Article

Conversational marketing: Creating human-touch experiences in a digital world

Ramakrishna Naidu Kapa,

Senior Director - Content & Customer Experience

Today’s digital experiences demand a personal touch. When customer-provider interactions happen virtually, they should be humanized, context-driven, and personalized. Customers have an increased demand for interactions that mimic real-world behaviors, and companies are taking notice. Worldwide, industries are meeting this demand with modern technologies, like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) functions, in order to create natural human interactions at scale.

Amid buzz around new technologies, chief marketing officers (CMOs) are eager to engage customers in personalized, dialogue-driven experiences by using new-gen marketing strategies, including conversational marketing. Conversational marketing is a method that brands are using to listen to customers and gain unique customer insights while also providing value to existing customers, generating better leads, and increasing conversion rates. This method has become essential to driving real-time customer engagement, enhancing the customer experience, and growing revenue. When it comes to conversational marketing, live chat functions and chatbots are often the first things to come to mind. This blog post will explain how conversational marketing empowers marketers to create human experiences in the digital world.

Bringing a human touch to the virtual customer experience

When engaging with customer support solutions (like live chat functions or virtual assistants), customers appreciate behaviors that feel natural and lifelike. Today’s clients expect real-time interactions and real-time responses. Today’s marketers are looking for better ways to drive meaningful connections; many are turning to the creation of humanoid chatbots that imitate human interactions. These chatbots are powered with conversational artificial intelligence (CAI) and provide a natural experience that is imitative of the real world.

A complete shift to touchless experiences may be a challenge. However, this strategy gives marketers a unique opportunity to show customers that they genuinely care. The most successful companies are the ones that are centering customers’ concerns. They’re utilizing data and analytics technologies to provide a more targeted, personalized, and touchless experience.

Conversational marketing is a person-to-person marketing approach that creates a more human buying experience. It’s a customer-centric way to gain customer loyalty, expand the customer base, drive engagement, and increase revenue.

In the digital world, potential customers are largely online. These customers want quick solutions, but they also want a friendly interaction that happens in real time.  AI-based virtual assistants can shorten the sales cycle by engaging with customers and answering their questions immediately. This conversational marketing strategy, combined with artificial intelligence capabilities, will allow companies to create person-to-person interactions between brands and consumers at scale.

Conversational AI (CAI)

CAI refers to a set of technologies that create AI-driven voice and text agents for customer support and other conversational tasks. These include  chatbots or virtual agents that both engage in dialogue in a context-driven, intelligent manner. CAI is transforming how businesses interact with their customers. These assistants bring self-service capabilities to users, helping them satisfy their needs how and when they want.

Because human conversations are inherently and incredibly complex, it is essential to understand customer intent, or why a customer is interacting with a brand, in order to serve the right experience to customers. That’s why AI-driven virtual assistants need to learn from large volumes of data to imitate human interactions; recognize speech, context, and text inputs; and translate their meanings across various languages. These assistants are built using machine learning (ML) and natural language processing (NLP) techniques. Today, businesses worldwide are saving millions of dollars by using AI to meet customers’ needs and increase their satisfaction.

Transforming marketing with CAI

CAI utilizes ML to create unique interactions, and it provides complete system automation with little to no human intervention. CAI can help brands engage with leads in real time and with strategies that mimic real-world interactions. Because of these benefits, CAI should become an integral part of every organization’s digital marketing strategy.

An automated virtual assistant cannot provide a lifelike experience on its own. Building a humanoid chatbot requires the correct technology. We can develop digital humans by determining certain characteristics (like region or gender) and create them on platforms that support this development. These digital assistants can be used across various industries, including healthcare, banking, insurance, education, and telecommunications (telco), to name just a few. Everything about these digital humans, from their unique appearance to their personalities, can be co-designed to create a positive, lasting impact on the customer.

CAI use cases

It’s no secret that CAI powers better user experiences. It uses streamlined communication techniques to connect brands with their customer base.

