By Rob Starr, Big4.com Content Manager
EY is preparing for conversational commerce – intelligent, conversational messaging experiences for customer self-service . The technology enables transactions through conversations on messaging and voice interfaces. It resolves common requests and allows for self-service with a combination of machine learning and automation. The platforms better service consumers and reduce costs. David Nichols, EY Americas Innovation and Alliance Leader, answered some questions.
What is conversational commerce all about?
Conversational Commerce is about companies meeting their customers where they are…. on social media and chat platforms. It uses natural language interfaces to interact with people, brands, or services. We believe Conversational Commerce will be very significant to the vast majority of B2C companies (and government agencies) in just about every industry sector. Most of these companies / agencies have many more social media followers than they have app downloads. Leveraging these channels to increase their customer interaction in new ways is the logical next step.
How does it work?
It starts with a message initiated from the consumer and concludes with a respond from a messaging “bot”. The interaction can be a simple ecommerce exchange (i.e. – ordering food) or resolving a customer service related question. The exchange can be one or many message /response exchanges. The consumer will have the same experience as if they are communicating with a person on the other end that has some knowledge about them and their preferences.
What need does it serve?
The benefit to the consumer is a quicker and more accurate interaction with a company that’s more personalized because of the natural nature of the exchange. The benefit to the company is a better customer experience and brand loyalty which ultimately drives greater sustainable revenue.
What is EY doing to get involved?
We are having some collaborative conversations with strategic and innovative companies that have developed solutions that allow us to build Conversational Commence solutions. We also are developing industry and company specific use cases and are actively discussing these with numerous clients. Our clients are very interested and excited about the potential. To support this growth, we are training approx. 150 people on these platforms with plan to scale as quickly as needed.
What’s in the future?
We believe that in the near term, companies will start to redirect their consumers / customers towards social media channels and away from mobile apps for simple and predictable exchanges. Down the road, the more complex exchanges (those that need to understand some degree of customer “intent”) will be incorporated into Conversational Commerce solutions using cognitive computing, Artificial Intelligence, and Robotic Process Automation. We are integrating all of these solutions in the EY Conversational Commerce solution portfolio.