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Continued progress in reinventing the relationship between people and technology.

Having a more human conversation, with personal assistants

The type of service experience that brands deliver can make the difference between keeping (and winning) customers. Conversational personal assistants supporting customer service across mobile apps and Web sites can drive higher levels of consumer engagement and increase satisfaction rates. Recent findings show that 83% of consumers prefer having the option to converse with their personal assistants on their smartphones. Brands who utilize the consumer preference of conversational technologies have seen an increase in engagement and brand loyalty. At this week’s CES 2014, Nuance demonstrates its Nina conversational virtual assistant.

As some of the world’s greatest technology leaders, brands, entrepreneurs, journalists and bloggers gather this week in Las Vegas for the 2014 edition of CES, Nuance shares its view on how we, as consumers, can interact with technology in a more human way. We’re showing off several great innovations, from voice biometrics in TVs to personal assistants in watches. I’m personally most excited to be showcasing Nina – the virtual assistant solution that has been adopted by companies such as USAA and Coca-Cola and that is transforming how consumers interact with brands on websites and mobile apps.

To find out how transformative the Nina experience really is, Nuance commissioned two separate surveys, one to gather consumer perceptions of customer care on the web, and the other to gain a better understanding of how consumers engage with their smartphones and apps. The results were consistent in both channels. Consumers expressed a clear preference for a conversational interaction, as delivered by a virtual assistant, versus a static interface. 83% of consumers prefer the conversational experience with a personal assistant on a smartphone, and 71% stated the same preference on the web.

As brands consider how they are delivering customer service, this statistic is not something that they should be taking lightly – meeting consumer expectations on the web and across devices and apps has a direct impact on the bottom line by reducing contact center operating costs. But more importantly, it affects the top line by directly impacting customer retention and acquisition. 90% of consumers stated that a positive experience with a company’s mobile app makes them more likely to continue doing business with them. On the web site, we see a similar finding, where 63% of people say that they would be more likely to use a company’s website if they offered a conversational virtual assistant experience

The findings from these two consumer preference surveys offer an explanation into why virtual assistant technologies are being so well-received by consumers. The first is that current websites and mobile apps leave a lot to be desired. For example, more than 58% of consumers are unable to resolve their issues on the Web, despite their best efforts. Within mobile apps, the situation is even worse, with 81% of consumers finding it challenging to accomplish their tasks. Using a virtual assistant delivers consumers an interface that works, that is effortless, and that offers a human-like connection. Today, companies like USAA are using Nina Mobile to offer efficient customer service through their mobile applications while Coca-Cola and Windstream leverage Nina Web to make their web-based experiences more engaging while providing customers with the information they need quickly and easily.

Across all of these examples, one thing stands out: consumers are engaging with brands on their terms today, and organizations that recognize and adapt to that will reap the benefits. Personal assistants like Nina are delivering the experiences that consumers have come to expect: conversational, engaging, and quick to deliver results.

For a more detailed analysis of our recent research, download the following white paper: Impacts to Brand Perception of a Human-like Self-service Experience. (Once on the page, click on the Resources link, and then click on the Access whitepapers button)

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Brett Beranek

About Brett Beranek

Like you, CX and biometrics expert Brett Beranek – Director Product Strategy, Enterprise – is fascinated by transformative technologies that have a real impact on our lives. With over fifteen years of experience in the customer experience and biometrics space, Brett brings strategic and tactical insights to organizations wishing to deliver a better experience to their customers via innovative security technologies. Prior to joining Nuance, Brett a technologist and entrepreneur by education and passion, successfully introduced several disruptive technologies to the health-care, IT and security markets, including as a partner of facial recognition firm Viion Systems and member of Genetec’s management team, a security firm that transformed the video surveillance market. Brett also currently serves on the advisory board of high-tech healthcare startup GaitTronics. Brett earned a Bachelor of Commerce, Information Systems Major, from McGill University as well as an Executive Marketing certificate from Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management. Brett loves travelling the globe and discovering new cultures with his three kids, Layla, Rayan and Nora and his wife, Tania.