Using conversational applications to enrich customer experience

July 4, 2017

“By 2020, customers will manage 85% of their relationship with the enterprise without interacting with a human.” – Gartner.

In today’s fiercely competitive market, customers will place a premium on an organization’s ability to provide highly personalized and contextual service. The scenario presents a unique dilemma to enterprises: traditional customer service tools are inadequate to give deep customized experience, while automated tools can appear too machine-like.

While IVR type of solutions provide support on 24/7 basis, the rule-based mechanism allows for only limited range of interaction. Indeed, the preference to talk to a human is so strong among customers that there is no dearth of websites offering tips to bypass the IVR system and reach a human. Ultimately, the strain on customer service department is intact, even as the maze of IVR can steadily erode customer satisfaction.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered conversational applications offer a welcome shift in the paradigm. They learn and evolve with the user over time, continuously adapt by acquiring the wealth of user information and behavioral history. Their ability to seamlessly assemble the contextual and relevant information enables them to better grasp the customer behavior and empower predictive analytics-driven suggestions.

Conversational applications enable brand engagement at a human level, with factors like humor, emotion and empathy building deeper connection with the customer. Unconstrained by human limitations, it can make giant leaps to connect the dots in a matter of seconds to deliver human-like conversational experience. This unprecedented level of contextually-relevant conversation, continuously enhanced by constant acquisition and utility of user data, gives the customer a unique width and depth of highly personalized services:

Let us explore some use cases with respect of select industries, enabling us to get a preview of infinite possibilities that conversational applications throw open.

Banking: Imagine a scenario wherein a customer can effortlessly withdraw and transfer money by chatting with a conversational application. Or being preemptively reminded of monthly due payments by tracking your transactional history. Many activities that now require a customer to manually initiate a request can be delegated to the conversational application that keeps them queued up, and executes them in a time-bound fashion. The intelligence-driven, proactive suggestions can help customers keep the funds necessary to clear an upcoming commitment, thereby averting an avoidable embarrassment.

Travel: Based on customer preferences, the conversational app can offer lodging and boarding options, restaurants, nearby places of interest, even financial advice like required money (whether cash is needed) while going to a location. Based on one’s food preferences, the app can pinpoint suitable restaurants; going further, it can track one’s personal interests to suggest relevant venues around. In a land of strangers, the app will be a constant companion, always at the customer’s service. The sheer magnitude of emotional brand engagement this enables, makes this an inexorable vehicle for customer delight.

Retail & eCommerce: This is where conversational apps can drive immediate, perceptible transformation in customer experience. Customer are usually on a lookout for best prices, and the conversational app can constantly track the prices and send instant alerts. It can board your purchases on cart on your command, simultaneously suggesting alternatives based on an intelligent grasp of your purchase trail. Both in retail and eCommerce, an enterprise-level partnership with banks enables customers to authorize secure, automatic payments without the hassle of buying process. In retail, it allows an easy checkout, without having to wait in the ever-lengthening queues. Whereas in eCommerce, it enables a secure, e-payment without having to recall the user credentials every single time.

Hospitality: A major source of anxiety for any guest in a hotel is about having to inquire about the many things he needs. How relieved will guests be, if upon arrival, the conversational app is at their disposal on 24/7 basis, and acts as their concierge serving their full range of requirements (or complaints). It will serve as the intelligent interface between the guest and the hotel, streamlining their communication to mutually-beneficial ends, while systematically smoothening the rough edges through preemptive mediation. Check-ins and check-outs will become more coordinated and planned.

 

In the above cases, we’ve only touched the proverbial tip of the iceberg that conversational apps can offer. The ability of an enterprise to provide conversational applications to their customers will serve as a brand differentiator in times to come. To this end, enterprises need a platform that simplifies their conversational app implementation, even as it offers an enabling environment for app customization to meet their unique needs.

Digital Harbor’s Social Enterprise Technology (SET) is one of its only kind of enterprise platform that delivers conversational applications. It aims to enable enterprises to handle complex transactions and to catapult customer-brand engagement to the next orbit of human-like personalization.

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