Conversational AI platforms are on the rise. As more and more businesses move towards conversational interfaces, the need for platforms that can handle these interactions grows. And their impact is being recognized. In this year's State of Voice Technology 2022 report, 54% of respondents said that conversational AI is the most impactful use case in speech tech today. In this blog post, we'll take a look at conversational AI platforms and how they utilize top automatic speech recognition (ASR) tools to delight customers with new experiences. We'll also explore some of the problems these platforms solve and some of the most common use cases for conversational AI, as well as how ASR powers them. Before we start looking at how speech-to-text tools can help power conversational AI, let's take a look at what exactly conversational AI is, and how it helps businesses.

What is Conversational AI?

Conversational AI is a type of artificial intelligence that enables computers to communicate with humans in natural language. Rather than forcing humans to learn what kind of commands the system can accept (like pushing a button for a specific service), conversational AI lets people speak normally, and replies in kind, just as quickly as another human would.

Conversational AI is a direct evolution of interactive voice response (IVR) systems, where callers push 1, 2, or 3, or say basic information like their account number as part of their interaction with telephone trees. But conversational AI is far more advanced. By creating a voicebot or a virtual assistant, conversational AI allows the system to respond intuitively and naturally, rather than being constrained to following specific paths down a tree.

These technologies allow customers to interact with a company to solve their own problems, rather than requiring that a customer service agent answer every call. Imagine if navigating through a phone tree were as easy as explaining what you needed-that's the goal of conversational AI.

Why is Conversational AI Beneficial?

There are a number of ways that conversational AI can benefit businesses today, especially given the complex financial environment. Although it can be challenging to create a great conversational AI experience, the benefits make it absolutely worth the effort. Let's look at some of the benefits that conversational AI can have for customers as well as the direct benefits that it can have for enterprises.

Customer Benefits of Conversational AI

Here are three of the biggest benefits for customers when it comes to using conversational AI platforms.

1. Shorter Wait Times

One of the biggest benefits for customers when interacting with a company that's using a conversational AI platform is shorter wait times for issue resolution. Because conversational AI platforms can handle multiple calls at once, and can solve many of the most common reasons people might call, they end up doing a lot of the work, significantly speeding up time to answer. And, even if you do end up needing to speak to a human agent, you'll likely to spend less time waiting there, too, since the conversational AI platform is dealing with lots of the calls that would otherwise bog down human customer service agents.

2. Choice for Engagement

Being able to contact a company on your terms is important to many customers. You might prefer a specific avenue, whether that's Twitter, documentation, help articles, chatbots, or text messaging. Conversational AI provides another avenue that's quick, easy, and doesn't require talking to another person-while also keeping human agents close at hand should they be needed to solve a complex problem.

3. Faster Issue Resolution

Because conversational AI platforms can be built to handle the most common issues-and because they can handle multiple calls at the same time-they result in faster resolution times for customers.

Enterprise Benefits of Conversational AI

The benefits of conversational AI extend beyond just what customers see, however. There are a number of direct business impacts that using a conversational AI platform can have on your business.

1. Cost Savings

One of the main benefits of conversational AI is that it allows businesses to automate tasks that would otherwise require human interaction, thus saving costs. This can free up employees to focus on other tasks and improve efficiency. Additionally, conversational AI can help businesses save money on customer service by providing a self-service option for customers.

2. Increased Productivity

Conversational AI platforms can power dramatic increases in productivity, as they allow companies to handle more calls, more quickly, with less human customer service agents. With the right infrastructure in place, conversational AI platforms can handle thousands of calls at the same time, allowing for the resolution of more issues more quickly with less human agents.

3. Increased Agent Satisfaction

In addition to increased productivity, using a conversational AI platform can also increase the satisfaction of the humans who work in a call center. Why? Because the conversational AI platform handles all of the simple, rote issues like taking payments and updating addresses, and leaves humans to deal with the more complex cases that are more challenging-and more satisfying-to solve.

4. Stronger Customer Service

Effective customer service is one of the ways that companies can help retain customers-and, on the flip side, poor customer service can result in customers really disliking your company. By providing conversational AI solutions, customers will come away happier with their interaction with your business, for the reasons discussed in the section above.

5. Better Insights and Knowledge

Conversational AI platforms provide a way to capture the conversations that your customer service agents are having with customers, which can provide an excellent starting place for understanding what your customers want and need. By turning to this database, you might be able to identify patterns that help you improve how information is presented on your website, create training materials for human agents, or even build new automated workflows for your conversational AI platform to handle.

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