What's your Conversational Strategy?

Part of our bid to sell Conversation Design technology naturally involves making sense of ‘conversation’ itself and - in terms of digital experience - what benefit it offers. In conversation (ironically, yes) with large corporates recently, and when confronted with conversation as a digital differentiator, a common question emerged among the more progressive-thinking of them:

“What’s the broader strategic application for this conversational thing?”

Any digital transformation consultant worth their salt will know that when addressing transformation of any brand selling any thing, you need to start with the customer journey. It seems really obvious but it might surprise you how many large corporate leaders seldom take the time to take a step back and critically evaluate how their overall customer journey is being impacted at each stage of the lifecycle by their existing touchpoints, specifically digital.

Typical Customer Journey

Part of what makes conversation so compelling is that it kind of fluctuates between being a digital touchpoint in its own right and being complimentary towards other touchpoints, physical and digital. So, when you consider your customers' lifecycle across your touchpoints, the way to consider ‘conversation’ is how it might compliment those touchpoints but also how it might itself extend into owning the customers' attention for periods of time, essentially becoming an additional digital touchpoint.

Let’s consider a multi-channel retailer. Your customer may traverse your touchpoints several times before making a purchase decision. They might visit your physical store to try on an item of clothing or experience the display quality of a television. Then they might mull over it, visiting your website to see specifications to compare against other vendors.

You might want to consider promoting your chatbot in your own app or through a messaging app for your customers in-store. If it’s your own app you may be able to leverage location awareness to enable your bot to prompt the customer to ask it any questions about the product they’re contemplating.

That journey could continue with the customer to their home, perhaps the conversation continues on public transport via a messaging app or your app further still. Later on your customer may switch to one of your other digital channels, your website. Your chatbot is now present, embedded into your website, ready to continue the journey if needed. With context-awareness the bot can see what products you’re looking at on the web page and automatically contextualise its conversation, offering cross-sell and upsell if trained as such.

Now that the purchase decision has been made and the customer has checked out, the bot is on-hand to help them track their order in any of the digital channels previously used. The customer is now in a post-purchase relationship where the bot can assist with any customer support queries the customer may have, or to help drive a follow-on purchase.

And if the bot gets stuck, well, your customer support team is on hand for a seamless handover of the conversation, giving them visibility of the full dialogue history with the bot along the way.

There’s little doubt that the enterprise of the future will need a conversational strategy. There are enough metrics emerging to support that:

For most businesses the overall benefit of conversation (namely chat, but also telephone) has never really been in doubt when compared to prevailing self-service solutions like FAQ content or support forums. However the advent of AI-led automation of conversation means that, now, the great fear of scaling the cost of human resources to deliver conversation - not to mention the diminishing return in quality of conversation as it scales - is no longer so pertinent. Businesses can finally embrace the oldest user interface that we have: conversation.

If you’re a believer in the Design Thinking approach to solving the challenges of digital transformation then your journey towards ‘conversationalising’ your customer experience must start with the evaluation of conversation’s potential role at each touchpoint.

After that, you can immerse your efforts into Conversation Design to tackle each priority touchpoint one at a time, with a holistic view to reference and a clear view on how to achieve consistency of the experience across the entire customer lifecycle.