Organizations use CAI to build experiences within the messaging or voice apps that their customers use in everyday life. Instead of pushing their branded apps or websites on customers, companies are meeting clients on the apps they already know and love. Here are some CAI use cases that employ ML models to drive the next-best-conversation:

1. Customer support: AI chatbots can help reduce customer support setup costs and be scaled based on the number of requests in the queue. Chatbots and virtual assistants can respond in real time, providing 24-hour availability to customers.

2. Retail: Customers can ask chatbots to search for products, get recommendations, place orders, choose gifts, reserve items, and track packages and returns. They help customers find what they want quickly and easily, and facilitate a speedy and simple checkout. Customers receive personalized advice, guidance, and support from a retail assistant.

3. Healthcare: During the digitalization shift that accompanied the pandemic, the impact of CAI on the healthcare industry became clear. CAI can help diagnose patient conditions virtually by asking a series of questions and learning about customers based on their replies. With this information, CAI provides insight into the patients’ health concerns. Throughout 2020 and 2021, many private and public companies built CAI solutions that handled questions about the novel coronavirus. Additionally, digital assistants can leverage the application programming interface (API) to automatically order refills for patients who submit a request. There are many other use cases, including (but not limited to) appointment scheduling and the use of virtual medical assistants. 

4. Finance and banking: CAI can retrieve loan details, like pending equated monthly installments (EMIs) and tenure. They can also allow access to data and to data analytics. For example, a CAI function can identify trends in spending habits or bank transactions, then provide an appropriate budgeting strategy. There will be a surge of robo-advisors, or digital advisors, to serve as first-level advisors to customers. CAI can provide financial advice by using automated, algorithm-driven financial planning services that have minimal human supervision.

5. Insurance: With faster claims, CAI will drive efficiencies and improve the customer experience. Insurance companies aim to remove points of friction in the overall claims process. With advanced CAI technology and easy integration into back-end systems, the most complex claim forms can be completed automatically in minutes.

6. Telecom: Telcos are investing in technologies and AI systems that use bots to resolve technical issues, locate the right product, provide information about plans and latest upgrade deals, and help customers change their plan via a simple request — anytime, anywhere.

Explore the marvels of CAI, ethically

As industries incorporate CAI into digital marketing strategies, they must respect customer expectations regarding data security. Organizations must comply with existing and developing privacy laws. They should adhere to  regulatory standards that apply to using customer data for marketing purposes. Besides being the morally correct approach, this strategy fosters trust and brand loyalty. 

Because CAI learns from customer data in order to answer queries, it can be vulnerable to privacy and security breaches. Users might become wary about sharing personal or sensitive information, especially when they realize they are interacting with a machine instead of a human. So, it is crucial to develop CAI apps that have high privacy and security standards. The strategy will build trust among end-users, thus increasing chatbot usage over time. To inspire a community of trust, it will be essential to educate your target customers on the benefits and safety features of these new technologies.

Conclusion

People love interacting online because it’s a fast, easy, and efficient way to get answers in real time. Customers prefer nothing less than a five-star experience these days, including every time they interact with a brand. A focused and customer-first business strategy will keep services current. Per the market research, 75% of people prefer live chat functions to any other channel. Additionally, AI will account for more than 95% of customer interactions by 2025.

Because customers want help to be available 24/7, the future of CAI is promising. CAI has made great strides in terms of its technologies and use cases. It is no longer a simple FAQ function. CAI assistants use sophisticated natural language understanding (NLU) to understand the customers’ intent, and they can respond with sentences that feel satisfying and natural to the customer. Businesses that want to remain competitive should look to CAI.

Ultimately, conversational marketing approaches that use AI/ML will help organizations reduce the sales cycle, improve customer interactions, and increase conversions. CAI offers a marketing strategy that delivers personalized customer interactions at scale. 

Ramakrishna Naidu Kapa

Ramakrishna Naidu Kapa

Senior Director - Content & Customer Experience

Ramakrishna brings over 18+ years of rich experience in the IT industry spanning content management, digital marketing, business development, competency development, and consulting experience.

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