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  • CCAI

Increase Your Conversational AI App Performance In Minutes, Part 1

Updated: Sep 14, 2020

Two developers looking at code

Background for conversational applications

The use of conversational applications—voice and chat virtual agents—has grown as Specific Artificial Intelligence becomes business-critical for nearly every industry and enterprise. From humble beginnings in automated customer service, Conversational AI now powers crisis communications, lead generation, sales, and more. During its initial heyday in the early 2000s with speech recognition apps, implementers learned a number of valuable techniques in pursuit of meeting and exceeding performance goals.

There are a lot of new platforms and practitioners out there building Conversational AI. That's good in general, but means that there are a lot of poorly performing systems out there and more getting built every minute. CCAI has the know-how to give clients great customer experiences and business success.

Low-effort, high-impact tips for increasing the performance of your Conversational Collaborative AI app; voice, chat, or multimodal

Let us know how they work for you.

# 1 — Use a specific introduction rather than a “Welcome to” greeting

Think of "Welcome to" as the "double u double u double u dot" of voice and chat apps: unnecessary and out. of. date. Your customers are contacting you to get something done, not for a social visit. They know you have multiple touchpoints and they've chosen this one. They need clear, concise confirmation that indicates they've come to the right place. Tailor the opening of your conversational app to the context of the content and use. Your app can be welcoming in many ways and should explicitly mention its purpose.

Do use: "Hi, you've reached the Repair Service app for May Dupp Home Warranty."
Don't use: "Hello and welcome to the May Dupp Home Warranty Repair Service application. Your home is where our heart is. Please listen carefully to the instructions for this application as they may have changed since your last call."

# 2 — Effective prompts are clear and focused, not overstuffed

Few things are as overwhelming as being asked to remember half a dozen options and usage instructions, audibly or visually. Your customer has a goal in mind and they are looking for how to get it done. If instead they see or hear a lengthy recitation of only slightly related items, they'll get distracted, falter in their confidence, and begin to look for a better way. That usually means requesting a human agent. It's good practice to get them right into the action with as minimal yet clear guidance as possible. They want to interact, not get fire-hosed with things they won’t remember.

Do use: "If you're having a problem in your home, briefly describe it. Or, let me know what else you'd like."
Don't use: "What can I help you with today? I can help with things like 'I need to open a service request,' or 'My kitchen sink is leaking.' You can also ask for service request updates or update your co-payment information. Go ahead and tell me what you'd like now or say 'Help' for more information."

# 3 — Use plain language instead of business jargon

Your customers want to do business with you, but they are not in business with you. Use words and concepts that make sense to them, even if your company uses different words and phrases 'inside the walls.' Jargon can create worry in customers' minds that they might misunderstand important information or make a poor decision about what to do. Use language that makes sense to a wide range of people. Make your app communicate with clarity, brevity, and just-in-time information.

Do use: "After getting the details, we'll get a repair person out to your home. They'll take a look and let you know what needs to be done."
Don't use: "Once all required details have been entered, the May Dupp Home Warranty Repair Service application will open a service ticket in order to schedule an authorized vendor technician to visit your home. Once on site, the technician will assess your situation and determine the proper course of action."

# 4 — Prioritize meaning and purpose over grammar rules and 'proper' language

Everyday conversation is a fluid negotiation of meaning and information leading toward a purpose. When we talk to each other, meaning and purpose are our primary concern. The words we use and the order they're in serve that concern, not the other way around. Make sure your customers feel like they are able to use and hear language that makes everyday sense to them. It promotes comfort and trust. Craft and use phrases and sentences that would be comfortably spoken and easily comprehended. Focus on varied and nuanced expressions of intent and meaning.

Do use: Contractions. Sentence fragments. Exclamations and interjections. Casual transition words. Prepositions at the end of sentences.
Don't use: The Elements of Style by Strunk and White

# 5 — Create a sense of progress and benefit over merely satisfying system requirements

If your customers feel they can't confidently predict that the app will help them and that their time isn’t going to be wasted, you can expect a lack of cooperation and high rates of escalation to human agents. Align the app flow with customer expectations that you discover through user research. The flow and its steps need to match those expectations and communicate comfortably what is needed from the customer and how much longer it will take to get to success. When the app asks for input, make sure that the request makes sense in the immediate moment and with subsequent interactions.

Do use: "I can take care of this for you pretty quick. Just type in your ten-digit account number."
Don't use: "So the application can look up your account and open the service request for your dishwasher that won't dry, would you please type in the ten digits of your May Dupp Home Warranty account number?"

Next steps

As Conversational AI grows in usage and ability, remember that the people who use our creations might not understand our applications and the underlying technology. More importantly, they shouldn't have to in order to get what they need. At the same time, your business implements Conversational AI to achieve certain goals. These tips are specific ways for both to be successful.

Feel free to check out our suggested resources for a comprehensive list of articles, tools, and books to help you deliver exceptional customer experiences. And let us know if we can help in any way. Good luck!


CCAI enables your success with your Interactive AI products and projects. Whether it's voice, chat, multimodal, or adaptive UI, we've got the experience and expertise to help.

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