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Emerging conversational AI trends paving the way for next-level Total CX Automation in 2022

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By Raghu Ravinutala, CEO and Co-founder, Yellow.ai 

The constantly connected, app-native consumers of today have embraced the digital-first approach of interacting with brands, expecting nothing less than a five-star customer experience each time. In such a scenario, a focussed CX Automation first strategy has become a must for brands in order to retain their competitive advantage. Ever since the rise of Covid-19, we’ve seen a surge in the adoption of conversational AI-powered chatbots and voice bots by industries such as BFSI, retail, healthcare and  manufacturing, to name a few. While 2021 stood out as the year when CIOs and transformation leaders accelerated the adoption of Conversational AI to redefine their customer experience strategy, 2022 will see a deeper integration of this trend leading brands towards the new reality of next-gen Total CX Automation.

In fact, industry experts have pegged conversational platforms as the indispensable technology to improve and enhance CX across industries. According to a Gartner report, by 2022, 70 per cent of white-collar workers will interact with conversational platforms daily. Another Gartner report predicts that by 2025, 40 per cent of customer service organisations will turn into profit centers by becoming de facto leaders in digital customer engagement. To distill down on what’s next for brands striving to create differentiated and augmented customer experiences, let’s take a deeper look into the conversational AI trends that will shape the future of Total CX automation.

Omnichannel experiences to ensure seamless conversational UX

Most consumers have access to more than two smart devices which they amply use to shop, explore and interact at various levels. The same communication pattern is used by the customer to converse with a brand or a business. It is only fitting that they expect the same level of convenience that they have in their interpersonal communication when it comes to interacting with brands. This is the crucial juncture where brands will need to be prudent in offering the same conversational UX to its consumer to continue the interaction across channels and platforms – may it be website, social media DMs, WhatsApp, text messaging or contact centre assistance – in short, being present where the customer is.  Taking this to the next level, users will now expect their connected devices like voice enabled Alexa and Google Home to be included in the barrage of interconnected touch points for CX automation.

Bypass the screen – Voicebots to see a wider adoption

We have seen the growth of voice enabled personal assistants. Alexa and Google Home, and even Siri, are not new names and concepts for consumers. Where 10 years ago, this would have seemed impossible, we have entered a new era of the voice today. The next step would be to see a wider adoption of voice-enabled bots to be a catalyst for voice-enabled commerce, which is expected to be worth more than 80 billion per year by 2023. Voice, being the most natural form of communication, being intuitive and fast, has the potential to deepen brand – to – customer engagements, providing instant and omnipresent brand experience, and automating sales, engagement and support – all of which are of high priority for businesses.

Low/No code automation platforms to be the preferred solution

With quick and efficient automation becoming increasingly all pervasive, there are certain lags that come with legacy systems that are best avoided. As legacy automation solutions are less agile with respect to integrations across functions, low/no code platforms will be the best bet in ensuring that brands retain their competitive edge. Low/No code platforms are extremely agile, and successful in delivering rapid and robust integration for the automation. Regardless of what is to be integrated, the low/no code platforms’ ease of use and agility can enable businesses to self-develop bots with basic functionalities, test, make changes and deploy the final result in record time.

Dependence on CX analytics for competitive advantage

According to Gartner, by 2027, 45 per cent of agent-assisted interactions will use real-time analytics to improve business and customer outcomes. Leveraging CX analytics, brands can get access to systemic records of data, metrics, preferences and trends that can be used by bots to provide intelligent and hyper-personalised responses to the customers in the future. Brands can use this data to optimise their customer experience strategy and achieve a competitive advantage.

Embracing the best of both human and AI

While automation is essential for a seamless, efficient, and optimised customer experience strategy, there is immense value in keeping the human element in the process intact. Bots are equipped to seamlessly transfer customer escalations to a live agent and as the volume of conversations increase, the presence of the human element in the loop enables the virtual assistants to learn and address similar queries effectively in the future. As a result,we will see bots becoming more human with the help of cutting-edge NLP algorithms, delivering more natural conversations than ever. Essentially, a combination of human intelligence augmented with AI will help deliver customised strategies for an elevated customer experience.

Bots to enable myriad ways to boost CX and more

Starting from impacting direct sales for eCommerce, helping re-engage customers post sales to driving social media engagement for brands and enabling payments through integration with payment gateways, bots are going to emerge as the one stop solution for multiple ways to boost CX. For instance, brands could use bots to update customers with shipping and tracking updates for their orders as well as collect feedback via follow-up messages. Furthermore, brands can tap potential and existing customers on social media by targeting them with strategic communications via bots. These can be in the form of personalised notifications by bots including promotions, campaigns, back-in-stock notifications, abandoned cart reminders, etc. Bots can enable proactive engagement with customers by sending prompts for product updates and push notifications with incentives and special offers to the most relevant sales leads. This will help brands in upselling and cross-selling, increasing their conversation rates and achieving higher CSATs.

2022 will certainly see brands prioritise and heavily invest in creating a Total CX Automation strategy to deliver enhanced experiences. There will be an increased adoption of game changing Conversational AI  solutions such as Instagram messaging automation and WhatsApp commerce to this end. These direct-to -consumer platforms will enable brands to stay connected with customers at the right platforms, at the right time with the right messaging. Having said that, the next year will also potentially witness a shift from silos to Total Experience Automation- an intersection (rather than functioning in vacuums) of CX and EX strategies- capable of addressing the digital and non-digital needs of customers and employees, addressing their respective journeys, especially parts that intersect creating superior shared experience for everyone.

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