Using data from +125 million automated interactions, we identified key customer behavior trends to help you prioritize CX investments and plan for 2023.
Everyday examples of conversational AI
With all the talk about generative AI and ChatGPT, it’s easy to forget about other types of AI that are just as useful in everyday life — if not more so.
For example, conversational AI can be used to power customer service chatbots so they’re actually conversational, instead of using pre-set scripts.
But did you know it’s also used for a variety of other applications across a multitude of channels, devices, and platforms? In fact, you’re probably interacting with it more often than you think.
Check out these prominent examples of conversational AI in day-to-day life.
- Conversational AI mobile assistants
- Conversational AI voice assistants
- Conversational AI chatbots for customer support
- Conversational AI for call centers
- Conversational AI for in-app support
Conversational AI mobile assistants
On your phone
Whether you're a diehard Apple fan or an Android-for-lifer, your phone likely has a voice-powered assistant that uses conversational AI to understand and respond to what you’re saying.
This includes asking questions, such as, “Hey Siri, what’s the weather today?” to which Siri might respond, “Today in Radiator Springs it will be clear and sunny with a high of 92 and a low of 64.” Or you could ask, “Hey Google, where’s the closest Starbucks?” and your phone will give you directions.
You can also give your mobile assistant directions. For example: “Hey Google, set an alarm for 7:30am.” Your Android will understand, take action, and confirm with a response, such as, “Okay, setting an alarm for 7:30am.”
In the case of mobile assistants, the conversational AI technology uses voice recognition to understand questions and commands. It can be activated by saying, “Hey Siri/Google/Bixby,” or by holding a button, usually on the side of the phone, which will prompt the mobile assistant to ask, “What can I help you with today?”
This kind of open-ended question requires NLP to understand the meaning (or intent) behind your words, as opposed to a basic rule-based conversation flow that relies on specific questions and answers.
Conversational AI voice assistants
In your home
Smart home devices like Amazon Alexa, Google Nest, and Google Home are also examples of voice-activated assistants that use conversational AI to interact with people every day. If you have one (or more) of these in your home, you can use it to do a variety of things — for example, listen to music, podcasts, or the news. In addition, you can use conversational AI to check the traffic before you leave for work, create a daily schedule, set reminders, or control your home thermostat. You can even ask it for facts and information, sports scores, or translation.
With some simple updates to the settings, smart home assistants can also find and purchase items online. Alexa, naturally, connects to the user’s Amazon account and will suggest recommended or frequently purchased items and learn user preferences with repeated orders. Google Home users can order from participating Google Express retailers including Costco, Whole Foods, Walgreens, and more. Getting started is easy. Simply say, “Ok Google, how do I shop?” Or, jump right in with a request such as, “Ok Google, order dog food.”
Thanks to conversational AI, these applications can understand and take action on more complex commands, making it easier for users to manage their day-to-day lives. If you know how to make the most of a voice assistant, it’s almost like having your own personal assistant.
On your device
If you own an Apple TV, Amazon Fire Stick, Google TV, or Google Chromecast device, you can use the same voice assistant to show-surf, saving the hassle of typing out search inputs one letter at a time. With conversational AI embedded into the remote, press a button and say the name of any TV series, movie, genre, or channel and the device will show you what you're looking for. Use your voice to control things like volume, language, and closed captioning.
Conversational AI chatbots for customer support
When you need help
Probably the most common example of conversational AI in everyday life is the customer support chatbot, which can be found on almost every customer-facing website these days. You know the chat window that pops up on the bottom right side of your screen? That’s the one.
Not all chatbots are created equal. Many still use basic rule-based conversational flows, which makes it harder to get help. With conversational AI chatbots, you can use regular, everyday language — saving considerable effort and frustration. Here are some best-in-class examples.
Retail and ecommerce
The retail industry has really leaned into conversational AI, especially with the rise in online shopping that started during the pandemic and seems to be here to stay. Leading brands like Shapermint, Indigo, and IPSY use conversational AI to automate personalized, on-brand experiences on their websites or in their apps. That means you can get speedy and satisfying support without waiting for an agent.
Some brands, like H&M and Google shopping, are even dipping their toes into generative AI for customer support.
Travel and hospitality
Many travelers prefer to plan their own trips these days, which makes self-service a must-have for modern travel brands. Use conversational AI travel bots to answer key questions, make or update bookings, check flight status, and add ancillary products to your reservation. A good example of this is Air Asia, which added a conversational AI chatbot to their website and reduced customer wait times by 98% in just four weeks — while offering support in 11 languages.
Many people prefer to do their banking online, which is why many banks have invested in conversational AI for websites and apps. Use it to quickly find answers to common questions, report fraudulent charges or a lost card, or even open a new account. Qapital, for example, uses conversational AI to provide first-rate support for their mobile-only banking service. With more than half of customer inquiries being resolved through self-service, Qapital’s agents are able to prioritize high-value issues.
When you need to reach an agent
Conversational AI for escalation
Conversational AI can act as a first point of contact, collecting information to pass along to a live agent. This includes basic information such as your name, account number, and the reason you need help, as well as more detailed information such as your insurance policy number and claim details.
This saves you the time (and annoyance) of having to repeat information you’ve already provided and lets the agent jump right in and start helping, so you can get what you need — and get on with your day, faster.
Conversational AI for call centers
Remember the voice recognition technology we were talking about earlier? It's not only for mobile assistants and smart homes. Call centers are also using conversational AI to automate conversations — and we’re not talking about the outdated menu trees you used to have to navigate to reach an agent.
Modern interactive voice response (IVR) systems use conversational AI voice bots to manage calls quickly and efficiently. No more waiting on hold for an agent.
Thanks to NLP and ML, these bots can understand what you mean — even if you use slang, dialect, or have a heavy accent. As a result, the conversation feels more natural and human.
Conversational AI for in-app support
In the era of instant gratification, many businesses are entirely app-based. It started with ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft but has now extended to all kinds of services, from TaskRabbit to DoorDash.
Conversational AI elevates automated conversations within apps or via popular messaging channels so you can get help right there on your phone screen, right away. It’s quick, convenient, and easy.
Sarah Fox is a scuba-diving, animal-loving journalist turned content marketer. In her career, she’s covered stories on development, written profiles on notable philanthropists, and interviewed celebrities with a passion for giving back. When she’s not producing content for Ada, Sarah’s likely fawning over her dog somewhere in the woods.