Many businesses are adopting new tools and mechanisms to identify more efficient ways of interacting with customers. Because customers have become more demanding. They want brands to know their preferences better and deliver information and address service requests in real time, anywhere, on any device or channel. Consumers are increasingly basing their purchase decisions on such criteria and shifting brand loyalties.
To reach customers where they are – the ubiquitous messaging app – businesses are turning to Gupshup’s proven conversational messaging platform to establish a deeper two-way connection with their customers.
In this interview, Ravi Sundararajan, COO of Gupshup sheds more light on how businesses can reimagine customer experience with conversational AI.
- Can you explain conversational AI to our readers in simple terms? Why is it important for businesses?
Conversational AI technology enables machines to understand and process human language inputs and respond to them in a human-like manner with the right context. This is made possible with a Conversational AI platform. The latter enables organizations to build user-friendly applications – like chatbots and voice assistants – that allow customers to interact with a brand in a simple, real-time manner. It also helps the brand connect with customers at scale and deliver personalized engagement and support.
Intelligent conversational AI applications use large volumes of data, machine learning and natural language processing to constantly learn and fine-tune responses, making it easier and quicker for consumers to access information anytime, anywhere, on any device or channel. For example, conversational AI powered intelligent bots can learn from customer interactions, collect feedback, and map out the likes and dislikes of a user, resulting in greater user satisfaction and brand loyalty.
- Can you tell us how conversational AI enabled chatbots are different from traditional chatbots?
Most traditional chatbots are not truly dynamic, scalable, or intuitive. They offer limited functionalities, handling only a small number of tasks. They are often unable to manage user requests properly. Simply put, they are not an accurate representation of what a truly intelligent, next generation chatbot can do for a business.
Conversational AI powered chatbots leverage advanced machine learning and natural language processing. They can predict user intent with greater accuracy. They can help businesses solve real problems and improve service quality, leading to increased customer confidence and trust. They are easily scalable as well.
Let me explain with an example. Imagine you’re ordering something from a restaurant. Similar to a human waiter, a waiter bot can read out the menu, recommend dishes of your liking, inform you about deals and special offers and more – personalizing your entire dining experience.
- Lower staff productivity, increase in online fraud, and outdated cold-emailing in the financial industry has led to a significant drop in leads. How can conversational AI help businesses to improve the situation?
BFSI companies can use conversational AI for more proactive user interactions. By driving intuitive, two-way conversations with consumers, BFSI companies can make banking personal again. And this will lead to faster business growth and increased revenue per customer. This will also help traditional banks compete effectively with neo-digital Fintech firms and retain their customers.
- Nigeria has a large youth population. How can conversational AI help a business to reach this demographic?
Industry estimates peg smartphone usage in Nigeria to touch 140 million by 2025. The number of mobile internet users in the country has crossed 100 million. This shift is largely driven by the nation’s tech-savvy millennials. Most of these youth are active on social media and mobile messaging apps. And businesses are looking to engage consumers where they are: on messaging apps. Therefore, AI enabled conversational messaging is fast emerging as a new growth engine for businesses.
Many CXOs we are talking to in Nigeria understand the need to engage with consumers one-on-one, at scale. A great example of the power of conversational AI is conversational commerce – where messaging meets shopping. In many emerging markets worldwide, including Nigeria, conversational messaging experiences delivered through social media and messaging apps like Whatsapp and Instagram are becoming the new digital storefront for businesses.
- What are some of the advantages that conversational AI offers business owners?
Brands need to keep pace with evolving customer expectations. What better and faster a way to connect with them, than via user-friendly, conversational messaging interfaces? Nearly 60 percent of consumers say they prefer instant messaging vis-a-vis a phone call to engage with a brand – and conversational apps make this possible.
Through conversational text messaging, brands can engage in 1×1 personalized interactions to deliver enhanced conversational experiences. These solutions provide a balance between automation (via chatbots) and human customer service agents, thus providing the best of both worlds for the person that matters most – the customer.
To a business, the benefits of a good conversational AI program delivered through conversational apps like Whatsapp, are several. Businesses can lower costs, reach more customers at scale and share useful information in a timely and secure manner. They can better support and guide customers at any stage of the user’s journey – be it product discovery, purchase, checkout or post-purchase journey – thereby improving conversions. As a consumer, you are treated to a personalized and conversational user experience with the right context – 24x7x365 – greatly improving convenience and eliminating friction from the engagement journey.
We have seen many businesses transform their sales, marketing, and customer support functions with conversational messaging. But, for any conversational AI deployment to be truly effective, working with the right conversational engagement platform provider is important.
Gupshup is one of the world’s leading conversational messaging platforms, powering over 6 billion messages per month. Across verticals, thousands of large and small businesses in emerging markets use Gupshup to build conversational experiences – across marketing, sales and support. In summary, with Gupshup, businesses have made conversations an integral part of their customer engagement success.