Artificial intelligence (AI) is the future of online interfacing whether we like it or not and a failure to understand and embrace the possibilities could have serious consequences for website owners and staff. Some AI assistants like Siri, Alexa and Cortana have been around for a few years now and are becoming increasingly sophisticated and useful, while newer models compete for attention and prominence on the ever-crowded and expanding space that is the worldwide web.
However, even with the increased degree of complexity and sophistication of these programs, there are still significant limitations and disadvantages to utilising their artificial intelligence beneficially to both business and customer. So how do you make sure that your service competes and provides added value and use to the customer? Here are a few tips to make sure you don’t fall into the most frequent and common problem areas.
Language is one of the biggest problems with artificial intelligence and it operates as a constraining factor on a number of levels:
- If the virtual assistant (VA) cannot understand what the user is asking it cannot respond adequately or accurately;
- A virtual assistant needs to be able to interpret natural language, slang, idiom – even spelling mistakes – plus it needs to understand context and relevance;
- The VA must be able to place the person it is interacting with in some context – so it needs to be connected with information relating to that user that gives it some inkling of what the questions directed at it might mean or refer to;
- It also requires customer data to be able to provide useful responses and answers to queries – it is no use if the VA has to terminate the interaction and refer the user to a human operator at the first query;
- Tone – this might sound like a frill rather than a need but people like to be talked to in a tone that mimics human speech and is not too perfunctory or impersonal. A robotic voice that speaks in a detached and mechanistic manner will not engage a user in the way you would like;
- VAs also need to be able to learn from interactions and be constantly updated and modified as data on their performance and problem areas come to light;
- A better understanding of users’ habits, preferences, behaviour patterns, site visits can also help to accurately target what role a VA might play and where it can be of the most benefit.
This very important aspect of future online transaction needs careful handling. Identifying and programming the right kind of language, links to customer information and behaviour plus constant reiteration, feedback and modification are the keys to success. If you are interested in developing this type of service, why not ring us on +44(0)800 024624 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to get an idea of the opportunities and challenges it might present.