HelloScribe Brief: What Marketers should know about Conversational AI

Paul G. Thompson
Aug 31 · 8 min read

Conversational Interfaces have been around since the 1960s. And starting in the 1980s, technology companies like Apple, Microsoft, and others, presented computer users with a natural language interface as a way of making technology more user-friendly.

In the past few years, we have witnessed a quantum leap in the understanding of speech recognition and how to incorporate digitally created conversations into everyday life. Over time, the Market’s desire for more user-friendly technology has led to the rise of Conversational Artificial Intelligence.

See The History of Chatbots [INFOGRAPHIC] (futurism.com)

Conversational AI uses a machine learning technique known as Natural Language Processing(NLP) to intelligently respond to a person’s questions without any extra programming or coding. Conversational AI enables machines to mimic the interaction, language and communication between humans primarily through voice and text.

The Big Picture

Conversational AI is poised to become the primary way in which individuals buy physical, consumable products such as groceries, appliances, and fashion, as well to access medical services, and purchase Insurance. Enterprises will embrace Conversational AI across a number of use cases. For example:

  • Conversational AI will become useful for bringing to light crucial financial information, such as customer loyalty figures, or corporate tax balances, or to uncover hidden facts and figures in order to drive research and strategy.
  • Manufacturers will use Conversational AI to interact with their customers, and gather accurate information about their needs and desires. This customer data will enable new offerings to be designed for their Markets.
  • Conversational AI will also inform operational business decisions — such as how to improve customer service, and how to drive sales.

Beyond being a digital assistant capable of delivering answers to complex queries, Conversational AI can also deliver a thoughtful experience for users through ever increasing levels of engagement. By reducing friction, conversational AI not only enables more efficient interactions, it also empowers businesses to transform their entire consumer experience.

How Consumers are Adopting Conversational AI

For their part, Consumers are rapidly adopting Conversational AI as a way to facilitate everyday transactions. People are now comfortable talking to their smartphones on a daily basis, whether they are checking in on their flight from home, making up their grocery list, or searching online using their voice.

We will see consumer spend increasing each year across brands in food delivery, personal services, restaurants, hotels, retail, personal development, travel, accounts, insurance, and medical services. Most companies will have automated text or voice-based features built-into their products.

Overall consumption will accelerate, and many areas of the buyer experience will become so seamless that customer success will only depend on personal interaction at the final point of delivery or consumption.

The paradigm of a happy customer interacting with a merchant or service provider is what conversational artificial intelligence facilitates. It is fast, powerful and scalable enough for all types of users and experiences.

With many established global providers of a wide range of services, large merchants, and a plethora of small businesses using Conversational AI to deliver new experiences, our expectations of what a great customer experience should be, will continue to rise.

The Emergence of Chatbots

Chatbots are swiftly emerging as the primary way brands and retailers are implementing Conversational AI. Juniper research predicts that by 2023, Chatbots alone could drive over $112 billion in annual retail sales. (marketingaiinstitute.com). Chatbots provide a new way to create and deliver a quick, efficient, and engaging experience for consumers through various apps and platforms.

By design, a chatbot is the easiest way to facilitate digital interactions of any kind. Consumers don’t need superhuman agency to purchase something new for example. Simply telling a voice or text-based service what they want, what they like, and the specific experience they desire, makes the journey to purchase more immediate, relaxed, and friendly.

Brands that want to reduce customer support time and realize the benefits of simple and effective responses, may find Chatbots extremely helpful. There are also operational benefits as well. With a chatbot, you can eliminate costly, protracted phone calls, which in turn increases productivity, and lowers costs.

Chatbots enable sales departments to put the emphasis on the bottom line, curate a wide range of products, accommodate service requests for a whole new class of customer, and uncover new ways of serving customers with better data and intelligence. Chatbots can provide product descriptions, cut out the clicks and create simpler re-order options to support a wider selection while cost-optimizing service delivery, and channel mix.

How are Businesses Responding?

Chatbots are leading the evolution of brands towards a more personalized service delivery approach. This new way of talking to customers is enabling brands to have closer relationships with their customers to actually achieve real results, instead of being left trying to solve customer issues with a traditional web customer service team or worse, no customer service at all.

Since 2016, we’ve seen an explosion of Chatbots from both new and famous names in business:

  1. Surveybot- For Customer Surveys
  2. 1–800-Flowers.com- Easy Sales on Messenger
  3. Kayak- Travel Information at your Fingertips

4. Sephora- Beauty is a two-way conversation

5. Louis Vuitton- Conversation is Luxury

To ensure customers connect with brands and stay loyal, marketers should focus on providing a portfolio of customer experiences, one that feels familiar, consistent, and personalized. The key learning for brands and retailers is that customers are in a different place than they were a few years ago.What they want and expect is no longer the same.

