IT Briefcase Exclusive Interview: The Rise of Conversational Interfaces, Chatbots and AI AssistantsMay 23, 2017 No Comments
It’s time to rethink the future of human-computer interaction, which is enabled by everything from intelligent assistants, conversational interfaces, smart devices, and even immersive virtual reality. Invisible, conversational, and voice-based interfaces like Siri, Google Now, Cortana, and Alexa are set to expand the range of digital experiences beyond multi-touchpoint brand presences. They allow customers to interact with devices in a more intuitive way and bring new levels of ease and convenience through voice control. The brands that deliver thoughtfully crafted, and well-executed strategy for the faceless interface will be the ones that win their customers’ love by providing immersive, interactive and personalized experiences in relevant micro moments.
- Q. Why are these conversational interfaces the next big shift in human-tech interactions?
A. Messaging apps are slowly becoming new platforms of convenience. Customers expect to unlock a universe of information using only their voice. Today, six out of the top ten mobile apps are messaging apps and more than one-third of customers prefer social media over phone calls with customer support.
All of this has created an increase in messaging apps, mobility, cloud, IoT and landmark breakthroughs in natural language processing; cutting-edge technologies like neural networks are revolutionizing the way consumers’ interact with their devices. The future of human-computer interaction will be enabled by everything from intelligent assistants, conversational interfaces, smart devices, and even immersive virtual reality.
- Q. What are the reasons a company should be deploying a next-gen branded conversational interface?
A. Smart organizations are moving to an AI-first world, where intelligent agents are rewriting the rules for customer engagement and brand interactions. At Photon, our customers, across many business sectors, have introduced chatbots to level up their customer experience game.
Conversational interfaces need to be in a brands digital toolkit for a number of reasons, but here are a handful to help paint the picture:
There’s a positive correlation between customer engagement and business growth. Bots can help create a more personalized and proactive communication to serve contextual, convenient, and delightful experiences to customers in their moments of need.
Chatbots respond within seconds to the user query. Bots can also display buttons for quick, personalized, relevant replies, and a menu in the conversations, making it easier for people to communicate without having the need to type several commands. Being able to answer a customer or a potential customer’s query at any time of the day is possible through chatbots. Chatbot answers are instant and help increase the number of customer interactions. They can also reduce the cost of customer care or even replace the need for customer service agents.
- Q. How can brands simplify purchases with conversational commerce?
A. There’s a growing trend where brands and businesses are attempting to interact with consumers through conversational interfaces, like Facebook Messenger bots, leveraging consumers’ love for messaging apps, the convenience offered by mobile, and recent advances in artificial intelligence.
Brands and retailers are able to connect with their consumers in a more personalized way through messaging apps and AI-powered chatbots. By remembering customer preferences through past conversations/interactions, analyzing purchase history, browsing data, customer profile, and unique customer asks, bots can offer personalized product suggestions to the consumers or even suggest appropriate impulse buys.
- Q. How can brands design their own chatbot?
A. From the customer experience (CX) perspective, designing “conversational interfaces” is NOT like designing a mobile app. The lifecycle of such an interface is based on implicit launchers, intents, and actions before ending—not based on explicit launchers or actions. Think about it more like designing a search engine interface for a recordkeeping system than designing a form-based UI. That’s as different as it gets.
The rise of conversational interfaces is dramatically changing both the user experience and the interaction with every brand, which is why you are seeing many of our Fortune 500 customers move quickly to test and learn around these new customer moments.
- Q. What does the future hold for conversational interfaces?
A. In the last month, we’ve seen companies like Google and Amazon announce several updates to their intelligent assistants and conversational interfaces. The trend of brands and businesses interacting with consumers through this technology leverages consumers’ love for messaging apps, the convenience offered by mobile, and recent advances in artificial intelligence. Intelligent assistants have become the new platform of commerce and customer convenience – an essential addition to a brand’s digital toolkit.
Artificial intelligence technology coupled with the rapid proliferation of messaging apps has made these assistants a glamorous tool for enterprises today. Artificial intelligence and speech recognition are primers for chatbot development. The brands that deliver thoughtfully crafted and well-executed strategy for the faceless interface will be the ones that win their customers’ love by providing immersive, interactive, and personalized experiences in relevant micro moments.
Michael Levine, Vice President of Marketing, Photon
Based out of Photon’s Manhattan office, Michael Levine is the VP of Marketing Photon. He also is the business lead for the newly formed Products Division. Prior to Photon, Michael served as AVP of eCommerce & CRM at L’Oreal USA (a Photon customer), reporting directly to the Chief Marketing Officer. Michael spent the last 16 years leading CPG beauty companies in launching and growing their global eCommerce organizations. Companies including L’Oreal USA Brands, Baxter of California, Essie Cosmetics, dyptique Paris, SpaceNK, and DDF Skincare.Fresh Ink, SOCIAL BUSINESS