Strategy

Top 7 new Alexa updates for marketers

Top 7 new Alexa updates for marketers 1800 1200 VUX World

Amazon recently announced 31 new features for Amazon Alexa. Here are the top seven for marketers. read more

A tell tale sign that you need a conversational AI strategy (don’t make the same mistakes as you did with social)

A tell tale sign that you need a conversational AI strategy (don’t make the same mistakes as you did with social) 1800 1200 VUX World

Here’s a tell tale sign that it’s time to put together a proper conversational AI strategy for your company.

a sign that you need a conversational AI strategy

Click on the image to download the high res version

Voice and conversational AI is in danger of going down the same route as call centres, websites and social media did in the early days, leading to sunken costs, inefficient management, poor customer experience and ineffective results.

You’ll avoid this with a proper conversational AI strategy that’s woven into your core organisational strategy, but you first need to spot the signs that it’s needed.

The Problem

Remember when companies used to have multiple Twitter accounts that catered for different customer needs? One account for customer service, another for news and updates, another for recruitment.

These accounts weren’t set up because of a need from the user to have fragmented access. Users don’t need or want to have to deal with multiple different Twitter accounts to get their query resolved. Just like they don’t want to have to call different phone numbers to speak to the right department or search multiple different websites to get what they need.

Fragmented, channel-specific implementations owned by individual teams shows that there’s a potential customer need and an awareness from parts of the business of an opportunity. But it comes at a cost to the customer and the business if it’s not managed centrally as part of a proper purposeful strategy.

History repeats itself with voice and conversational AI

History does repeat itself and we’re seeing the same things start to happen with voice and conversational AI. Multiple teams deploying their own in-channel conversational AI.

The social media team might have a Facebook bot. The marketing team might be experimenting with Alexa and Google Assistant. The IT team might be working with Customer Services to implement an IVR bot and the Digital Team maybe working on a chat bot for the website.

There is nothing wrong with having multiple bots across multiple channels. In fact, this is inevitable when you implement a conversational AI strategy. The problem is when all of those bots are managed independently by a whole load of different teams, with different purposes, different cultures and different goals.

The drawbacks of a siloed voice and conversational AI strategy

Having multiple bots managed by multiple teams means that:

  • Customers have an inconsistent experience. Both in terms of what they’re able to do i.e. if the website chat bot doesn’t do the same things as the Facebook messenger bot, and in terms of how it interacts i.e. different designers working to different briefs producing different customer experiences across each channel.
  • Data is fragmented. If your Facebook bot is sending data to your social team, your Alexa skill to your sales team and your chatbot to your web team, you’re not gathering learnings from across the board. You can’t understand how effective conversational AI actually is without going to three different places to view the details.
  • Business value is untapped. If your website chatbot is doing something really well, wouldn’t it be good to extend that into your IVR? Or onto Alexa? Individual departments managing individual channels means that no one is focusing on making sure the business extracts maximum value from the entire operation.
  • It’s more expensive. This one is obvious, but creating and managing conversational AI agents isn’t free. Even if you built them all internally, it costs. You have staff costs, licensing and software costs, potential partnership or agency costs. If you don’t build centrally and deploy across channels, you’ll be spending far more on it than you should.
  • You’re duplicating effort. As well as paying more, you’re wasting resources. All of the AI training, the design, the development, the testing, the analysis, the iterations; all of it duplicated by the amount of bots you have and the amount of teams managing them. For some, that might only be two, but even that is duplication enough. If you don’t have a strategy and you allow any team to spin-up any bot, it’s only a matter of time before you’re duplicating substantial efforts across the business.

Depending on your culture, if you let things go too far down that route, it can be hard to implement a consistent strategy, even if you wanted to. People get comfortable. Defensive, even.

Start with a conversational AI strategy

This is why you should start from the beginning with a conversational AI strategy that has the following:

  • Ownership. As nice as it is to have empowered teams across the organisation, the buck needs to stop with someone. Without a person being responsible for it, you leave too much room for inconsistency, de-prioritisation and chaos. You need a lynchpin, a champion and a driver; without it being someone’s job to own it, make sure it’s a success and steer the ship, you’ll just keep drifting.
  • Vision. You need to know where you want to get to and have a vision for that which you can share with the organisation. Like it or not, individuals within the organisation have their own agendas and influence. You need to be able to enthuse and empower key stakeholders with a compelling vision that the organisation can buy into and support.
  • Objectives that are aligned to core business goals. Yes, it’s fine to experiment and learn. It’s fine to have baselines rather than targets. But all roads should lead to Rome. It should all be done on purpose with the aim of finding value for the business. And it doesn’t have to be cost savings and efficiencies. It can be incremental revenue, loyalty, delightful customer feedback, whatever matters to your business.
  • Standards. Standards for what good design looks like. Standards for how you speak. Standards for the processes you follow. Standards for how you build, test and deploy new use cases consistently across all channels. Standards for the technology you use, build and buy. Standards for the partners you engage with. Standards for how you gather, store and use data. Having standards will allow you to keep quality high and customer experience consistent.

