Increasing customer engagement with conversational user interfaces

Water is serious business. And who would know it better than the largest water utility company in the US that services to more than 15 million people every day! In their annual strategy meet, it got decided that the company now wants customers to stop coming to them for queries, information and reporting problems. It would all be digital - online on the web, on their mobile app and only when none of these channels are able to give answers would they call the helpdesk or call center. The vision of a complete customer experience makeover was signed off and search for the right technology partner to implement it began.

Our fresh and innovative idea of using emerging technologies such as conversational UI came across as a genuine effort to build a new and modern customer experience. Rather than a hard sell of technology, our in-depth expertise in new technologies and honesty in our approach to delivering outcomes for the customer won the confidence and we were onboard the project within few weeks.

 

Conversational UI for Customer Experience 

Trends showed that portals and apps were making a sharp turn from menu-based systems to interactive conversations. New tech giants like Amazon, Google, and Apple had opened an exciting world of voice-based customer interaction, and it was becoming very popular with users.

Accion proposed to bring this conversational UI to the water utility company, with the goal of bringing their customer experience to the next level of convenience. AccionLabs also proposed an AI-powered customer app. The app would convey all necessary information to customers - bills, consumption pattern, and how to save on utility bills.

The first step was to understand the client’s legacy technologies and existing architecture. This took time, as the legacy system had multiple customer engagement channels that functioned as silos. There were independent portals and CRM used for billing, water metering, customer care, help desk, etc. The CTO of Accion took a deep dive to understand the legacy approach and began the journey to building a powerful hybrid digital experience interface. The `Accion Breeze framework` was used to create a product blueprint for a conversational UI-based customer portal. The platform was designed to create conversations and dialogues that could integrate with the entire system, adding personalization to anything related to the utility service.

 

Making Conversational UI a Breeze!

Accion Breeze is a lean architecture packed with features. These include plug-and-play modular components with options to enhance and upgrade as you go along. The architecture unified information silos of the client, creating one digital touchpoint in sync with all sources of information and business applications.

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The Breeze framework in this project embedded cognitive powers to the platforms. These anticipated customer needs, recommending relevant content and learning as it received consumer data points. The solution was designed so that users can talk to the application using a natural language dialogue, perform actions with short instructions, get actionable notifications, and search for information across multiple backend applications. The interface is personalized to the consumer’s consumption patterns.

In addition to the conversational UI, Accion designed a personal assistant chatbot for customers. Customers can interact with the bot, and in turn the system learns more after each interaction, training itself as it goes. The bot was initially trained within specific categories and responses. If the bot is unable to find an answer, it suggests talking to an agent and transfers the user over.

Once a user is connected with an agent, the bot continues to learn from the interaction and train itself with the personalized answers.

The customer portal built by Accion successfully delivered a personalized user experience, built customer loyalty, and strengthened long-term relationships through personalized recommendations and notifications. In turn, the solution created new opportunities and added value for the client. The conversational interface allows customers to use the system for multiple activities ranging from inquiry, search, purchase, post-sale support and problem solving. It quickly became popular as the one-stop point for anything they wanted to know about their water utility supplier.

 

Explore how a Conversational UI framework may be just right for your customer centric application by contacting us.