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How to Take Your First Steps with Conversational Customer Engagement

Delia Jones | Making Things Happen

Conversational customer engagement is rising.  As customers expect to be able to engage with business across multiple messaging channels, companies are seeking ways to respond.  It's a varied landscape already filled with many players offering chatbots, AI, voice assistants, messaging apps and machine learning.  The explosion has created opportunity, but it can also be daunting knowing where to start.  Happily, it doesn't have to be.  If you want to start engaging conversationally with your customers, there are some simple steps to get you started.

Know what you want to achieve from the conversation

You will of course need to be clear on why you are contacting people and your legal basis for doing so, but once that is established, taking the time to understand your desired outcome will help you design conversational engagements that are successful, efficient and can move the metric you need it to.  Sure, some people love to talk but if your customers want to get to the resolution point quickly, knowing what that point is will allow you to design a direct route to it.

Minimise conversation blockers

When you are designing any kind of conversational flow don't add lengthy text or additional questions just because you can.  Remember you aren't trying to replicate a phone call or email conversation.  Using conversational channels comes with its own rules and expectations.  Embrace the new channel but always be mindful of the image you want aligned with your brand.

Allow for flexibility

If you don't require an exact match for a response, then don't demand it.  Utilise tools that give you the power of natural language understanding to respond and route your customer conversations appropriately.  Ensure your default handling is configured for when things don't go as planned and focus on minimising frustration.

Be proud of your bot

If you're designing a chatbot then be honest about the fact that customers are engaging with your personally designed bot.  You can have some fun here by allowing your brand's personality to shine through in the bot's language.  Understand why you have created your bot personality and ensure It is true to your brand.  Where feasible give customers the option of chatting to a human advisor, ideally using a system that allows you to seamlessly migrate customer conversations between your digital and human advisors.

Finally, give it a go!

Many companies know they want to implement conversational abilities with their customers but are unsure where to start.  Choose a single process that is causing you pain today, perhaps one that is resulting in a higher than desired inbound call rate, get a few advisors ready to handle via a conversational platform and allow the conversations to start.

 

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