The new architecture is fuelling the digital transformation of our entire ecosystem, in all aspects of our daily lives.
The systems and applications we interact with, whether directly or indirectly, are created with new adaptive languages, processed in cloud environments, use machine learning and big data, and encourage interaction between corporate systems, sensors and other relevant data sources, all aimed at improving the customer experience.
Improving customer service is what's driving this digital revolution. The leading market players are focused on optimising the customer's journey. A myriad of services are developed to meet the needs of individuals and consumers, resulting in an abundance of solutions that will only continue to grow. All this fosters a continuous cycle of technological innovation in search of the best added-value service.
People are at the heart of all the effort put into innovation.
Accordingly, several solutions are developed to optimise human interaction with technology; all focused on achieving natural man-machine dialogue. Chatbots and virtual assistants are gaining popularity in the market, as are text-to-speech capabilities and even voice command apps. Services and brands are fuelling this wave of innovation.
Using features such as deep learning, big data and natural language understanding (NLU), developers create conversation platforms to generate conversational user interfaces, chatbots and virtual assistants with different forms of usability, offering integration into chat interfaces, such as messaging platforms, social media, SMS, live website chat, and other chat interfaces. A conversation platform has a developer API so that third parties can expand it with their customisations and add-ons, generating already popular forms of use, in particular:
• Virtual Customer Assistants (VCAs) – automation of call centre chats or even voice-based communication, which usually includes escalation mechanisms for humans to take over.
• Virtual Enterprise Assistants (VEAs) – conversational interfaces for employees to simplify their access to and engagement with the company and its systems.
• Virtual Personal Assistants (VPAs) – generalist assistants for users that broker first-, second- or third-party services and knowledge, deployed on consumer or dedicated devices.
• Chatbots – chat agents that are typically task-oriented, for example focusing on scheduling, ordering food or making a reservation, and designed for all audiences.
For strategic consulting company Gartner, today's customers expect more from virtual customer assistants (VCAs) and chatbots. The failure of pilot projects in the past has led to more mature solutions that have a significant impact. The underlying technology and methodologies used to develop bots and VCAs have evolved rapidly in recent years, alongside user expectations and the breadth of success stories. AI is already incorporated into chatbots, VCAs, conversation UI, and the IoT, thereby increasing the usability of self-service interfaces.
These are the foundations for the evolution of B2C as well as B2B channels. With greater or lesser sophistication and the ability to effectively tackle problems in personalised customer service, innovative solutions are adopted by companies in all sectors to optimise resources and improve the customer experience.
The future is here and it undoubtedly involves natural man-machine interaction.