A Preview of the Principles of Conversational Business
Hundreds of millions of people use Facebook Messenger, Kik, WhatsApp and other messaging platforms to communicate with their friends and family every day. Millions more are experimenting with speech-based assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Home. As a result, messaging and speech-based platforms are rapidly displacing traditional web and mobile apps to become the new medium for interactive conversations. If you’re a business, that’s important because it will change every aspect of when, where and how you engage and communicate with your customers.
We refer to the use of messaging apps, speech-based assistants and chatbots to automate communication and create personalized customer experiences at scale as conversational business. Conversational business applications enable long-running interactions with customers via text or voice using the most intuitive interface available: natural language. Conversational interactions are driven by words, whether in full sentences or in a menu. And, unlike social media, they can support engaging, two-way interactions with private audiences. When combined with automation and artificial intelligence (AI), these interactions can connect humans and machines through virtual assistants and chatbots.
Yet the real power of conversational business lies in its ability to simultaneously carry out highly personalized interactions with large numbers of individual customers. Conversational business can fundamentally transform an organization, providing more ways of communicating with customers, while facilitating stronger interactions and greater engagement.
Consumers are already using conversational business platforms in place of email, phone calls and face-to-face communication to talk with family and friends. Younger people, in particular, tend to prefer messaging over other forms of communication. Not only that, social events are being organized via messaging apps, traditional texting is giving way to more functional and secure messaging applications, and early adopting consumers are using voice interfaces to make purchases.
Today’s consumers expect to be able to communicate with businesses on their favorite chat platforms, using text and voice, just as they currently do with friends and family. They want to do so because it’s easier, less intrusive and quicker than using other communication channels. For businesses like yours, that means you have to be able to hold seamless, synchronous conversations with consumers across whatever channel they happen to be using at the time, no matter where they are. Importantly, those conversations could be a short one-o request or response, or part of a longer-running customer engagement.
As conversational business becomes a business imperative, you need to be thinking about how to best prepare your organization for it.
To help frame your thinking about this topic, we have put together a white paper that outlines the principles of conversational business. Those principles are:
- Identify where you’ll have the greatest conversational impact
- Understand your audience
- Build complete experiences
- Content enables conversations
- Capture user context
- Design for conversation
- Personify your business
- Bot or not?
- Keep private conversations private
To learn more about them, and to access a framework for applying them to your organization and a maturity model that you can use to measure organizational progress toward conversational business and more, read our white paper, “The 9 Principles of Conversational Business: How to Achieve Personal Interactions with Your Customers at Scale.”