In an enlightening interview, Sedin Gabeljić, a leading expert in the field, shares his insights on the transformative impact of conversational AI in today’s customer engagement landscape. As businesses navigate the complexities of balancing customer satisfaction with maximizing value, Gabeljić highlights how conversational AI is not just a tool but a strategic asset, fostering meaningful two-way dialogues and personalizing customer experiences. This comprehensive discussion sheds light on the significant advancements in AI adoption, with a special focus on the Malaysian market, and the promising future of AI-powered solutions like chatbots in enhancing business efficiency and growth.
What is the role of conversational AI in today’s customer engagement journey and how does it relieve paint points in customer engagements?
Whenever a brand is looking to integrate conversational AI, the goal is to find the balance in keeping customers satisfied while also maximizing value for the business. Conversational AI creates a two-way dialogue between the brand and its customers, fostering a relationship that allows businesses to engage with their customers at every possible touchpoint with ease.
There are many ways conversational AI can contribute to businesses. Firstly, it simplifies the overall customer engagement journey whenever they engage with a brand – therefore making the overall experience a seamless yet pleasant journey. In return, businesses are able to minimise its resources on administrative processes and the back and forth with existing and potential customers.
Conversational AI also assists in providing a personalised brand experience that will strengthen the customer’s relationship and loyalty with the brand. Not only that, it also increases a brand’s visibility when it comes to their presence among various omnichannel touchpoints.
Additionally, conversational AI in customer support enables customers to receive answers on product or pricing enquiries, schedule deliveries and make payments through any of their favourite channels in an instant.
There has been a revolution in AI adoption by brands in recent years to help with customer engagements, can you elaborate more on this trend?
Since the pandemic has accelerated digital penetration, consumers have definitely increased their demand in their interactions with brands or companies on their preferred communication channels, no matter if it’s for marketing, support or sales purposes.
From these demands, brands now need to facilitate a way for them to be easily reachable across all different platforms, which can be challenging because they first need to know where their customers are and their preferred channels.
Through conversational AI, businesses can obtain valuable insights that pinpoint where they should be as well as information on consumer behaviours and performance metrics. Businesses can also find out the area of improvements they’ll need to solve when addressing customers’ pain points in order for them to delight their customers and boost brand loyalty.
IDC have also outlined its prediction that by 2025, 45% of the top 1,000 companies in Asia/Pacific will be utilising artificial intelligence to elevate customer experiences while also improving sentiment metrics and brand upselling potential.
A survey commissioned by Adobe has also indicated that APAC consumers are looking forward on how AI can improve products and services and it was also reported that 40% of brands in the Asia-Pacific have officially integrated it into their businesses.
This is because conversational AI helps address the need for brands to establish a personal relationship with customers. Through this, businesses are now able to provide hyper personalised end-to-end customer experiences with analytics that’ll offer better customer engagement experience. Implementation of conversation AI is also helping businesses to scale their customer service delivery and increase opportunities to up and cross-sell when required.
We also see an increase of 74% when it comes to investments in conversational AI within the banking, financial services and insurance industry where businesses are deploying conversational AI tools to simplify the way users check their balances, raise service requests, block cards in case of fraud as well as utilizing real-time transaction notifications.
What has been the rate of AI adoption amongst Malaysian businesses thus far to assist with customer engagement?
Based on our survey within the “Revolutionizing Customer Experience through the Power of Conversational Commerce” report, 56% of businesses in Malaysia have already utilized CPaaS solutions within their organisations.
This high usage of social media amongst Malaysians was what led brands to adopting conversational AI when engaging with customers, indicating that conversational AI has become essential when achieving top business objectives. We see this particularly in industries like banking, retail and the telecommunications sector, that have already started to adopt this technology.
- Banking: Have implemented conversational AI to allow customers to perform banking transactions through Messenger where they can check their account balances, transfer funds, and pay bills through the chatbot and messaging apps.
- Telecommunications: Began leveraging conversational AI to offer a more personalised customer experience. Usage of AI-powered chatbots allowed customers to manage their accounts, check data usage, and receive support for billing, coverage, or promotions.
- Travel/Tourism: Started utilising AI to address customer queries and provide support which also includes the option for customers to check on flight bookings, cancellations and other inquiries through Messenger as well as other messaging app.
