Conversational Engagement: Apply It To Businesses in 2024

March 27, 2024

Modern customers prefer one-on-one interactions rather than broadcasts. Their needs and wants are specific and they expect companies to recognize this in their communication. Generalized guides help achieve this to a certain extent, but one-on-one time gets customers what they need faster so their interest in your brand continues.

Conversational engagement has emerged as a solution to consumer preference. It’s often delivered by intelligent virtual assistant (IVA) software that personalizes interactions while managing several customer conversations at scale.

What is conversational engagement?

We all crave real and meaningful connections in our world of automated promotional messaging delivered via async platforms. Engaging customers in real-time conversations lets you observe their pain points and provides them with the kind of support that makes them feel more human.  

Ironically, to deliver this personalization, you don’t always need humans or an army of sales and support people. Intelligent virtual assistant software pretend to be your army as they have natural-sounding conversations. These intelligent chatbots sense customer tone, study previous interactions, and respond empathetically, helping you deliver engagement at scale.

For complex queries beyond the bots’ capabilities, these tools have features that let a human agent take over the conversation. This helps your in-house support teams punch beyond their weight while taking care of multiple interactions. 

Why is conversational engagement important?

Buyers these days expect you to engage them throughout their journey. Consider this situation:

A buyer purchases a software subscription and sees his plan categorized under “Basic” wants to talk to your team. They take time out of their busy day and reach out to your support only to get the message, “We will contact you in the next 48 hours.” 

The buyer paid for the premium subscription, but for what? It just adds to poor customer experience. Now they’re annoyed by their original issue and by your slow support.

An IVA could have offered to notify the customer with frequent updates about their problem, keeping the customer informed and easing their anxiety.

The above scenario happens after conversion, but conversational engagement is indispensable along the entire customer journey. Here’s how conversational engagement can mutually benefit you and your clients along the way.  

  • The consideration stage is the point when customers ask questions and try to understand the product in detail; they’re invested and are likely to purchase. Here, you can engage them with testimonials and reviews to add more logic and social proof to the reasons they should buy.
  • After answering customer questions, you enter the conversion stage. Your lead may still have cold feet about making the purchase. Engage them with free trials, free shipping, and coupon codes to encourage them to convert. Dropping a payment link to simplify purchases also helps. 
  • When customers move to the onboarding stage, send them video tutorials and guides. They’ll feel more supported and better engaged through direct communication. 
  • The support stage needs careful attention because attracting new customers costs a lot more than retaining current ones. Prepare your team to deliver useful post-purchase support through IVA. It helps customers avoid waiting on the phone or typing lengthy emails. 
  • In long-term relationships, the loyalty stage gives businesses a chance to remind customers of their presence and deliver new product updates on direct communication channels. Offer exclusive loyalty programs and rewards to make them feel special. These customers have been with you for a long time and know the most about your business. Cherishing these relationships with conversational engagement helps strengthen your trustworthiness as a brand. 

Conversational engagement use cases

Conversational engagement focuses on establishing one-on-one conversations between agents and customers. Personalization makes customers feel personally cared for. 

Different industries employ conversational engagement to support their customers and prospects better. These industries include:

  • Subscription service engages customers with product updates, net promoter scores (NPS), feedback surveys, and newsletters. It helps businesses deliver more timely, relevant advice to promote the retention of current customers and convert more prospects into paying customers. 
  • Professional service attracts customers with seasonal tips, status updates, or feedback requests. It offers personalization in responses by researching conversation history and keeping the interaction as focused and engaging as possible. 
  • Healthcare uses conversational engagement to support patients with appointment feedback, general health tips, and surveys while maintaining compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). 
  • Home service businesses are known for their close relationship with their clients. Conversational engagement reinforces the bond. They interact with their customers using feedback and post-visit surveys in a friendly and personal tone, encouraging customers to respond. 
  • Retail businesses get a higher response rate from texting than emailing. They engage customers with feedback and net promoter score surveys and offer expert advice via instant messaging. They use IVAs that research customer history in customer relationship management (CRM) tools to provide more personalized interactions. 

How AI improved conversational engagement

Chatbots are a part of people’s daily lives now. From ordering food online to getting fitness tips, people interact with chatbots all the time. However, having a traditional chatbot won’t improve conversational engagement since they’re only trained to respond to a particular set of questions. 

On the other hand, intelligent virtual assistants with natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning (ML) comprehend users’ needs and react accordingly, keeping the conversational style smooth. 

The more queries they get, the better they teach themselves to respond based on customer sentiments. IVA integrates with various business systems, especially CRMs, to do this seamlessly, improving the overall conversational engagement. 

The top 5 intelligent virtual assistants for improved conversational engagement

Intelligent virtual assistant software provides human-like service to your customers by answering their queries. It’s like a dedicated account manager available to all rather than just a few premium customers. The software automates customer conversations at scale, helping you engage clients and retain them for a long time.

