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Three keys to mastering the art of Conversational AI

Sprinklr Team

May 4, 2021  •  5 min read

There’s a lot of science behind artificial intelligence, but applying it is an artform.

A master of Conversational AI can build automated conversations that feel like human interaction — personal, intuitive, and contextual. Smart AI doesn’t ask you to repeat yourself. It knows who you are and why you’re there. It can juggle multiple ideas at once, it can adapt to changing topics of conversation, and it doesn’t dump you off to someone else the moment it misunderstands you.

The more conversations you can handle with chatbots, the more you can reserve agent time for when a human is truly required, so the race is on to have the best automated customer service. But if your bots feel like, well, bots, then your customers will feel mistreated and won’t come back.

People are cautious about chatbots because they broke our hearts once. When they were new, they promised to solve all our agent bandwidth problems and let us automate whatever we wanted. We discovered that chatbots weren’t smart enough to handle every use case we threw at them. We haven’t been that disappointed in a technological promise since we thought the internet would cure ignorance by making information available to everyone.

Efficiency metrics won’t improve just because you add chatbots. Conversational AI is an art that must be mastered. Here are three things all masters do:

  • React less like a machine

  • Treat AI as a growth experience

  • Know when not to automate

React less like a machine

Masters of Conversational AI recognize cues and flow with the rhythm of dialog.

If a chatbot fails to recognize the correct intent the first time and responds inappropriately, the experience is negative and repels customers away from your business — a net loss for your bottom line and your brand reputation.

Conversational AI only works when it can understand variations in how different people communicate. Some provide all details of their intent at once, while others start general and require more information to know which solution is right. Some hit Send after typing one long, thought-out paragraph, while others type a series of sentence fragments that must be assembled to understand a single intent. Some might even change their mind midway through the conversation and decide they want something else instead. Imagine the audacity!

Regardless of how a customer behaves, your chatbots need to respond more elegantly than to treat each variation as an error that gets escalated to an agent.

Treat AI as a growth experience

Masters of Conversational AI commit to a path of continuous improvement.

AI is not Set and Forget or One and Done. It must learn from its mistakes just like people do. When you first learned how to talk, you weren’t perfect either, but as you grew up, you learned how to read facial expressions, body language, and other cues that accompany speech so that you could respond appropriately.

New cues are coming at your chatbots every day, so it’s crucial that you’re able to test and improve your automated responses after go-live using the data that you’re accumulating. Generic AI models maintained by third parties boast regular improvements, but only a business-specific model can get to know how your customers ask for help with your products in the languages you do business in.

Conversational AI requires human vigilance and governance in order to be truly successful. Engage in regular testing and training to ensure that chatbots are bringing optimal value.

Know when not to automate

Masters of Conversational AI know when Containment Rate is not an indicator of success.

If you’re in financial services or banking, then most chatbot conversations will escalate to a customer service agent, so the chatbot’s goal isn’t complete automation. The goal becomes gathering data and intent so the agent can pick up where the chatbot left off with full context.

In this scenario, Conversational AI might only have a 20% Containment Rate, meaning 80% of chatbot conversations escalate to agents. By traditional accounts, that’s a fail. But it’s a win for being able to route to the right agent who has the context needed to deliver a fast, personalized human experience.

No two strategies are the same when it comes to mastering Conversational AI. Your customer use cases will drive which role chatbots play in your organization.

Awaken your inner artist

Masters of the Art of Conversational AI know you need to be on channels that customers prefer with correct data, real-time insights, and AI-optimized responses.

Everyone selling self-service bots claim they do this, but look deeper. Ask them how well their AI interprets unstructured data to resolve customer issues. (Spoiler alert: It’s not great.)

Let us show you how Modern Care uses AI to make sense of unstructured data to automate intuitive conversations at scale. Read how the World Health Organization (WHO) now uses Sprinklr’s Conversational AI to reply to commonly asked questions about COVID-19 via Facebook Messenger in 14 languages.

Become the master artist you were meant to be.

Download The Essential Guide to AI for Customer Service eBook now.

Derek Adams is a Product Marketer at Sprinklr and a life-long storyteller. He’s worked in technology for over 20 years and loves chronicling how it continuously evolves to enhance humanity.

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