Despite the interest in AI, there are still uncertainties from brands when it comes to its implementation. What should brands note on the benefits of AI adoption, to overcome their concerns?
Adopting AI is becoming an essential component for businesses aiming to digitalise their customer service delivery. With varying platforms offering many different solutions, not all are equal, and this may be the cause of why businesses are slow to determine if adopting AI is the right move for them.
It is important to note that with the right solutions, brands can meet the expectations of digital natives and deliver the experiences they seek. The following are some of the factors brands should take into consideration if they are still uncertain over adoption of AI:
- Omnichannel capabilities: Brands can consider choosing a platform that empowers them to connect with customers on their preferred communication channels, equipped with AI offering. This can be through voice, video, social media, and messaging solutions, can help deliver high-quality service for your customers.
- An ecosystem-first approach: They should look to partner with a platform provider that has created an ecosystem of developers, managed services providers and system integrators because it is essential to deliver an integrated and immersive experience that customers demand.
- A focus on innovation and a rapid release cycle: Work together with a solution provider that frequently releases new features and functionalities, particularly in areas like AR/VR, conversational AI and analytics, so they can stay ahead of the competition.
- Integration capabilities: Brands should select a platform that can integrate with their current ICT systems, including CRM, CDP and supply chain systems. This is crucial for providing a better customer experience, as well as, for ensuring compliance with organisational security and audit policies.
- Speed and agility: Brands should assess their partner based on functionality, references and track record. Take into consideration of the platform provider’s agility and ability to support new use cases to drive business growth.
What is the outlook for conversational AI here in Malaysia?
Following the interest of conversational AI within the local landscape, we can see that there are definite opportunities in Malaysia for businesses to discover its potential. This will positively impact the rate of digital penetration and we hope that it will continue to spur its adoption and business growth.
Thus far, 73% of Malaysian organisations surveyed in an Infobip study already plan to increase their communications platform spending over 2023/24, aiming to leverage conversational AI to offer distinctive and immersive customer experiences. The same can be said for Asia Pacific overall, where we see 70% of organisations looking to increase their spending in SaaS-based Conversational Commerce Solutions.
Is there an AI-powered chat assistant equivalent offered by Infobip, in view of the increase in AI adoption by businesses?
Infobip has added AI capabilities to our existing chatbot building platform – Answers, which means customer now can combine best of both worlds, keyword based chatbots and the power of AI.
Considering our chatbots are used by different industries and different departments in the company, it’s important to provide flexibility to our clients to choose what fits their use case. Our existing clients confirmed that this combination is a winner and has provided immense value to their businesses.
What are the opportunities and business potential Infobip foresee through enabling chatbots with AI, in line with this trend for AI implementation?
Through AI powered chatbots, businesses will get the opportunity to enjoy varying benefits such as:
- Time Efficiency: AI chatbot capabilities significantly reduce time to resolution for customers since it will provide immediate response to their inquiries. For businesses, utilizing AI provides faster implementations and time to market. So, it’s a win-win situation, for customer and businesses alike.
- Actionable Insights: Infobip’s conversational platform equips businesses with robust analytics and reporting capabilities, allowing them to gain valuable insights into their conversational journeys. This data-driven approach enables tracking consumer behaviour, measuring performance metrics, and identifying areas for improvement.
- Cross-Industry Relevance: We are proud that our platform supports various use cases and it’s tailored to the needs of each individual business, from e-commerce, banking, travel and hospitality. It’s up to the business to create engaging journey to support their own customers. Infobip’s expertise and global presence allows us to provide best insights and support customers in Malaysia on best practices to get the most out of their investments in customer engagement tools.
Sedin Gabeljić’s insights offer a compelling glimpse into the dynamic world of conversational AI and its profound influence on the future of customer engagement. As businesses across Malaysia and beyond continue to embrace this technology, the potential for transformative change in how companies interact with their customers is immense. Gabeljić’s perspective underscores the importance of adopting AI-driven strategies not only to enhance customer experiences but also to drive business growth and innovation. As we look ahead, it’s clear that conversational AI will remain a cornerstone in the evolving landscape of customer-business interactions, promising more personalized, efficient, and engaging communication pathways.