The financial services and retail industries have already been heavy adopters of conversational AI for sales. The technology is just now starting to take hold in the automotive industry, which is understandable given the high value of car purchases. A company called CarLabs.ai, which was recently acquired by Impel, deals exclusively in conversational AI products for the automotive industry. CarLabs’ artificial intelligence products enable automotive retailers and manufacturers to engage customers with automated, contextual two-way conversations and optimize content delivery and business performance with machine learning and advanced statistical models.
Devin Daly, Co-founder and CEO, Impel said at the time of the acquisition that he sees a growing need in the automotive industry for “exceptional end-to-end omnichannel experiences across the entire customer life cycle.”
Martin Schmitt, CarLabs’ cofounder and CEO, agreed, noting that “automotive is ripe for intelligent automation” and that AI-powered applications have the power to “transform the experience for customers and dealers alike.”
But while there have been some initial successes—and certainly some failings—most companies are at the very early stages of realizing the full potential of conversational AI for sales.
“As we head into 2023, brands are looking to do more with less. AI and automation will only become more important as they seek to increase customer loyalty while reducing operational costs. Our latest research shows that 98% of brands say AI is important to their customer engagement strategy, but only 28% say they’re realizing its full potential.”Rob LoCascio, CEO, LivePerson (A conversational AI platform provider)
Companies are still fine-tuning offers generated via conversational AI and fine-tuning the words that are used, explains Daniel Ziv, VP of speech and text analytics global product strategy at Verint.
“I think it will become a must-have tool for sales and for many other use cases just because of the potential impact and the potential opportunity.”Daniel Ziv, VP of Speech & Text Analytics Global Product Strategy, Verint
Richard Boyd, CEO of Tanjo, an AI technology provider, expects to see companies attempt to shorten sales cycles by using conversational AI in connection with the metaverse and other virtual and augmented reality channels.
“Those who embrace the idea of modeling and simulating a synthetic population of customers before you go out in the real world and talk to them will be more successful than those that don’t do it. Some will use it, some won’t. It will be the high performers who will be successful.”Richard Boyd, CEO, Tanjo
“In economic environments where people have to be much more cautious about their discretionary spending, it becomes much more critical. So companies have to be very, very targeted in figuring out when they want to offer something. I think conversational AI needs to play a role there for almost every vertical.”
One innovation that is just beginning to take hold is the use of video with conversational AI. In November, Aivo launched what it is calling Video Conversational AI, created with Synthesia, provider of an AI video generation platform that turns text into video in minutes. With Video Conversational Al, companies can interact with customers using video chat and virtual AI-generated avatars; the avatars can understand and respond to customer questions in real time and learn with each conversation to become more effective at addressing each customer’s situation.
“We’re very excited to finally launch Video Conversational AI. Brands are eager to keep innovating, while consumers are more demanding than ever. It’s time to take innovation a step further, and we believe that video conversational AI will lead companies in that direction.”Martin Frascaroli, CEO, Aivo
And another area of innovation will involve bringing conversational AI to a level where it can engage large numbers of leads, prospects, and customers in unscripted conversations at scale.
“As the economy continues to change, the old growth model working one customer at a time no longer works. Businesses simply can’t staff to the level needed for one-to-one conversations with every prospect, lead, and existing customer. And today’s buyers are too savvy to be moved by the many one-way message blasts or, worse, scripted bots that are painfully programmed to route frustrated customers to an already overwhelmed human.Jim Kaskade, CEO of conversational AI and automation provider Conversica
Companies must deliver personalized, back-and-forth, human-like conversations to their contacts at every point in the customer journey. Otherwise, they’re leaving revenue on the table.”
He expects conversational AI to welcome in a “new era of business where no revenue opportunity is missed.”