Conversational AI is a subfield of artificial intelligence that focuses on enabling machines to engage in human-like conversation. It uses technologies like natural language processing (NLP), natural language understanding (NLU), and natural language generation (NLG) to comprehend, respond to, and interact with human language in a meaningful and contextually appropriate manner.
Common forms of conversational AI include chatbots, virtual assistants, and messaging apps. These technologies can understand and respond to text or voice inputs from users, carry out specific tasks like answering questions or booking appointments, and interact with users in a way that mimics human conversation.
Here's how conversational AI can be used in various businesses:
Customer Support: Many businesses use conversational AI to automate customer service inquiries, often through chatbots on their websites. These chatbots can answer frequently asked questions, guide users to the information they need, and even troubleshoot problems, helping to reduce the load on human customer service agents.
E-commerce: Conversational AI can assist in online shopping experiences by recommending products, answering queries about products, and guiding customers through the purchasing process. For instance, H&M uses a chatbot on its website to offer style advice and recommend products.
Healthcare: Conversational AI can be used in healthcare to automate appointment booking, provide health advice, or guide patients through health assessments. Some mental health apps use conversational AI to provide therapeutic interventions like cognitive-behavioral therapy.
Banking and Finance: Many financial institutions use conversational AI to answer customer inquiries about their accounts, help with transactions like money transfers, and provide financial advice. For instance, Bank of America's virtual assistant, Erica, can help customers with a wide range of banking tasks.
Hospitality and Travel: Hotels and travel agencies use conversational AI to automate booking processes and provide information about reservations, flights, and accommodations. For instance, Expedia's chatbot can help customers with booking and managing travel plans.
Education: Conversational AI can be used in education for tutoring, answering student inquiries, and providing personalized learning resources.
Marketing and Sales: Conversational AI can help businesses engage with customers, personalize marketing messages, and guide customers through the sales funnel. For example, a chatbot can interact with customers on a website, ask questions to understand their needs, and recommend products or services accordingly.
While conversational AI offers many benefits, including cost savings, 24/7 availability, and instant response to customer inquiries, it also has limitations. It may not understand complex inquiries or regional language nuances, and some customers prefer to interact with humans, especially for complex or sensitive issues. It's also crucial to design these systems with user privacy and data security in mind.