To qualify for inclusion in the Intelligent virtual assistants software list, a product should:

  • Comprehend user queries by using NLP or speech recognition
  • Let users edit conversational flows
  • Allow users to analyze conversations via reports and dashboards
  • Be able to route an ongoing interaction to a human agent
  • Offer human-in-the-loop capabilities for better accuracy and viability

* These are the leading intelligent virtual assistants based on G2’s Winter 2024 Grid® Report. Some reviews might be edited for clarity. 

1. Kore.AI helps businesses build AI-powered chatbots to converse with people. Customers can talk to them through text messages, voice calls, or websites. You don't need to be a programmer to build a chatbot with

What users like best:

“The drag-and-drop interface proved exceptionally intuitive, allowing for a quick learning curve. Creating dialogue flows and defining actions was straightforward, and the visual representation made it easy to grasp the logic behind each interaction. The platform offers robust features covering the basics of natural language processing and integration with external systems.”

- Review, Yogesh J.

What users dislike:

“The web platform lags when there is a complex flow design, and it is also challenging to understand advanced micro-level configurations and flow.”

- Review, Chinmay B.

2. IBM watsonx Assistant

IBM watsonx Assistant offers a conversational artificial intelligence platform to help you deliver exceptional customer experiences. You can make AI-powered voice agents and enable automated self-service support across all channels. 

What users like best:

“As an adaptive chatbot, it helps me provide more personalized interactions with users, which helps me solve their necessary queries.”

- IBM watsonx Assistant Review, Rushikesh H.

What users dislike:

“The initial learning curve associated with configuring fine-tuned AI models will be a bit challenging here, and they could improve the documentation and use more tutorial videos so that users could implement things faster.”

- IBM watsonx Assistant Review, Ragh A.

3. Microsoft Power Virtual Agents

Microsoft Power Virtual Agents, now called as Microsoft Copilot, lets users create AI-powered chatbots to engage with customers and employees on various channels supported by the Azure Bot Framework. It’s available as a standalone web app or within Microsoft Teams. 

What users like best:

“Power Virtual Agent has an easy, typical nocode subscription as a service interface with good presets, which makes it easy to set up. It can easily handle basic queries for your businesses. You can also set up images for the responses, which is a fancy move and looks attractive. AI is used to learn and adapt phrases that come in as queries. Responses are restricted to the topics set by the organization.”

- Microsoft Power Virtual Agents Review, Akash D.

What users dislike:

“Sometimes it glitches and must be updated to work in Microsoft Teams.”

- Microsoft Power Virtual Agents Review, Mohammed S.

4. Moveworks

Moveworks provides employees with a user-friendly interface for self-service and gives support personnel more time to work more effectively. It delivers a secure conversational interface for taking action, searching for information, and creating content across hundreds of enterprise applications.

What users like best:

“I like the level of support they give us and how they partner with us to improve the product. My favorite features are the ticket triage and communications features of Nexthink.”

- Moveworks Review, Mark W.

What users dislike:

“A downside is getting adoption and making people understand the importance of streamlining and automating processes. Some people are used to picking up the phone and calling the help desk, so we must convince them this is the way.”

- Moveworks Review, Andre G.

5. Espressive, Inc.

The Espressive, Inc. Barista platform is an IVA for employees. It takes on the role of a service desk agent to help staff understand issues and deliver possible resolutions. It improves employee experience, productivity, and satisfaction. 

What users like best:

“Espressive Barista has enabled our IT team to lead by example and show the rest of the teams how automation can be seamless and beneficial in empowering employees. The barista's understanding of the questions makes it easy to capture and map different queries to the correct answers.

Collaborating with the Espressive team has been an absolute pleasure. They’re really good at what they do, and with their feedback and constant support, we had a good start and saw a growing use within the organization. Regular meetings and comprehensive reports from the team make it easy to improve the knowledge base and capture any new questions that come our way. Shout out to all the people at Espressive for making it easy to collaborate with them.”

- Espressive, Inc. Review, Hasmitha D.

What users dislike:

“We are at the forefront of using Barista and trying to utilize all its features. This was painful as some features, like the mailing list automation, were created but were still very buggy.”

- Espressive, Inc. Review, Verified User in Biotechnology

Click to chat with G2s Monty-AI

Make conversations personal

With IVAs, you deliver conversational engagement to your customers and prospects at scale, offering them a better experience from start to finish. 

Your customers get faster resolutions to their queries while prospects can quickly address their confusion. This keeps business decisions in your favor. In the long run, it helps you retain more customers.

Learn more about human-in-the-loop and understand how people give direct feedback to AI models.

intelligent virtual assistants Let's chat!

Find the right intelligent virtual assistants your clients will actually want to talk to.

Conversational Engagement: Apply It To Businesses in 2024 Conversational engagement involves interacting with customers in a personalized way through direct messaging channels. Learn more about its use cases.
Sagar Joshi Sagar Joshi is a former content marketing specialist at G2 in India. He is an engineer with a keen interest in data analytics and cybersecurity. He writes about topics related to them. You can find him reading books, learning a new language, or playing pool in his free time.