You already have (or should have) this stuff in your digital strategy, it’s a case of iterating it to include conversational AI. Yes, conversational AI should just be part of the wider organisational strategy!

Once you have the foundations in place, you can then plan how you’ll explore, experiment, implement and grow your conversational AI capability across all customer touch points. You don’t have to conquer the world straight away, but you need to start in the right place, with purpose.

You may still have different bots in different channels that specialise in certain areas. They might not all do exactly the same thing, but they’ll have parity where needed and consistency in their appearance and experience.

You’ll save costs and effort, consolidate your learnings easily, as well as be able to move a heck of a lot quicker in response to what you do learn.

A siloed approach works in the extreme short term, but it’ll hurt you eventually. Get a strategy, please.

Automating call centres with AI and Frank Schneider

Automating call centres with AI and Frank Schneider 1800 1200 VUX World

Frank Schneider, CEO of Speakeasy AI joins us to share how you can automate your call centres using conversational AI.
read more

Voice and the TV with TiVo’s Charles Dawes and Patrick Byrden

Voice and the TV with TiVo’s Charles Dawes and Patrick Byrden 1800 1200 VUX World

Dustin and Kane speak with Charles Dawes and Patrick Byrden of TiVo about how they’re helping users discover content through the power of voice, and the future of TV.

Listen on:

Apple podcasts | Spotify | YouTube | Overcast | CastBox | Spreaker | TuneIn | Breaker | Stitcher | PlayerFM | iHeartRadio


Presented by Botmock

If you’re using things like Lucid Charts and Microsoft Visio to design your conversational experiences in, you should check out BotMock. Those tools are business process mapping tools, are limited and will disrupt your rapid prototyping capability. BotMock is a purpose-built conversational design tool that’ll have you rapidly prototyping and testing in no time.

Check it out for free


In this episode

When sitting down to watch TV, 60-80% of the time, people know what they want to watch. The problem is finding that thing. Knowing where to look, what channel to check, which on demand platform to search.

Finding content on TV is hard.

And what about the 20-40% of people who have no clue what to watch? How do they find something relevant? We’ve all been down that rabbit hole of skipping through film after film, trailer after trailer on Sky or Netflix, only to get tired and give up in the end.

These are the problems TiVo are seeking to solve with its voice technology solution.

For those of you in the US, TiVo will be a household name. A verb. And, for those in Europe and beyond, chances are, you’ve heard of TiVo. What you might not know, is that TiVo power the voice capability for Samsung TVs, Sky Q, Virgin and more. So even if you haven’t interacted with the customer facing set top boxes, you may well have used its voice solution.

In this episode, we speak to Charles Dawes, Sr Director, International Marketing, and Patrick Bryden, Sr Director, Customer Solutions about how TiVo are fixing the broken content discovery model through the use of voice.

We discuss the TV landscape and the problems they seek to solve, usage of the solution and how they measure success, the technology used and architecture, personalisation and recommendations, maintenance and constant improvements, and whether the remote control is a thing of the past.

Links

Follow TiVo for Business on Twitter

Visit the TiVo for Business website

Connect with Charles on LinkedIn

Connect with Patrick on LinkedIn

Multi-channel conversational strategies with Nico Acosta

Multi-channel conversational strategies with Nico Acosta 1800 1200 VUX World

This week, Dustin and Kane chat with Nico Acosta, Director of Product and Engineering at Twilio, about how companies are approaching multi-channel conversational strategies.

Listen on:

Apple podcasts | Spotify | YouTube | Overcast | CastBox | Spreaker | TuneIn | Breaker | Stitcher | PlayerFM | iHeartRadio


Presented by

If you’re using things like Lucid Charts and Microsoft Visio to design your conversational experiences in, you should check out BotMock. Those tools are business process mapping tools, are limited and will disrupt your rapid prototyping capability. BotMock is a purpose-built conversational design tool that’ll have you rapidly prototyping and testing in no time.

