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by Samir Patel

Why Chatbots?

Every day billions of people turn on their phones and computers to access Messenger, WeChat, Slack and other platforms to connect to each other. With the increasing shift to digital engagement, we are beginning to do the impossible; have computers understand natural language. Companies have brought this technology to consumers and they love it (unless someone is named Alexa). If you think a speaker acting as your DJ is exciting, imagine having the same power in your workplace.

In this world, there are many benefits to an enterprise Conversational AI strategy and ways to maximize those gains.

Benefits of Conversational AI

Conversational AI (henceforth, “CAI”) has the ability to unlock hidden value in the top- and bottom-lines at companies globally. What is this potential and where does it come from? By accurately connecting users’ requests to desired objectives, “CAI” takes a cleaver to the number of steps and duration in otherwise laborious, manual processes. Let’s look at some of the factors driving value:

1. Quick Results

Imagine that you are a maintenance worker who fixes machines with your best friend. Your worst enemy is the 1000-page manual. Rather than thumbing through the manual dozens of times a day, what if you could just type in your question and get an answer?

The amount of time saved is meaningful and provides a better user experience.

2. Accurate Results

You are an unhappy customer and you call customer service. You don’t want to be bounced from department to department to receive an unsatisfactory answer. What if it were possible to get an answer in just a minute?

CAI assistants can provide timely, accurate, and tailored experiences in many instances, especially customer service.

3. Scalable Results

As a business owner, your company should grow with you. CAI services are available 24/7 in a variety of languages and can handle the increasing number of calls that comes with mass adoption.

Ease of scale and adaption with low costs/automatic responses.

4. Facilitate User Engagement

It’s game-day Sunday and you are a restaurant owner. What if you could message custom promotions to each of your customers for some nice and spicy buffalo wings? With CAI, you can pique the palate of your clients instantaneously; and with a few taps of your fingers, your customers enjoy the tasty orange goodness.

Meet your customers on their terms and make it easier for them to engage with you.

5. Machines Adjust to Users

Imagine that you have a new IT system in place—great functionality, but it requires lots of maneuvering. CAI enables the end-user to place requests to the system and obtain responses, transferring the onus of execution from human to machine. This benefit can be applied to systems of all sizes, raising the prospect of revitalizing antiquated processes.

Minimize navigational and execution difficulty for your user.

6. Positive User Experience

This might be the biggest factor and strength of CAI. As a purely human-centered technology, its main focus is to allow the user to benefit from the usage of natural language to reduce frustration, time spent, and complexity.

Make your customers and employees happy!

How Conversational AI Can Help You Generate ROI

If you’ve read this far, then you probably know that I love TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms) so let’s chat about how CAI (conversational AI) can get you a large ROI (return on investment). To make sure that you get the most bang for your buck, I will introduce some of the essential components to getting your CAI system up and running.

Here are four areas that you should consider when you take that first step towards embracing CAI.

1. Implementation: The Setup Process

You may require external teams to implement the system. When assessing them, be sure to look for technical competence, familiarity with your systems, and, since CAI is a human-centered AI capability, design, and data science skills to build the right application for your business.

2. License: Cost of the Service

You’ll likely be paying for the CAI service on a monthly basis, either in subscription or pay-as-you-go format. Try to understand what it is you’re paying for. Is it an end-to-end service? How flexible is it (channels, etc.)? Are they charging you for “hello” and “goodbye”?

3. Support: Making Sure Your CAI Service Runs Smoothly

As a business owner, you need continuous monitoring and support. Enterprise-grade SLAs (service level agreements) and support/operations are critical to making sure that your application remains healthy and functional. Your service should come with operations/support baked in—no questions asked.

4. Performance: The Effectiveness of Your CAI Solution

Ultimately, the benefits you realize will come from your application working and performing. With a robust, accurate, and quality system you get performance that wins over your end-users.

By optimizing each of these areas, you will realize your ROI in an efficient manner.

3 Stages of Conversational AI Implementation

Now that we have enumerated the costs and benefits, let’s talk about what happens over the lifetime of a CAI implementation. When you are assessing the value of a potential CAI solution, there are 3 typical stages: implementation, cost recoupment, and run rate.

  • Implementation Stage: The solution is being developed and installed into your systems.

  • Cost Recoupment Stage: The implementation has been completed and your CAI solution is live—you are now paying for the subscription and realizing the benefits.

  • Run Rate Stage: The cost of the solution has been recouped by benefits and you are attaining maximal ROI with benefits offsetting operational costs.

The Cost Recoupment stage should ideally be less than one year. You want a solution that gets you up and running as soon as possible, so that your realizable benefits start recouping the implementation costs. The Run Rate stage should see a meaningful ROI, typically over 100%. Of course, these numbers could be much higher depending on your current operational costs and more — and to ensure that the solution has a margin of risk built in, these figures should be viewed as benchmark values.

Final Thoughts

Conversational AI has the power to redefine the way your business operates. I’ve run ROI analyses across different industries and business functions—and the sheer potential is incredible. More people have the opportunity to spend time on tasks that they enjoy while the machines handle more arduous ones.

Ultimately, the most important benefit of this person-centric technology is the positive experience created for the end-user, for which your customers and employees will forever appreciate you. As always, please feel free to get in touch if you have questions or want to chat further!

Try It Yourself

Want to build your own conversational bot? Get started with SAP Conversational AI!

This article originally appeared on the Conversational AI blog and has been republished with permission.