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10 July 2019 5 min read

Digital conversations – who’s doing it well?

Charlotte Gallagher

Charlotte Gallagher
Consultant | Customer and digital | London

My job as a Customer and Digital consultant and my preference as a customer for choice, means that for me, digital conversations are a particular area of interest. From text reminders from my hairdresser, to web chat windows popping up when I spend too long lingering over a dress during an internet shopping session, digital conversations are everywhere. And whilst I firmly believe that for some interactions human touch is key, there’s a number of interactions where I’m more than happy to speak to a bot. I’ve compiled my three personal favourites and the reasons why they stand out for me:

1. HelloAva

I’m moving to America; or Canada. I’m not fussy as long as it means that I can order my skincare recommendations from the chatbot over at HelloAva who haven’t quite made it to the UK yet. First of all, their chatbot helps me identify my skin type through a number of questions and gives initial product recommendations. But the best is yet to come – I can switch to a more personalised text consultation with one of their experts who will curate my skin regimen and who is always on hand to answer questions and make new recommendations. I am not alone: HelloAva has 63,000 active users and over a million text messages have been sent to help people with their skincare.1

My verdict: HelloAva have found a new purpose for Digital Conversations and this is perhaps why I love it so much: I can get an initial recommendation quickly through a bot, and if I want can then move to a more in depth recommendation via text. 5 out of 5 for convenience and choice.

2. Royal Bank of Scotland and Natwest

For a few years now Royal Bank of Scotland and Natwest have been introducing customers to their digital assistant Cora, a text-based assistant that helps me with queries and directs me to answers online and within the mobile apps. For the past year they have also been trialling an avatar version of Cora in branches to help customers. If Cora doesn’t know the answer, she points me in the right direction, e.g. by providing the telephone number of a real member of staff to help. My favourite part of the Cora service however is where she passes me over to someone to chat to within the app. When I’m passed over I don’t have to repeat myself, nor do I have to sit there waiting with the app open. I’m simply put in a queue and when it’s my turn, I receive a text message. At this point I can log in straight away and start chatting, or if that isn’t convenient, I can log in later on and see the response to my query.

My verdict: Using Cora within the app, means that I can have an asynchronous conversation so that I don’t have to dedicate a chunk of my time to resolving my issue. Having this flexibility means that Cora definitely gets my vote!

3. NSPCC

Digital conversations don’t have to be text-based, and they can serve purposes other than helping customers answer questions. NSPCC for example have started using Amazon Alexa to boost their donations: using an off-the-shelf product specifically created for charities, supporters can make a donation which is deducted from the donor’s Amazon account and sent via Amazon Pay to the charity. NSPCC are also using Alexa to engage with children and educate them through song and a game. The fact that 82.2% of the charity’s income last year came from voluntary donations2 received either as one-offs, subscriptions or legacy giving shows how important it is that charities continue to find new ways to engage with supporters and accept donations from them over different channels.

My verdict: I like how NSPCC uses digital conversation channels for a range of purposes from raising awareness to education and donations. Hopefully offering these new channels will help charities continue their amazing work and reach yet untapped donors. 

There are so many brands out there that have jumped into different digital conversations platforms – offering varying degrees of user experience. What’s the key to the success? It’s simple - offering convenience and choice. Something that may seem common sense; but not something that everyone has quite nailed yet!

About the author: Charlotte is a Consultant in our Customer & Digital Practice, who is passionate about making things easier for both customers and employees. Get in touch to share your favourite digital conversations.

Sources:
1 https://helloava.co/
2 https://www.nspcc.org.uk/globalassets/documents/annual-reports/nspcc_annualreport_201718_online.pdf