Check it out for free


In this episode

We chat to Nico Acosta about how he’s observing companies approach their conversational strategy using Twilio’s Autopilot platform. This builds on the episode with Elaine Lee where we spoke about Autopilot from a design perspective. This time, we’re zooming out and looking at how Autopilot can fuel your whole conversational strategy across all channels.

Nico has a fresh perspective on technology architecture, building on conversations we’ve had with Matt Hartman and Charlie Cadbury and providing detail on how to actually build once and deploy across all conversational channels, including voice assistants, chat bots and phone lines.

We discuss some of the parallels and similarities between IVR design and development compared to voice assistant creation, and how the IVR, voice assistant and chatbot industries are converging.

Nico also shares some insights into the kind of use cases that are working well, including a chat bot that automatically generates a website for a small business based on a short conversation. Nico also shares his dream application of Twilio Autopilot, which is all about obliterating being put ‘on hold’ when calling a company.

Links

Follow Nico on Twitter
Check out Autopilot


Become an expert conversation designer

conversational-academy-logo@2x

The Conversational Academy is a fantastic online course that’ll teach you the ins and outs of conversation design. Prepare yourself for the UX role of the future and enrol on the course today. VUX World listeners will save $100 when you enrol at conversationalacademy.com.

Building an assistant on an assistant with Nick Carey

Building an assistant on an assistant with Nick Carey 1800 1200 VUX World

This week, Dustin Coates and Kane Simms are joined by Nick Carey of Potato to discuss the concept of creating an assistant on an assistant. read more

How we made Hidden Cities Berlin with Nicky Birch, Michelle Feuerlicht and Nigel James Brown

How we made Hidden Cities Berlin with Nicky Birch, Michelle Feuerlicht and Nigel James Brown 1800 1200 VUX World

In this episode, we take a deep dive into the creation of the world’s first voice-first interactive documentary: Hidden Cities Berlin for Google Assistant. read more

Voice first brand strategy with James Poulter

Voice first brand strategy with James Poulter 1800 1200 VUX World

This week, we’re chatting to the ex-Lego frontier-seeking, Vixen Labs-venturing, Voice2 fire-starting, voice-first-feasting James Poulter about how brands can, could and should approach voice.

As the ex-Head of Emerging Platforms at Lego Group, James led Lego through their first foray into voice with the creation and launch of the Lego Duplo experience on Alexa.

He also founded the Voice2 What’s App community group with Will Harvey, which is now one of the most active online voice communities. (It’s where we spend a good chunk of our time.)

James is currently CEO at Vixen Labs, a company he co-founded with CCO, Jen Heape, that offers consultancy services to global brands, helping them navigate the unchartered waters of voice.

Where to listen

Apple podcasts

Spotify

YouTube

CastBox

Spreaker

TuneIn

Breaker

Stitcher

PlayerFM

iHeartRadio

Links

Scoring voice experiences with Joel Beckerman

Scoring voice experiences with Joel Beckerman 1800 1200 VUX World


This week, Dustin Coates and I discuss the importance of sound design in voice experiences with the founder of Man Made Music, Joel Beckerman. read more

Make voice core to what you do, not an add-on

Make voice core to what you do, not an add-on 1800 1200 VUX World


Online, you’ve been able to get away with doing the bare minimum. For years hotels just had a website with pictures, you had to call to book a room.

Same for restaurants. Websites used to just show you the place and the menu. To book a table, you needed to call.

In some restaurants, that’s still the case.

The mobile revolution forced some companies to open up their systems. You needed to go a step beyond the shop window and let people actually do stuff. You had to let people transact. That meant creating APIs.

But not everyone did that. Not everyone opened up their APIs. Those that haven’t got APIs or that have old, legacy line-of-business systems provided by incumbent suppliers will have a hard time realising the true value of voice.

Voice has the potential to create huge efficiencies and streamline countless processes, but you need to make it core to what you do and integrate it with the rest of your line of business systems. Will Hall discusses this ‘systems thinking’ approach in detail on the podcast.

Just as a webform causes hassle if it doesn’t have validation or if it doesn’t shoot the request straight into your line-of-business system to kick-off a process, voice will cause just as much hassle for you if it’s an add-on.

You’ll never have enough time to focus on it. You’ll complain that it isn’t working and you’ll either abandon the idea or you’ll keep it ticking over, never truly gaining any benefit from it.

Voice will force you to organise your data like never before. Those who haven’t even thought about what data they have and what state it’s in will have a lot to do.