Customer Engagement Rises With Natural Language Interaction

Discover the current use of voice assistants by consumers and the implications and likely changes in the near future.

Customer engagement isn’t just about providing great customer service through intelligent conversations. Delivering value beyond a sale or subscription sign-up through proactive interaction and personalization are important factors too. In our latest series on customer engagement we take a look at how businesses from three very different industries are using natural language to increase customer engagement.

For Japanese cosmetic manufacturer, Shiseisdo, a conversational app provided the opportunity for them to engage with its younger customer base who predominately interact over smartphones. But building and delivering such an app in Japanese was a challenge. Not only are words and phrases built complexly, but users frequently insert non-Japanese characters if using a text input. Teneo was the only natural language technology capable of delivering a human-like, intelligent experience.

With Teneo’s highly-evolved, natural language capabilities, customers can converse with Beau-co about all manner of beauty related topics such as how to apply eye make-up, as well as specific Shiseido products. While some natural language technologies are often relatively competent in English, they struggle with more complex languages. Japanese, for example, uses three different writing systems and is frequently accompanied by Latin based characters and Arabic numerals in input texts. But it’s Teneo’s ability to understand and interpret a user’s meaning, despite the lack of whitespace that splits words up naturally and the complicated way words and phrases are formed, that makes Teneo so accurate.

Shell created digital assistants Emma and Ethan to advise customers on the technical aspects of its lubricants business. The assistants know the details of tens of thousands of unique Shell products and specifications, and can answer a wide range of queries and technical information requests, from suitability for a particular vehicle, engine and use, to performance benefits.

Initially launched in the UK and US, the application is now available in several languages, including complex ones such as Russian and Chinese. Shell say the technology has already reduced the activity to its call centre by 40 per cent. It also enables them to supply consistent and legally accurate answers across the many different markets and regulatory environments. The feedback to Shell’s Teneo-based applications has been impressive, with 99 per cent of user expectations met.

RoI also comes in less tangible forms such as customer experience. Kindred, formerly Unibet, one of Europe’s largest and fastest growing online gambling operators, has developed an artificially intelligent natural language interaction (NLI) capability that it believes will transform the betting experience for its customers. The app makes it simpler and more intuitive, while eliminating some of the current barriers, like finding the particular wager they want amongst the many thousands that are offered.

Customers can simply use everyday language to place a bet – “I want to place a tenner on Hobson’s Choice at Newmarket tomorrow”, or “a fiver on Liverpool to win” – and the app intelligently analyses the request and responds appropriately. If there is any ambiguity, the app will either make some safe assumptions or ask the customer to clarify. By using natural language, the app removes some of the traditional frictions and complexities in what can be a complicated and even intimidating environment.

“Using natural language removes the rigid and impersonal barrier between us and our customers,” says Will Mace, Head of Strategic Development at Kindred, “The simple, intuitive manner of the interaction makes for a really positive and easy experience. Customers are making increasing demands on their service providers. They expect a seamless experience and quite rightly they are less and less tolerant of clunky or complex interactions.  Early forms of digital interface are being replaced with more sophisticated AI technologies like NLI.  This is driven by technological development certainly, but primarily by customer demand.  Customers like easy and intelligent experiences!”

“Natural language interaction has enabled us to create a positive, simplified experience for our customers in what is a complex industry. As speech enabled apps become more commonplace, people expect interactions to be intelligent, fast and responsive. They are fed-up with clunky menu driven interfaces; instead customers are demanding sophisticated understanding of their spoken words. Using Teneo has enabled us to deliver not just the application our customers want, but provided us with the insight to build on that conversation too.”

All of these companies typify many of Artificial Solutions’ clients who start with smaller projects and then realize how much can be accomplished using conversational artificially intelligent applications than they previously expected. Re-using much of the original build, they are now expanding both capabilities and the channels they are available on.

While loyalty can’t be bought, increasing customer engagement by delivering additional value and better personalization does at least put your business in the prime position.

How Conversational AI Increases Your Competitive Edge White Paper

This white paper discusses how a conversational AI platform can help improve customer engagement and deliver a vital competitive edge.

View this White Paper

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