What Does A Successful Conversational AI Deployment Look Like?
Conversational AI is changing rapidly. With those changes, the applications that have the most benefit are becoming clear. And, while customer service automation does have some benefits to offer, the real growth opportunity for brands is coming from marketing and commerce – uses that should form the core of any major brand’s conversational AI deployment.
This isn’t only because of new technological capabilities. Consumers are also developing more of a preference for making purchases from conversational AI. This means that adoption is sufficient for brands to really profit from conversational interfaces, and consumers who do chat with business also spend 60% more than those who don’t.
At the core of a successful deployment, you need to offer an experience that provides real value to consumers – usually best achieved by simplifying their purchase decisions. Once you’ve made this an efficient and enjoyable experience, you can map it’s core value to every channel in different scenarios that help your brand generate revenue. As that deployment develops more traction, you can then think about additional channels and applications that will maximize the ROI of your core investment.
Developing a Core Experience
One-size-fits-all is an illusion. Anybody who’s ever bought a SaaS product knows that, even though it’s sold as a subscription, any real brand or holding company needs a high degree of customization to truly make it their own.
At the same time, you need to know that what you’re buying into has been thought out and built specifically for the needs your brand has. That means that customization should emphasize voice and the details of how you communicate, whereas the broadest value of your deployment should usually focus on one thing: how can you simplify the choices consumers make in ways that make it easier for them to interact with and buy from your brand?
Doing this requires one thing above all: a conversational AI capability that has expert knowledge of your offering, and knows how to tie that knowledge to specific customer needs and concerns. At first, this usually takes the form of a virtual sales advisor. This sort of solution can, with the right knowledge, ask consumers questions, figure out their concerns and provide recommendations that are best for them.
These recommendations can be personalized in a variety of ways depending on the product choices you offer consumers. By focusing your conversational AI deployment on learning about and providing recommendations to your consumers, you can generate first-party data that makes what you offer consumers more specific and truly personalized. This process ultimately drives more than 30% higher average revenue per user compared to an ecommerce website, and has additional benefits the more channels you deploy it on.
Relating It To The Customer Journey
The consumer decision journey is ever-evolving. Brands have spent the last few years trying to create inseparable relationships with their consumers in which they know, see, understand and influence their every possible move.
While most of this has boiled down to marketing automation emails, you won’t actually benefit from just overwhelming them with “buy now” messages at every turn. Most brands have the consumer journey mapped in one way or another, with the different aspects of your consumers concerns, needs and reasons to act understood through interviews and feedback collection.
What you need to consider is how a conversational experience can enhance and even accelerate the path to purchase. This could take a variety of forms, including:
- Product discovery via ads, landing pages and social channels
- Branded messages across any promotional channel with a conversational call-to-action
- Discounting, incentives and promotional code schemes to drive traffic to the experience, leveraging its ability to drive higher cart value
- Deployment on an eCommerce website where product choice could be simplified
- Deployment on services-based websites where you need to inform and drive engagement between entry and low-funnel calls to action
- Deployment in limited, easily automated customer service scenarios
- Promotion through email or messaging channels, post-purchase or in-store
The above are just a few examples of how to think about deploying conversational AI for customer acquisition. By thinking about enhancing your already-existing journey, you’ll reveal the focal points where your experience is driving the most value. Ultimately, conversational AI can work well as a system to match consumers with the best products for them.
It’s not just that the consumer journey needs to be amplified, but that this sort of improvement can actually benefit it more dramatically than it may seem at first. When you step out of the limitations of where certain products are discovered and how you condition beliefs about them, you’re no longer limited to only trying to drive revenue in select moments.
Consider traditional ads, for instance: they send messages that are either general or targeted based on known information about the user. The calls-to-action involved usually either encourage them to buy or simply learn more, but they don’t engage them in a way that actually enhances a customer’s experience.
Conversations have the power to massage and move forward consumers who might otherwise be resistant to purchases. With this approach in hand, you can create more engagement at every touchpoint, which ultimately makes conversion and revenue opportunities easier to both create and capitalize on.
Mapping Out Your Conversational AI Deployment Channels
Within your customer journey, a variety of deployment channels are possible to achieve the touch-points you want to engage consumers with. Advertising, social media, websites, in-store displays and voice are all essential access points for B2C brands. In enabling greater engagement, once every touchpoint has a clear purpose, there still may be more where you can leverage your core investment to improve your offering.
A core example is voice assistants and smart speakers. A variety of applications have been attempted, the ROI of which hasn’t been clear, but there are gradually more means for marketers to use smart speakers in ways that effectively convert consumers.
With voice commerce, however, your brand may not yet have significant adoption among consumers, but may be looking to condition an opportunity to grow the channel. If you find yourself in this situation and you already have your conversational AI deployed, you’re in luck. With established knowledge of customer interactions and pre-existing understanding of your product offering, this can optimize the way your consumers discover and engage with your brand through voice.
This is one case where it may be time to start striking while the iron heats up. At last check in 2018, 47% of consumers used voice assistants through smart speakers in order to conduct product searches and do research about what they’re looking for. All in all, one perfect new channel to leverage your deployment among many.
This ability to leverage your conversational AI deployment across new channels isn’t limited to voice, however. Wherever you are in the future – whether it’s new social channels, increasingly diverse web interfaces or better integrated omni-channel marketing campaigns – conversational AI can enhance your outcomes in more multifaceted ways that traditional marketing technology can’t touch.
Providing personalized, connected experiences isn’t just marketing “thought leadership” pablum. It actually makes consumers feel better about interacting with your brand. Personalized marketing is proven to help drive conversion and revenue growth. With consumers more connected than ever, the expectations they have for great experiences only compound on one another.
This could overwhelm simpler brands and retailers, but for those that have led the market, conversational AI is here to help. Your position as a leader needs to be defended, and it can be by offering unique experiences to the consumer that actually drive benefits to your top and bottom line.
At Automat, we’re driven to maximize the return of Conversational AI technology. This means that the way you generate leads, acquire customers or convert revenue today doesn’t have to be thrown out the window. No matter what channel you use, its impact can be improved by the addition of the kind of virtual assistance consumers are coming to know, love and expect.
Still have questions? We’re fired up to help as many brands as possible to raise the bar of user and customer experience in eCommerce. If you need help implementing website engagement tools for your brand or want to talk further about any of the tactics in this article, we should talk ASAP!