An insight into the possibilities of artificially intelligent conversation from our very own Bot Whisperer, Ben Roe...
What is Conversational AI?
Conversational Artificial Intelligence (CAI) is a term used to refer to the interaction between a human and a computer program, or artificial intelligence, that is conducted via auditory or textual methods. Quite simply, it's the brains behind the computer you're talking to - whether that be Siri, Alexa, a chatbot, or another entity in the myriad of things now referred to as "AI".
The idea of CAI is not so much to replicate a human in conversation, but to replace or complement them.
The traditional interface between a human and a computer is a visual representation - buttons, images, text inputs etc. CAI is trying to replace this with understanding and natural language rather than prompting with predetermined responses.
Favourite CAI Features
This is when a user buys a product and the bot follows up 2 weeks later asking how it's going.
The ability to understand what "it" is referring to.
Solutions without a human
Book appointments, collect the users phone number for a call back, sign up for something, make a purchase, lodge a ticket - all possible without a human if necessary.
CAI can be a new staff member who never needs to sleep or have lunch breaks.
Serve virtually an infinite number of users, instantly.
The ability to analyse what questions are being asked most frequently, and whether the questions are being answered correctly giving a confidence rating for the answer.
Automate common tasks & routine interactions
Your customer sales rep no longer needs to deal with low-level inbound leads - AI can handle the lead, then assess its validity (or triage its importance) and then organise to call back the customer (strong leads being placed higher in the queue).
Think about how often you talk to your computer...asking it "where the **** is x button" or "why isn't this working" or "how do I do this". Well now we can have a chat interface on every website that can answer those menial questions, and it stops people from exiting the website when they get angry/confused/don't understand. It offers an alternative way for the user to engage with the website - like an assistant.
Internet of Things Integration
Turn on the heater while you're on your way home from work through AI.
Assisting people with disabilities
I recently built a voice controlled home automation system for my grandfather to help him with tasks. It allows him to open his emails, check favourite websites, check the stock markets etc just by talking to it.
Segmenting your user base
User enquires about a particular product are now tagged as having interest in that product.
More efficient human interactions
The AI conversation can gather all of the appropriate information from the user before a human needs to interact with them - it’s the first point of contact reducing workload from call centres with efficient, immediate responses.
The ability to understand the users emotions or personality type from lead profiling and the conversation itself, and deliver tailored responses.
Why conversational artificial intelligence is here to stay
- It's incredibly efficient, saving time and money, and companies will see returns quickly.
- It's a 24/7 member of staff who doesn't show up hungover to work.
- It automates tasks, from menial to complicated.
- Empowers staff to spend time on more important or difficult tasks.
- It's immediately scalable. I can teach a bot to respond to a query and it can instantly handle any number of incoming requests pertaining to that query.
- The customer experience is so much better - there's no time wasted. I don't have to phone a call centre and hang around for 15 minutes on hold anymore, I can send a message and have my query responded to instantly. Not only that, if it's a query or request that takes more than one step to resolve, I can resolve it on my own schedule. I can message a bot today, ignore its response, then take another look whenever suits me.