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Conversational AI tools should unify calling, messaging, analytics and more

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LivePerson, which makes the bots we encounter every day act a lot more like humans and less like soulless droids, has done some research in this area and come up with confirmation of a universal truth: People don’t like to have to repeat themselves, especially to bots.

The New York City-based conversational AI software developer yesterday revealed the results from its Voice and Messaging 2022: Consumer Preferences Around Automation and CX report, which explores evolving consumer preferences around calling and messaging and how these preferences continue to change in specific situations. 

The survey, which fielded responses from more than 2,500 participants worldwide, found widespread demand for connected, human-feeling customer experiences, with a clear preference for companies that provide options for potential buyers to both call and message.

The biggest takeaways from the research, LivePerson CEO and founder Rob LoCascio told VentureBeat, are that people don’t like to repeat themselves to a bot and that “consumers are pleading with brands to connect their voice and messaging experiences. Brands are still fumbling the transition between channels, or even worse, ignoring all of the historical data they have about their past interactions with customers. That’s why 87% of respondents said they’re more likely to do business with a company that connects their interactions across voice and messaging. There’s simply nothing more frustrating than having to start over every time you reach out to your favorite brand.”

Bots need to connect data between calls, messages

As voice and conversational AI take on an increasing volume of customer interactions, it also becomes more and more important for bots to also be able to tap into that history and connect data from voice calls to data from messaging conversations. “Eighty-two percent of respondents said they prefer brands whose bots take what the brand already knows about them from previous interactions and can apply it to their current situation,” LoCascio said. 

Another key takeaway is that consumers need options to contact brands when and where they want, and this is non-negotiable, LoCascio said. “Consumers don’t want to be limited to phone calls; 91% prefer brands giving them the flexibility to toggle between high quality, personalized messaging or voice experiences depending on where they are and what they are trying to accomplish,” he said.

Understanding an accent not similar to your own can be a universal problem, the study found.

“According to this latest survey, 43% of consumers say they prefer a voicebot with an accent similar to their own,” LoCascio said. “That’s a significant chunk and could be based on the perception that they’ll have to repeat themselves multiple times to be understood. 

“According to the data, the No. 1 biggest frustration facing consumers is having to repeat themselves. This often happens when a customer is transferred multiple times to different agents or bots, or forced to restart conversations later with an agent or bot unfamiliar with their history. Today’s consumers expect seamless experiences, no matter which channel they choose, and there’s still a lot of frustration that this expectation isn’t being met: 84% of consumers report that they have to repeat themselves “often” or “all the time” when calling or messaging a brand,” LoCascio said.

Options are always good

Options in almost every circumstance are good. The study indicated that preferences change based on different situations and parts of the day, demonstrating the benefits of providing different avenues depending on what the customer needs at a given time:

  • Commuting on public transportation: 80% prefer to message
  • Commuting in a car: 67% prefer to call
  • During work hours: 75% prefer to message
  • On lunch break: 63% prefer to message
  • At home: 53% prefer to call

More data points from the research that marketers will want to know: 

  • 88% of consumers say they are more likely to do business with a company that can connect the history of their interactions;
  • 87% say they are more likely to do business with a company that can connect their interactions with them across voice and messaging; 
  • 82% are more likely to do business with a company whose bots take what the company already knows about them and can apply it to their personal situation; and
  • 72% are more likely to do business with a company whose bots can understand their emotions.

 What can technology do to smooth out these issues?

“Combining conversational AI for messaging, speech recognition and analytics for voice and integrations that bring messaging, voice and CRM platforms together can help companies get a comprehensive, unified system in place to connect conversation across all channels,” LoCascio said. “That’s why we acquired VoiceBase and Tenfold in late 2021. When an agent or bot can access a customer’s history and data in one place, they can make conversations feel much more helpful and personalized. 

“And when brands can see a unified view of analytics and insights from all of their voice and messaging conversations in a single dashboard that can be shared across the enterprise, they can work on improving experiences across the entire customer journey.”

About the survey

LivePerson’s Voice and Messaging 2022: Consumer Preferences Around Automation and CX survey was conducted in March 2022 via an online survey of 2,548 consumers aged 18 and older in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia.

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