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Conversational User Interfaces, known conversationally as UI, allow humans to interact with a chat or voice interface powered by artificial intelligence. This interface can not only respond appropriately, but it can predict what the user will ask next.

Conversational UIs are making their way into almost every industry and are simultaneously dropping costs to organizations while improving overall customer experience (CX).

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Consumer Acceptance of Conversational UIs

Consumers have been using chatbots for years, and the advent of deep learning and complex AI awareness has made conversational UI available for even wider adoption. To date, consumer acceptance has been widely positive, thanks to increasing consumer demands for instant feedback, particularly within the purchasing and customer service environments.

  • American market research company Forrester reports that 60% of US online adults already use online messaging, voice, or video chat services;
  • Research from global research and advisory firm Gartner predicts that by 2020, customers will successfully manage 85% of their company relationships without interacting with a human; and
  • A study conducted by American Express revealed that six out of every ten U.S.-based consumers say their go-to channel for simple inquiries is a digital self-serve tool, including voice UIs and chatbots. Additionally, more than 35 percent reported reaching out via social channels, and of those, 84 percent say they have received a swift response and/or resolution.

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Conversational UIs Increase Conversions

Industries using conversational interfaces traditionally implement it in customer-facing roles, in the marketing stage, as pre-sales lead generators, or in the post-sale stage, as a customer service option. Verticals lean heavily to industries that sell products or services and can measure ROI in the form of conversions – whether by a sale or consumer satisfaction with an interaction.

  • Conversational UI options can make an organization’s chances of converting a consumer into a customer up to 7x greater;
  • The more “human” the chatbot is, the more likely the user is to have a positive experience, increasing the chances of successful conversion;
  • Within five years, consumers are expected to select services and convert based on AI-driven user experiences according to Accenture.

Chatbots and voice UIs are beginning to find footholds as an aid in achieving goals beyond commercial sales or customer service. These industries are finding new and exciting ways to include custom conversational UI solutions to solve problems that exceed standard customer-based experiences.

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Conversational UI for the Construction Sector

Virtual reality and chatbot technology are benefiting the construction industry by making it easier for architects and engineers to walk through planned builds or builds in progress virtually. Using VR goggles to review 3D models created from blueprints and CAD they’re catching design flaws that might otherwise go unnoticed until post-build. Conversing with a chatbot allows them to gain direct access to manuals and other text chunks and determine if a problem exists, and if so, how best to resolve it.

Construction sector voice and chatbot UI implementation benefits include:

  • Real-time information regarding machinery, team performance, and progress;
  • Easy access to location related drawings;
  • Sharing of contractor, warehouse, and material details;
  • Instant notifications for urgent needs;
  • Confirmation of requirements, permit parameters, and other information;
  • Just-in-time procurement handling;
  • Contractor and subcontractor acquisition and management.

Conversational UI conversion potential for the construction industry is primarily internal, based on swift information sharing and problem resolution between sites, managers, contractors, and vendors.

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Conversational UI for First Responders

Humanizing chatbots is even more critical for public-facing bots dealing with crises. So, while chatbots will never replace 9-1-1 operators, they can be used to help triage emergency calls, increasing response speed and leading to improved outcomes in crises by sorting callers into priority groups and gathering essential information.

Some companies are already building information databases connected to phone numbers to assess location, urgency level, and other relevant factors with a goal of increasing chatbot efficiency for 9-1-1 use.

Conversational UI conversion potential for first responders is primarily goal-oriented. The information chatbots gather can inform first responders helping to assess initial situations, improve safety, and ensure resources from appropriate departments are directed to the caller’s location, whether medical, law enforcement, or fire assistance.

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Conversational UI for the Military

From recruitment chatbot Sgt. Star to a virtual therapist named “Ellie” for U.S. Veterans struggling with PTSD, conversational UI features significantly in the military.

Launched in 2014, to date, Sgt. Star has:

  • Answered over 16 million questions;
  • Maintained a 94% accuracy rate;
  • More than doubled average engagement time to 10.4 minutes;
  • Handled all but 3% of questions without transferring to live chat.

Developed by a psychologist at USC, virtual therapist Ellie is a voice UI combined with a virtual avatar. Ellie’s success in getting returning veterans to open up and share information has increased soldiers’ access to PTSD treatment. The humanized UI has made it easier for veterans to share experiences and feelings than through traditional forms or with a human therapist.

Additional uses for conversational UI in the military include its addition to training and simulation programs, logistics and supply line operations, and more.

Conversational UI conversion potential for the military is primarily training and logistics focused, with UIs implemented for training and simulation programs, logistics and supply line operations, and more.

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Conversational UI for Safety Training

Voice and chat-based conversational interfaces for safety training can increase user understanding of provided information, allow for clarification, and enhance memory function when the information taught requires real-life retrieval and application.

Chatbots have already successfully been implemented in the following areas:

  • FAQ Agents – quick, easy answers to employee queries and helpful, humanized interaction when needed to walk them through unfamiliar routines
  • Onboarding – as an HR department assistant, chatbots and voice UIs can help new employees integrate while encouraging them to complete onboarding tasks such as picking up a secure access key card, participating in safety orientation sessions, or signing up for benefits.
  • Training – using conversational UIs to make handbooks and training manuals interactive can make the learning process feel more human-led, interactive, and even assist with complex topics like sensitivity and diversity training.

Safety training benefits include the chatbot’s ability to help employees with immediate answers to questions or solutions to problems, thereby reducing escalation to a manager – avoiding conflict, speeding workflows, and increasing efficiency and productivity for the employee. Voice or chatbot-based conversational UIs can also deliver reminders tied to schedules, ensuring safety procedures are carried out correctly and on time.

Conversational UI conversion potential for safety training is primarily HR-driven and employee-facing.

Countless other enterprises are poised to benefit from customized conversational interfaces, as non-sales oriented organizations learn new ways to identify and measure their ROI. Increasing conversions with conversational UI depends on the ability to deliver conversational UIs that feel more human to users, regardless of industry.

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Bill Rice
About Bill Rice
Bill Rice is the Founder & CEO of Kaleidico. Bill is an expert in designing online lead generation strategies and programs. Kaleidico blends web design, development, SEO, PPC, content marketing, and email marketing to generate leads for mortgage lenders, law firms, fintech, and other businesses looking to grow a consumer-direct online strategy.