What is Conversational AI?

Learn about conversational AI, its capabilities and how it can transform customer self-service.

Conversational AI

What is Conversational AI? Conversational AI technology uses artificial intelligence to parse voice input, determine intent and respond accordingly. It allows customers to interact more naturally than commonly used menu-driven automated self-service solutions. It can be used to address inbound customer inquiries, as well as to make outbound outreach to customers.

Through the use of natural language processing (NLP), conversational AI delivers a customer service experience that enables your customers to converse naturally, asking questions or making requests rather than using simple keywords or pressing numbers.

Compared to traditional IVR, automated voice self-service augmented with conversational AI delivers significant improvements for customers as well as businesses. IVR powered by conversational AI is often referred to as an intelligent virtual agent (IVA). Customers benefit from a streamlined customer experience where they can simply state their needs and get an answer immediately. Businesses will discover that conversational AI improves their call containment, first call resolution and average call handling time when customers are able to immediately get to the point, without getting frustrated and “zeroing out” to escape the IVR and access a live agent.

What can conversational AI do?

No matter what industry you’re in, IVAs with conversational AI can be trained to handle all of the applications your traditional IVR might handle: checking account balances, claim status, order tracking, simple payments, password resets and more.

Properly trained conversational AI can also handle many tasks that are too complex for traditional IVR, and would otherwise require a live agent. For example, conversational AI can help a customer reschedule an appointment, while a traditional IVR might only be capable of providing an appointment notification.

And conversational AI can detect when agents need to step in. For example, some customers may be very comfortable filing an insurance claim with an IVA collecting the details, while others may need a live agent to help them manage their concerns - conversational AI can identify these customers by the tone and cadence of their voice and escalate them accordingly.

Benefits of Conversational AI

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Improved Customer Experience

You’re probably already familiar with the benefits of IVR to provide easy, efficient, 24/7/365 customer self-service. IVAs with conversational AI make it even easier.

With a conversational IVA, customers can do even more, faster, and spend less time on the phone, without the hold times that come with waiting for a live agent. They can say exactly what they want and get an immediate response in natural language, no menus required.

Conversational IVA engines also make it easy to offer support in multiple languages, so you can easily provide service in your customers’ native languages.

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Lower Costs

Most companies consider their call center to be a “cost center.” Hiring and training live agents - and ensuring PCI compliance if needed - are costly endeavors.

Automating those tasks with IVA powered by conversational AI allows you to contain more calls and free up your agents to provide better, high-touch service to customers with complex problems.

Hosting your conversational AI solution in our HIPAA- and PCI-compliant cloud also allows you to process payments or personal health information outside the scope of your call center, de-scoping it and your agents from complex and costly compliance requirements.

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Power and Flexibility

AI Fusion™ from Plum Voice enables you to simultaneously leverage the best AI resources from Amazon, Google, IBM, Microsoft and Nuance.  Self-service conversations built on the Plum Voice platform can tap into best-in-class natural language processing that will continuously improve as these providers compete to improve their own AI engines, so you’re never locked into one vendor.

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