over the challenges that technologies can create.

A new lens for creating AI-powered conversations

The first and most crucial step is to differentiate between AI that mimics human conversation and AI that enhances and augments it. Identifying means understanding the characteristics of different types of AI.

How each can be utilized in communication, overcome human limitations, and meet customer needs head-on.

Working with technology has made our lives easier in many ways, so it is understandable to want to jump straight to a technology that offers a seemingly straightforward solution. But it would be wise to step back and think What are the needs put forward from a human perspective?

What does it offer that can enhances human communication and activity? What can be the ethical and societal implications of that technology?

View the potential through this three-part lens

How can the human-like qualities of AI enrich conversations?

Organizations should focus on how AI systems can help unlock more meaningful conversational experiences. After all, the conversation is fundamentally driven by what we hear, see, read and feel.

Enhancing these capabilities or senses to create more meaningful interactions allows us to unlock value and improve the user experience. AI systems are complex, but we can view them in simple terms.

For example, how machine vision can help us see, how natural language understanding can help us hear, and how machine learning can help us have more productive conversations.

When incorporating technology in the conversion service, it can be helpful to break down the various mechanisms humans employ when conversing.

For example, that mechanism might be visual, so the technology might augment the visual elements that can play a part in the conversation. It might be verbal, representing what people hear and how that is intertwined in conversation. Or it might be written and relate to what people read.

How can we make the most of AI in the service of conversation?

Machines are fundamentally very different from us. They can do things humans cannot. For maximum gain in effective conversation, we need to embrace the non-human capabilities of AI.

Availability Availability

The “always active” aspects of such systems have clear business benefits, particularly when it comes to customer service. This technology enables organizations to have conversations with customers outside regular working hours. With that capability, the business can flex to meet user needs and preferences.

Consistency and efficiency

Regarding speed, efficiency, and consistency in customer relations, there are some clear advantages to the machine-human conversation.

Well-trained AI should be able to respond to an infrequent, complex question just as quickly as a common, simple one. Furthermore, it shouldn’t need extensive onboarding when you launch a new product or service.

High levels of consistency and standardization are vital features. But there are disadvantages to this affordance, as humans are more adept at tailoring conversations.

What are the potential pitfalls to be aware of?

AI has opened many gates for the growth of businesses, but it also comes with challenges that organizations must navigate if they are deemed trustworthy. In addition, using some AI technologies can give rise to various ethical concerns that must be understood and addressed by the business.

Data and privacy

Data is fundamental to more personalized, effective conversations with customers. But organizations must balance reliance on data with the need for privacy. As a result, organizations are under more pressure than ever to demonstrate their trustworthiness and ability to manage privacy effectively.

Emotion and persuasion

Sophisticated AI technology provides unique affordances, such as picking up on emotion through facial recognition, voice tone, text, and other physiological metrics.

Understanding a customer’s context or mood is hugely beneficial in determining the right way to engage. At the other extreme, however, is the potential for manipulation.

For example, persuasive computing can change people’s attitudes or behaviors through persuasion and social influence, while practices like hyper-nudging leverage data to influence or ‘nudge’ people to certain decisions.

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