From Q-and-A to Two-Way: Conversational AI is the Future of Voice Assistants
Conversational AI represents the future of voice assistants. Don’t believe us? Just ask The New York Times.
In a March 15, 2023 article – “How Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant Lost the A.I. Race” – Times reporters Brian Chen, Nico Grant, and Karen Wise very effectively described the modern marketplace for voice assistants and where it’s headed. By examining the latest developments in artificial intelligence (AI), the Times correspondents show how virtual voice assistants such as Siri and Alexa squandered their early advantage and left room for the rise of chatbots that use Conversational AI technology.
Chatbots are, indeed, a different kind of virtual assistant. Through the power of newer Conversational AI, chatbots are rapidly improving. Nowhere are these advances more evident than those seen in virtual assistants. While Siri and its brethren have repeatedly run into technical roadblocks, chatbots have consistently advanced through their use of large language models.
Large language models provide the ability to identify and produce accurate language responses based on incredibly broad data sets. Instead of the simple “command-and-control” capabilities offered by Siri and Alexa, chatbots are now able to have two-way conversations that encompass the vagaries that typify most human interactions.
“Is it going to rain?” and “Play music by Taylor Swift” are limited requests that Alexa and Siri can handle. It’s the next level of conversation – what AI industry leaders are calling “Complex Voice” interactions – that they aren’t able to engage.
Nowhere is this new AI-fueled reality more evident than in the customer service experience. When modern consumers initiate a customer service inquiry, they expect more than just “simple” voice directives – they want “complex voice” engagement that’s customized to their unique, multi-layered needs.
Complex Voice lets consumer-facing companies adapt to this new world with enhanced voice-enabled virtual assistants. Using Complex Voice, virtual customer service agents can immediately understand the consumer’s expressed needs and respond with the right answers to specific questions. This connection happens instantaneously, via the channel that remains the preferred means of most customers’ inquiries: the phone call.
Virtual agents have now achieved Complex Voice capabilities. When you call your bank, the virtual agentcan answer the question, “What are my refinance options?” When you call a retailer, the virtual agent can engage in a Complex Voice discussion involving various fashion options.
From our perspective at SmartAction, Conversational AI has rapidly evolved, both from a capability standpoint and from a cost standpoint. In fact, it’s the most rapidly evolved technology in the contact center today. This is not the voice automation experience of even three or four years ago where even single-word command barely worked (and it still costs you an arm and a leg to implement). Artificial intelligence is changing the way customer service teams work. AI-powered solutions will make interactions much more efficient by “seeing” patterns that people can’t easily recognize, applying resources and the responsive information that’s most valuable. The pairing of voice agents and AI enables Complex Voice communications, bringing new levels of customer engagement that will benefit on-demand consumers—as well as the innovators who take the time to carefully design and optimize these approaches for their customer service programs.
Conversational AI – exemplified by Complex Voice interactions – is clearly where the industry is heading, with chatbots and voice assistants coming together to enable human-level dialogue capabilities. It’s gratifying to see that the New York Times agrees with us!
Since 2002, SmartAction has helped 100+ industry-leading brands streamline their contact centers and take their customer experience to the next level through AI voice, text, and chat.
Discover why we’re the top-rated Virtual Customer Assistant solution on Gartner Peer Insights and have been named “The Leader in AI-enhanced Self-Service,” by Frost & Sullivan.
GET IN TOUCH