The future of AI driven conversations

The future of AI driven conversations | Probe

Conversational AI awakens: No more crappy customer experiences

In 1966, a simple natural language processing program called ELIZA amazed people with its ability to convincingly mimic human-like conversation through scripted prompts. ELIZA's creator, Joseph Weizenbaum, grew disturbed seeing how easily people attributed human-like feelings to the computer program viewing the technology as intelligent and emotionally supportive. When his secretary asked for privacy to continue conversing with ELIZA, Weizenbaum pulled the plug - discontinuing a project that had unexpectedly revealed something profound about our willingness to imbue even the simplest computational processes with human-like qualities. 

Almost 60 years later, the rapid advancement of large language models and conversational AI is ushering in a new era of human-machine interaction. Today's AI assistants can engage in remarkably human-like dialogue, drawing upon vast knowledge bases to provide context-aware responses and task assistance.

Now, it’s easy to imagine a future where your closest collaborator is a brilliant, multitalented AI assistant that intuitively understands your needs, strengths and quirks. An ever-present copilot, that can engage in seamless dialogue, provide expert analysis and insights, automate complex workflows, and even pitch in with creative ideation across any domain.

The future of customer service delivery

The future of customer service delivery

Today, when we talk about the coming disruption of conversational AI and intelligent virtual assistants in customer service, we naturally center on the customer perspective - envisioning seamless, personalized experiences transcending today's fragmented digital and voice channels.

But to appreciate the magnitude of this tectonic shift, we have to look at how conversational AI will reshape service delivery from every angle - including frontline agents, operational managers, and executive stakeholders. Every layer of the service supply chain is about to experience a profound revolution.

Assisted agents

Let's start with the frontline staff interacting with customers daily. Historically, call center agents have been forced to juggle antiquated systems, workflows, and scripts resulting in poorer experiences, higher handle times, burnout and attrition. With conversational AI, they stand to gain a powerful copilot.

Imagine an agent's workstation where an AI assistant automatically synthesises relevant customer context, suggested responses, knowledge base articles, and actions in real time as the conversation with the customer progresses. This level of support, when designed well, has the potential to make each agent more efficient and effective. And as the AI handles more repetitive queries and transactions, agents are freed to focus on more complex, empathetic interactions.

Assisted managers

For managers ​​overseeing service operations, an AI assistant can seamlessly escalate, route, and load balance between virtual and human agents based on real-time demand, priority and other contextual parameters. Advanced conversational intelligence will enable optimized staffing, smart call-backs, seamless human/automation handoffs, and tailored training and coaching. 

However, the biggest beneficiaries may be the businesses and stakeholders responsible for customer experience strategy and execution. Not only will conversational AI unlock unprecedented operational scalability, faster resolutions and reduced costs, it will finally make customer intelligence truly pervasive and actionable.

Imagine being able to simply ask an AI assistant: "What are the top call drivers and customer pain points this week?" Or: "Show me examples of negative experiences that led to churn." With conversational interfaces, CX leaders can engage in seamless voice and text dialogues with customer data - instantly visualising insights, identifying issues, simulating scenarios and making decisions.

Insights concierge

Insights concierge

The AI becomes an insights concierge, continuously analyzing conversations across all service channels to surface issues, recommendations, and opportunities for optimization. This provides a direct line into the voice of the customer powered by advanced natural language analytics rather than static dashboards.

The impact extends beyond just transforming customer service operations. With the AI interface connecting data, systems, and decision-making, we'll see a convergence of functions like service, marketing, product design, and strategy into unified experience orchestration enabled by pervasive conversational intelligence.

While challenging, the opportunities to elevate an organization's service capabilities are compelling. We stand to democratise intelligent service delivery and revolutionize how leaders harness the voice of the customer. Agents, managers, executives and customers can synchronise in constant data interchange, transforming service into an engine driving continuous innovation and growth.

Conversational AI has come of age, and those who embrace it will reap the rewards of deeper customer insights, enhanced experiences and sustained competitive advantage.

Summary

From its humble beginnings with ELIZA to today's sophisticated AI assistants, we're witnessing a transformative shift towards more personalized, efficient and insightful interactions. As we embrace this technology, we're not just revolutionizing customer experiences; we're also reshaping entire service ecosystems, empowering agents, managers and executives alike. 

Ready to embark on this journey of customer service innovation? Explore the future of contact centers: “What contact centers in 2028 could look like with Generative AI."

Related Articles

Technology

Part 3 Generative AI special report: the future of work

Discover how the technology everyone is talking about will impact the future workplace.

Customer Experience CX

Why outsourcing should be part of any crisis management strategy

Learn why more companies are turning to outsourcing to help navigate difficult times.

Digital Transformation

How to get started with intelligent automation

RPA can create growth opportunities and reduce operational costs but it is not a 'one size fits all' concept. Learn more in this blog here.