4 Things to Consider before Launching a ChatBot:

There are a variety of programs and platforms to help build a chatbot and leverage the capabilities of Chatbots. The best ones are designed to provide real-time answers to customer questions and are designed to use human language to portray the personality of the bot.

They are designed to engage and entertain the user, allowing the user to be heard rather than simply have content processed through some kind of one -way black box. A successful chatbot requires an understanding of user expectations in a normal human conversation, a desire to interact naturally with the user, and the ability to stay on task without getting distracted or bogged down by technical error.

A good Chatbot must also do these 4 things:

  1. Offer Clear Value:

Chabots must make things easy and clear. A well built chatbot is able to deliver clearly understood automated answers to questions. But it should also convey a genuine emotional response to the user. The bot should be direct, with an understanding of their user’s limitations and needs. However, the bot should never be viewed as a human replacement.

2. Pay Attention to Privacy

When a machine knows the customer’s name, ID and viewing habits and can recognize the customer in different contexts, it holds something like a right to watch your bodily fluids. While the Legal Department may be able to reassure the CEO that once your AI has completed its transactions, it will go quietly into the night, it may not be so helpful if it goes on social media and reveals what it has learned about the person. As the technology behind Chatbots become more advanced, Marketers and Agencies must carefully balance business requirements with the privacy needs of consumers.

3. Offer a Competitive Advantage:

While today Conversational AI is largely being used to perform repetitive tasks, what will come next is not just mastering the task, but understanding the context around it. This will enable brands to better plan for the future, understand how products and services make people happy, and suggest new products and services to fill their needs. As such, Chatbots should be much more than a silo of extra capacity. They should offer a competitive advantage.

4. Employ a People-First Approach

At HelloScribe, we view the creation of authentic human experiences as a core mission of our Agency. The approach we use starts with a refined understanding of the ways in which people buy and act, and how they interact with others. HelloScribe works to bridge the gap between buyer and seller, by understanding the customer journey and creating experiences that are intelligently automated.

Because people are the fundamental frame of reference, our approach begins with processing conversational data. We work closely with our clients to tease out what makes their everyday customer communication choices right . We compare the consumer’s actual behavior against the organization’s internal objectives. Then we assign a value to these right decisions. The result is a stream of highly personalized customer journeys which fit right in with the consumer’s unique world of wants and needs

What are we seeing in the market?

  • Brands are finding new opportunities to transform what was previously a cost center into a ‘profit from the positive’ center by creating a more desirable and personal customer experience through Chatbots
  • Customer Service and Online Ordering are the most immediate way for retailers to leverage Chatbots. While for consumer brands, creating games and consumer promotions through Chatbots are the way to go. B2B brands and manufacturers are leveraging chatbots primarily to resolve customer queries or answer product/service questions, both before purchase, and during use(See FAQ Bots)
  • Deciding what is good for brands to push through Chatbots and what is good for users is a balancing act. The best guidance always comes from listening to consumers.

What’s on the horizon for Chatbots?

  • Inclusive accessibility is a natural next step for Chatbots. Developers are testing chatbots to help people who are visually and hearing impaired. The ability to design conversation interfaces for those with impairments is an important next step to give users new options to interact with businesses.

Advice Track:

Marketers are facing a new era of choice. Even just two years ago, any conversation at all was the gold standard for advancement in Marketing. But today, we have a new standard that combines both brands and humans in an intelligent collaboration through Conversational AI.

Bridging the gap between human needs and technology, brands beginning today and all the way to 2022 must embrace this technology and adopt this dialogue format as a permanent and significant part of their brand strategy.

Brands must challenge themselves to elevate emotional connections with people; tell stories, inspire action; and connect with people wherever they are in the customer journey. And there’s no better way to do so than engaging with them on the apps and platforms they use every day.

Key Takeaway: Today’s customers are firmly in control of their time, energy and brand connection. Brands and companies that wish to cater to their expectations, must fight to stay relevant. Thanks to Conversational AI, brands can now drive conversations that engage, inspire, and motivate customers to act on their behalf, in an automated way. The best way to implement this opportunity is to hire a conversation agency with a unique point of view.

Briefing Date ###09/19


Paul G. Thompson

Written by

Professional Copywriter helping brands and retailers increase sales and enhance their customer experience using Artificial Intelligence and Human Creativity


HelloScribe is a Conversation Agency helping brands increase sales and customer engagement using Artificial Intelligence and Human Creativity

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