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Conversational User Experience - 6 Key Design Principles

Conversational User Experience

New channels of interaction are emerging, with voice gaining increasingly more attention, due to the advances in natural language processing and the success of voice platform devices such as Amazon's Echo and Google Home Assistant.

Enterprises are constantly looking out for new channels to manage their customer engagement, and aim at providing frictionless consumer experiences to improve their brand equity.

The advances in voice technology and natural language processing have led to voice assistants or digital assistants that can process queries by voice, and respond appropriately. Digital assistants can range from simple responses to search queries, (example, weather today) to action-oriented results (example, turn off lights, order pizza) on the home front, to ongoing customer support assistance.

Enterprises need to weigh their mode of engagement and assess the right model to engage with their customers, as voice platforms such as Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant, Cortana evolve and mature.

Businesses have started incorporating such voice assistants. In the summer of 2017, guests at Wynn Resorts and a Hotel in Las Vegas will be able to interact with a voice agent through Alexa skills, in their hotel rooms to control lights, room temperature, drapery and television. Additional services are also being planned.

CSS Corp Digital

CSS Corp is involved in building digital assistants with systems of engagement around voice for our customers accompanied by a sharp focus on optimal voice user experience on multiple voice platforms.

Based on our experiences, certain key design principles are crucial in designing an optimal conversational user experience (CUX).

1. Determine your target audience and their need for the voice platform

  • Determine your top search queries and see if a voice interface can help ease the interaction. Choose your use cases carefully with an emphasis on user experience. Model the sequence and determine the boundaries of use cases, without trying to do too much in your first iteration.

2. Choose the interactions carefully, start small and incrementally evolve

  • Curate the experience by carefully choosing the interactive questions and the sphere of interaction. Focus on micro-interactions and see how much of pre-configuration can be helpful. Standardized orders, delivery addresses, payment information, details of the nearest stores and so on can be preset to ease the transaction experience.

3. Automate the routine interactions

  • Interactions and queries related to routine interactions such as repeating standard orders, replenishments, tracking shipment status or readiness, hours of operation for an establishment, are starter candidates for voice automation.

4. Optimize the voice channel experience with short, clear and crisp conversations

  • Converting your web content verbatim into voice, say for instance a FAQ , may not always end up being the right approach. Humanize your content. What is reader-friendly is not necessarily listener-friendly. Customize, iterate and experiment until you get it right for the voice channel.

5. Augment the critical points in user experience on the voice platform by connecting with your other channels

  • Voice assistants should not give the illusion to the consumers that they are trying to replace a human being. Leverage voice apps to augment and even triage customer support. You can provide a chat history to the agents or send the relevant information to a mobile app or via email, and have the customer support pick up the conversation history seamlessly to address outlier scenarios.

6. Learn from the voice channel and incorporate machine learning as needed

  • Leverage machine learning techniques to learn from the curated experiences and evolve them into a self-learning system and continuously iterate. Realize that while machine learning and other models are invaluable, use them judiciously in the customer context. Always remember to supplement them with the human element, with a seamless handoff to other channels (email, chat) as needed. This will ensure to even out any possible friction as you evolve your conversational experience to a more holistic one.

As the conversational economy evolves, voice provides a powerful dimension to customer engagement through a mobile app or through a dedicated listening device. A thoughtful approach to user experience and design is crucial to realize the right optimal conversational user experiences (CUX) for end-users.


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