Conversational AI: the gateway drug to full AI adoption

If you’re yet to venture into machine learning, conversational AI will let you test the waters in ways that’ll delight customers and streamline workflows. Han Ma shares examples of brands getting it right.

There’s no denying that we’re on the precipice of a transformative era in marketing artificial intelligence (AI). From improving customer service to revolutionising data analysis, technologies like machine learning and automation are starting to empower business operations across the board. 

But in a sector where human marketers have traditionally run the hard yards, and technological transformation has predominantly sat with the IT team, where can today’s marketers start in terms of turning the AI dial?

Research shows that 76% of senior decision-makers currently believe that AI is fundamental to the success of their organisation’s strategy. By the end of next year, those currently or planning to use AI anticipate an average revenue boost of 39%. 

But many corporates are still struggling to implement available technologies quickly and effectively enough, finding it hard to unlock the initial power of AI without enormous risk and outlay. What marketers really need is simple, easy-to-use tools that they can apply in their business upfront, without a team of data scientists at the helm, and get the wheels of AI turning with immediate effect. 

Luckily, these tools exist in the form of bot interfaces, the next evolution of the ‘chatbot.’

Bot interfaces in action

These digital customer service agents can answer all your customers’ FAQs on a live chat window, or use messenger-based interfaces to convert sales leads, and are – according to Forbes – the ‘game changers’ when it comes to rolling out AI in marketing. They can act as the gateway to larger-scale adoption in your marketing department – without unprecedented risk or resources. 

The benefits that conversational AI can bring – both internally and externally – are myriad. From improving lead-gen purposes to enhancing the customer experience, conversational AI can help streamline conversations with clients, reduce call centre costs, create a stronger brand personality, provide a better feedback loop, and collect data in the process. 

For example, legal teams in large corporations are using AI messaging channels to automate their document generation processes, cutting the time it takes to get an NDA created from a few days to 10 minutes. These AI-driven bots save time-poor resources and make document generation trackable with a dashboard.

Specsavers has also just announced its conversational interface, which will help troubleshoot orders, answer FAQs and improve brand connection with customers. 

In the education space, Open Universities Australia (OUA) recently implemented a bot interface to support its legacy call centre function. The online tertiary education provider was struggling to train enough advisors to handle an increasing influx of enquiries, and its call centre and live chat offerings only operated during weekdays from 8am to 8pm. With such limited conversation with potential students, leads were getting lost or frustrated. 

OUA launched an AI chatbot to answer student queries 24/7, leading to better conversion and a better student experience. The bot interface is also integrated with OUA’s Salesforce implementation (CRM) to automate lead generation and qualification, ensuring a single source of truth and leveraging existing tools and processes to increase sales. 

These interfaces were integrated without the need for a single line of code and after implementation, OUA’s chat time has decreased by up to 10 minutes, saving 10,000 hours of agent work per year, and garnering 15 extra sales leads every single day.

One small step for AI, one giant leap for your company’s operations

For marketers who traditionally have a lot of text-based interactions with their customers, conversational AI can reduce costs, increase efficiency and improve the customer experience exponentially. And if Moore’s Law still stands, the capabilities of this expanding solution will only increase, inciting further innovations and AI integrations across Australian marketing departments (and beyond). 

There is no need to be an expert in AI or know how to code in order to implement an effective bot interface. All marketers need is a robust understanding of logic and conversation – the technology does the rest. This takes the burden away from the IT department and puts control back in your hands, increasing agility and setting up a foundation for AI-driven culture across your organisation. 

Whether powered by voice or text, conversational AI is the perfect first foray into the world of intelligent tech – one without risk, large investment or unfounded resources. If we can use this AI as a service model to remove the barriers to entry for businesses, we can advance the field of marketing AI exponentially.

Han Ma is founder and CEO of Rebotify.