Strategy

Scaling conversational AI with Roger Dill, Swisscom, and Per Ottosson, Artificial Solutions

Scaling conversational AI with Roger Dill, Swisscom, and Per Ottosson, Artificial Solutions 1800 1200 Kane Simms

Product Owner, Dialogue Management, AI and ML Group at Swisscom, Roger Dill, and CEO of Artificial Solutions, Per Ottosson, share insights on how to scale a conversational AI practice.
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Step up your chatbot and voice assistant game

Step up your chatbot and voice assistant game 1800 1200 Kane Simms

There’s too many average conversational AI implementations that are ill-designed and not greatly useful. Don’t fall into that trap.

This short story is about a generally less than desirable experience with a chatbot, that sums up where I think the industry is as far as a) use case identification (solving real customer problems) and b) conversation design (solving real customer problems successfully) is concerned.

I found a training course online, ran by a conversational AI provider (naming no names). When I clicked to find out more, up popped a chatbot to say hello. A chatbot, powered by the companies own technology, presumably.

Wanting to enquire about the training, I chatted with the bot. The interaction, though, wasn’t what I expected.

Expectations

When I click a button that says ‘enquire’ or ‘contact us’, that triggers the opening of a chatbot, my first impression is ‘cool, I can ask it a few questions’.

Instead, what happened was that I was walked through a lead-gen form. It asked me three questions, said thanks, we’ll be in touch, and bye.

It asked:

  • Name:
  • Email:
  • Company:

The problem?

There are two problems with this:

  1. It’s not delivering on what the promise was when I clicked the button. When I click to contact or enquire, I have a question in mind. I expect to have the opportunity to ask it.
  2. It’s not a better experience than a traditional online form. In fact, it’s actually quicker to fill in a form than it is to use a chatbot for this use case. With a form, there’s no need to wait for bot responses and no need to confirm what you’ve entered. Just type, tab, type, tab, type, return and you’re done.

The biggest problem

Perhaps a bigger problem than choosing an ill-fitted use case, is the fact that the bot didn’t even understand that “Yep” means “Yes”.

For example, it asked me to confirm my details:

Bot: “Here’s what you said… Name: Email: Company: Is this correct?”

“Yep”, I said.

It then confirmed my details again:

Bot: “Here’s what you said… Name: Email: Company: Is this correct?”

Me: “Yes”

Bot: “Great…”

So not only is one of the leading providers of conversational AI technology finding use cases that are slower than an online form for its bots, it’s also not even trained its models on ‘Yep’.

It’s symptomatic of the conversational AI industry

Yet this is symptomatic of where I feel we are right now. Technology-led, headline-grabbing, ‘just build a chatbot’ mentality.

There’s not enough focus or attention on finding the right use case, that’s quicker, easier and better in conversational form. Nor is there much focus on designing highly successful conversations that deliver on that promise successfully every time.

Why ‘containment rate’ is NOT the best way to measure your chatbot or voicebot

Why ‘containment rate’ is NOT the best way to measure your chatbot or voicebot 1800 1200 Kane Simms

Here’s why ‘containment rate’ isn’t the right way to measure the success of your chat bot or IVR bot and the 3 things you should use instead. read more

Top 10 voice marketing mistakes and how to avoid them

Top 10 voice marketing mistakes and how to avoid them 1917 1080 Kane Simms

If you’re considering using voice assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant for marketing, here’s a few things to watch out for. read more

Is innovating first worth it?

Is innovating first worth it? 2470 1274 Kane Simms

Is being first to adopt conversational AI worth it? Or should you wait?

The people that go first tend to make mistakes that the rest of the market can learn from.

The concept of the fast follower is a very real concept, which is that, if you go second, you tend to learn from the mistakes made by the people that go first.

But that’s no reason not to go first.

I’ll give you an example: the very first railroad track was laid in 1821 in Stockton-on-Tees, where I’m from, and it went from Stockton to Darlington.

1821.

The UK, Britain, was benefiting from having railroad transport from 1820, all the way through to 1870. I think the next one might have been in China in 1870, and that was a narrow gauge track, laid by the British.

Yes, now there are far better rail systems, far faster trains. The one going from Shanghai to Beijing was laid and opened in 2011, and gets up to 217 miles an hour with those bullet trains.

India has got fantastic trains, so I’m told. Italy, the one going from Naples to Rome is absolutely rapid.

There are far better systems in place than the ones, and the tracks, that exists in the UK. And that’s because the infrastructure in the UK was laid a long, long time ago. We can’t get massive wide trains that go 200 miles an hour down most of our tracks.

But, we’ve benefited from transporting goods and people for 200 years, and the rest of the world hasn’t.

And so when you relate that back to conversational AI, there’s a lot of people creating conversational AI, a lot of people implementing it, but there’s a lot of people sitting on the fence and thinking “Well, we’ll just wait. We’ll wait and see what happens, we’ll wait to see what unfolds.”

Now, obviously, in the next five years, things will be better. Technology will be better and it will be far easier to do things.

But starting now and being first within your industry or your vertical, means that you get the benefit over the next five to ten years.

In the same way as the UK was getting the benefit of the railroads from 1820 onwards, you too will have the benefit of conversational AI from today onwards, if you do it today.

And the difference with infrastructure that is nailed to the ground and spans across geographies is that it’s very hard to change. Conversational AI; you can constantly improve, you can constantly iterate, you can constantly bring in and out, and swap tools as new and better technology becomes available.

And so there really isn’t an excuse for waiting. There’s no excuse. Doesn’t make any sense.

If you start today, you’ll get the benefit today.

A difference between conversational AI and your website

A difference between conversational AI and your website 1532 850 Kane Simms

One of the differences between conversational AI and, say, your website or most other channels that don’t rely on natural language is that…

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Adding voice to screens with Hannes Heikinheimo

Adding voice to screens with Hannes Heikinheimo 1800 1200 Kane Simms

How you can and why you should add voice capability to your software, apps and screens. read more

How voice AI is disrupting industries with Mike Zagorsek

How voice AI is disrupting industries with Mike Zagorsek 1800 1200 Kane Simms

SoundHound Inc is enabling brands like Mercedes and Mastercard to cause disruption with voice AI. Find out how with VP Product Marketing, Mike Zagorsek. read more

The future of conversational commerce? with David Clark and Tim Atkinson

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Google is rolling out RCS messaging and partnered with BT to bring conversational messaging on Android to life. And it’s good! read more

Your bot’s not an expert, it’s a toddler, and that’s OK

Your bot’s not an expert, it’s a toddler, and that’s OK 1800 1200 Kane Simms

Standford University found that chatbots and voicebots that are positioned as toddlers fair better than those positioned as experts. read more