Artificial Intelligence on the Rise


Conversational Commerce company, Flamingo Customer Experience, has released research into 84 Australian based businesses as well as 528 Australian consumers and their views on and experiences with Chatbots.

A Chatbot is defined as a computer program, based on rules or Artificial Intelligence, that simulates conversation with human users over the internet.

Results show that 77 per centof consumers are comfortable to very comfortable with the concept of using Chatbots when interacting with organisations. About the same percentage of businesses, 73 per cent, believe Chatbots are somewhat to very relevant to their business.

The research also shows that the first generation of online customer assistance and help tools have largely failed to deliver tangible results for businesses with 60 per cent of consumers having abandoned an online application or purchase process in the past three months.

“The number of customers who abandon the online purchase process is staggeringly high,” says Dr Catriona Wallace, Founder and CEO of Flamingo. “Organisations have spent millions of dollars trying to improve the online customer experience, but largely the technologies supporting these efforts have neither delivered to the customer nor the business.”

“This research has brought to life the fact that pricing, complicated processes and website navigation are key obstacles in preventing customers from finalising an online purchase or application,” says Wallace. “Four in 10 businesses state that systems integration problems cause the greatest problems in providing good online experiences for customers.”

The research also showed that both customers and businesses are looking for better connections and experiences online, with 77 per cent of consumers saying immediate online help would increase their likelihood of completing transactions, and 85 per cent of businesses saying that immediate online help would improve online sales conversation rates.

Giving context to the problem, Wallace said the average quote-to-sales conversion rate in the insurance industry is between 20 per cent to 60 per cent for call centres, but this number plummets to just 1-3 per cent for online.

The research also reports that 81 per cent of businesses believe that a focus on online conversion rates will become more important in the next 12 months.

“The opportunity for business to start adopting innovative tools like ChatBots and Conversational Commerce almost becomes a no brainier, they literally have nothing to lose. For the first time these technologies allow businesses to effectively provide individualised experiences for customers at scale,” says Wallace.

The new research illustrates that improved online functionality and navigation, coupled with improved experience and implementation of chat tools, are the three highest-ranking ways organisations are looking to improve online sales conversion.

Flamingo has developed a Conversational Commerce platforms to provide Intelligence Assistance (IA) to financial services companies.

Rosie, Flamingo’s Chatbot has been designed by Flamingo’s Chief Data Scientist, Dr Jack Elliot and CTO, Joe Waller, to tackle the problem of low online conversion rates and poor customer retention in financial services companies.

Rosie can both converse and guide customers seeking financial products from quote to payment, without any human interaction with the customer. Flamingo’s experience in implementing this technology, however, is that HAVA (Human Assisted Virtual Assistance) is the best option for successful interactions with customers. HAVA is where Rosie largely guides the customer, however, a human (employee) can take over from the machine if there is a difficult question.

Wallace says that the Flamingo Platform should not only reduce the nature of purchasing complex products online, it’s also intelligent. With each completed transaction, Rosie learns more about how customers and employees interact.

“While other Chatbots focus on just chat, our entire focus has been around online sales conversion from the start. Rosie allows the entire online selling process to be automated, meaning employees are required less often, or not at all,” says Wallace. “It’s the right time, and we feel we have the best-in-market product. Analysts are saying 2017 will be the year of Artificial Intelligence and Bot strategy, and 2018 will be the year when significant corporate investment will go in to the implementation of Chatbots, and Conversational Commerce platforms.”