The concept of using virtual assistants and chatbots on business websites and social media platforms is becoming less of an option and more of an expectation. Companies now actively use these tools when interacting with their customers and engaging them in conversations.
Natural-language interactions have become an essential part of the development of smart applications and interactive support modules. By broadening the reach and engagement levels of these automated solutions, companies can implement new strategies to keep pace with the growing needs of their customers.
But adopting these new technologies and optimizing them for accuracy and adaptive learning are two very different things. Here’s where the focus on conversational user experience (UX) comes into play.
What Is Conversational UX?
While UX can be broad in scope, conversational UX focuses on creating the most effective interactions between technology and humans. As big brands like Amazon, Google, and Apple continue to pave the way for new developments in artificial intelligence (AI)-driven technology, voice-enabled apps and chatbots continue to gain popularity for both business and consumers. Although these new technologies have powerful capabilities, it is becoming more critical they function efficiently, providing continuous value for all users. Conversational UX helps create a seamless experience with these voice and text-enabled solutions, making their automated nature feel more natural and intuitive when being used.
Fundamentals of Conversational UX Development
Over the years, enhancing the way we communicate with machines has opened many doors in new automation and improvements in our current technology. But how we communicate as humans is really what drives better performance in AI-driven models. Conversational UX frameworks place importance on creating a symbiosis between humans and machines, helping them to learn from each other effectively while creating mutual value through conversation. This is achieved by focusing on the core fundamentals of conversational UX development:
Engagement – Conversational UX begins with recognizing individual user needs and presenting intelligent solutions, without the need for user-initiated dialogue. This is accomplished by tracking and learning what users are searching for and proactively offering helpful advice to lead them through their customer journey.
Cognitive Learning – In order for virtual assistants and chatbots to be effective, being able to recognize the user’s “intent”, at all times, is critical. This requires steps be taken to develop the machine’s ability to intelligently recognize semantic searches.
Relationship Building – No different to how human relationships are established, trust is one of the key components to establishing long-term value in your conversational UX. This is achieved by encouraging mutual exchanges over time that help machines learn from the needs and preferences of the user. This ensures conversations maintain their relevance.
Recognition of Limitations – An important part of conversational UX development is the ability to recognize both user and machine limitations while incorporating remedies. Machines make mistakes, too, and it’s important to find ways to expose these imperfections without diminishing the value of the service. An example of this is chatbots that intelligently recognize when automated dialogues are no longer effective, and seamlessly integrated with human operators.
The Future of Conversational UX
Amazon Echo, Google Assistant, and Apple’s SIRI all helped the public recognize the true value of conversational UX design. With the momentum soaring in this space, businesses will continue to adopt these AI-driven technologies to provide long-term value to their customers. Millennials have shown that they need companies to be responsive in the channels they prefer, and that responsiveness needs to be quick and concise.
AI-driven technologies help businesses answer growing demands by providing automated solutions that handle everything from sales support to social media marketing. As brick-and-mortar stores, restaurants, and multiple industries continue to adopt newer voice-enabled and text-based AI solutions, it is becoming even more important that conversations remain seamless and sustain long-term user value.
How Companies Are Using Conversational UX
Over the last decade, there have been several companies that have fully adopted the importance of conversational UX in their branding initiatives. As text-driven chatbots and voice-driven virtual assistants have been the primary focus for businesses looking to develop conversational UX, here are good examples of how businesses are getting it right.
Companies Using Chatbots
Icelandair – Back in 2016, Icelandair announced that customers can book their flights directly through Facebook Messenger. The new and simple way to book flights helps customers quickly navigate through the booking process, answer all the questions they have, and seamlessly move to secure payment processing. They can even book stopovers and get information on local sightseeing while enjoying the convenience of using the messenger platform.
Uber – Uber has a powerful application programming interface (API) that enables Facebook Messenger to act as your personal concierge when booking a car service. More than this, however, Uber‘s Messenger chatbot encourages ongoing conversations between friends, family, car service providers, and Uber’s support team.
Slack – Slack is an extremely popular collaboration hub where virtual office conversations happen. What makes Slack extremely unique, however, is its use of “slackbots”. The integrated chatbots offer limitless possibilities when it comes to automating internal communications and help companies bridge the gap between internal and external communication, as well as sales processes.
Companies Using Virtual Assistants
Apple – It goes without saying that Apple has been leading the charge when it comes to conversational UX. Siri has been a global phenomenon for quite some time now. Every year this virtual assistant develops even more cognitive recognition features and capabilities and continues to be a leader in its class.
Alexa – Retail giant Amazon introduced Alexa to the world in 2014 and it‘s completely reshaped how customers view their home automation needs. Alexa can not only carry on conversations efficiently but can also greatly improve the way day-to-day tasks are managed.
Google – If you haven’t seen the recent Google Home and Kevin McCallister ad, you’re missing out. Their effort to make Google home just as recognizable of a brand as Alexa is paying off. A cool feature they presented at Google IO allows you to automate appointment scheduling, where it can speak to an actual human and request the dates and times you said worked for you.
Cortana – Microsoft introduced Cortana as a way to help people become more productive. It does this by making interactions personalized and tailored to individual users. How some people use Cortana may be completely different from others. Personalized user data helps Microsoft developers leverage things such as food preferences, locations, and personal calendars to provide the most intuitive conversational UX for its user base.
Conversational UX is an important consideration for any business looking to maintain relevance when investing in text and voice-driven technology solutions. By prioritizing seamless interfaces when structuring human-machine dialogues, you’ll be able to maximize engagement levels while continuing to support a better, more effective UX.