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Many AI-enabled customer service tools offer an experience that’s less than conversational. While the promise of AI to provide human-like interactions has been highly touted, the reality is that customers often become frustrated with the inability of many current tools to accurately capture or comprehend what the citizen is saying. But as AI technology for customer service advances, most notably with conversational AI and intelligent virtual assistants (IVAs),  government agencies are increasingly able to deliver a self-service experience that meets the expectations of callers engaging with them.

What is conversational AI?

Conversational AI is the set of technologies behind automated messaging and speech-enabled applications that offer human-like interactions between computers and humans. Simply put, it’s how humans can talk with an AI-enabled voice-recognition system as if they were, well, humans. Conversational AI enables human-like communication by recognizing speech and text, understanding intent, comprehending different languages, and responding appropriately.

Applied conversational AI requires both science and art to create successful applications that incorporate context, personalization, and relevance within the human-to-computer interaction. Conversational design, a discipline dedicated to designing flows that sound natural, is a key part of developing conversational AI applications.

How does it work?

Conversational AI combines automatic speech recognition (ASR), natural language processing (NLP), advanced dialog management (ADM), and machine learning (ML) to deliver human-like interactions at each stage of a conversation.

  • Listening using Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR): Also known as voice recognition, ASR  employs AI and ML to offer continuous improvement as an IVA learns in real-time from human-assisted understanding.
  • Comprehending using Natural Language Understanding (NLU): An element of natural language processing, NLU allows for self-service and full phrase understanding to provide an effortless path for citizens to get the services and information they need.
  • Forming Response using Advanced Dialog Management (ADM): An IVA forms the response based on its understanding of intent using dialog management.
  • Narrating Response using Natural Language Generation (NLG): Dialog management orchestrates responses and converts them into a human-understandable format using Natural Language Generation (NLG), another part of natural language processing. An IVA then either delivers the response in text or uses speech synthesis, the artificial production of human speech, or text to speech to deliver the response over a voice modality.
  • Learning using Machine Learning (ML): As more callers interact with the AI engine, the input grows, and the AI platform gets better at recognizing patterns and using them to make predictions.

Conversational AI is helping agencies enhance customer experiences by allowing citizens to ask for what they want in their own words — removing the need to navigate complex structured trees and simplifying transactional tasks providing faster access to basic queries. Providing vital information through conversational AI also removes the frustration people have when trying to find the right information or while waiting for assistance from a CSR.

Learn more about how conversational AI can improve your agency’s ability to deliver citizen services here.  

Sourced from Interactions