Humanizing Customer Experience Conversations are the easiest, most personal and fulfilling way to facilitate interactions between the brand and the consumer

By Nishith Patnaik

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What is the first thing that comes to a human's mind when we plan to do any of the following? Start a friendship, close a sale or seek advisory on an illness.


But are we having these conversations anymore, or are we turning to our smart devices instantly? A shift in traditional human behaviour is the biggest driving force behind digitally-led intuitive customer experiences. Even before we were so heavily dependent on tech, relationships were built for life. So what changed? Technology has sure made our lives simpler, but it has also taken away the human element away from some of these relationships.

While businesses globally have benefited immensely from the myriad of technology solutions, the one thing they really need to focus on is customer loyalty. Business relationships continue to be only transactional these days. And that's not enough When every global study indicates that the majority of brand revenue comes from existing customer sets, customers with a "transactional" mindset is the last thing any organization wants. So enterprises worldwide have gone back to the drawing board and analysed. The emerging trend is simple: the most effective human-to-human interactions will be noticed. The next chapter of customer experience is being written with a Conversational Makeover. Conversations are the easiest, most personal and fulfilling way to get anything done. And every possible brand-consumer interaction can potentially be turned into a personal and engaging conversation.

Couple this with modern tech tools, and conversation instantly become a potent weapon in the customer experience play. Gartner predicts that by 2025 half of the business consumer communications would be driven by conversational interactions.

Here are four ways in which businesses are using the convenience end effectiveness of conversations to strengthen their customer relationships.

1. Businesses are Intruding Into our Personal Space!

Not many of us can stay without texting apps like WhatsApp and Facebook messenger. The need to always stay connected is so innate. And this is what businesses have capitalized on. Making their way into these conversational spaces gives them a chance to build a personal connect with consumers.

Today, communicating with brands has become as easy as messaging a friend. Businesses are coming up with unique messaging solutions as simple as SMSs to leverage channels like WhatsApp which have already gained our trust.

2. Providing Support

Time's running faster than ever. No one likes to wait. Losing any opportunity of assistance will drive customers away from the brand.

Convenience is king. Conversational channels like messaging and voice assistants, backed by powerful chatbots and AI engines are helping enterprises provide instant and highly relevant resolutions to customer queries.

This digital transformation has positively impacted the business by replicating human interactions. The power of AI ensures quality responses, ensuring that the candidness of the conversation remains, as the bots work their magic. This ensures an instant boost in brand affinity.

So massive is this shift that a recent industry report predicts that within the next decade IVR systems and phone calls for support would be extinct.

3. Making Purchases

Purchase decisions are usually the trickiest part of the entire consumer journey. One of the most important aspects of physical stores is the presence of trained sales executives who guide us through a purchasing decision. They often turn fence-sitters to buyers.

The advent of online buying lost out on this critical element of sales. Conversational commerce to the rescue! A number of brands use voice assistants like Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant to guide their customers in real-time to make informed purchase decisions. Messaging platforms are used creatively to further assist consumers. Sales executives are slowly and steadily returning in a digital avatar to strike real conversations!

Customers are no longer left in a conundrum when met with a choice of let's say a suite of health insurance plan to buy to protect their family. Realtime digital conversations assist them in choosing a tenure, coverage and the relevant protection that their family needs. And this is just one example. An unimaginable scenario a few years ago is a stunning reality today.

4. Accessing Information

The difference between an amazing ownership experience and an average one is the amount of product information that one has. But the way this information is presented also matters.

How many times have we read through a microwave product manual to know how it works? To acquire a relevant piece of information usually entails getting into long drawn conversations with customer support representatives.

Conversations with voice assistants or chatbots, backed by powerful AI algorithms, however, make this process a breeze.

Amazon Alexa's marketing tagline says "Just Ask". It is actually that simple. It doesn't end there, of course, the systems wait for a response and carry on with further advisory in a natural and flowing conversational pattern.

It is said that the best experience is often a simple conversation. Modern-day conversational interfaces and solutions are making consumer experiences personal again.

The pace at which consumers are demanding these experiences, it might happen much earlier. The world becoming "conversational" is only a few steps away. And it's time businesses got ahead of the curve.

Consumers are watching!

Nishith Patnaik

Co-Founder and Head Product & Marketing, Nhance Now

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