March 26, 2019 | By

AI IRL Podcast Episode 12: Conversational Technology — Improving the Customer Experience While Lowering Costs For Companies

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Yoav Barel is an industry leader who’s been at the forefront of customer experience for quite some time.

From personal interactions in store, to the app revolution, to now, when conversational interactions occur through chatbots, Yoav has been there for it all. He’s also the CEO and Founder of the Chatbot Summit, a community and conference series dedicated to conversational experiences.

On the latest episode of AI: In Real Life, I sat down with Yoav to talk about the opportunities and challenges we’re seeing in this space. He also shared success stories from companies and industries who’ve used the conversational experience to improve their customer experience or lower costs.

Here’s what he had to say.

The Opportunity: Better Customer Experience With Lower Costs

“The ultimate way that we want to interact as consumers is in our natural language, like we do with friends and family.” — Yoav Barel

No one wants to download an insurance app.

We want to take a picture of our broken laptop and send it via WhatsApp or another messaging service. Then we want to be done.

Technologies that make an experience like this possible thrive because they make our lives easier, and they’re improving the customer experience.

But these technologies are also reducing company costs.  

Think about the move from web to apps. This caused brands to invest in additional platforms, which resulted in increased costs.

But conversational AI does not require an additional IT cost like advancements have in the past. In fact, there’s a unique opportunity here to improve the customer experience but do it at a lower overall cost.

Key Challenges We Need To Overcome

We’ve been talking about AI for 40 years.

And it’s obviously a hotter topic now, but we’ve been promised these technologies for so long, we’re eager to invest in new opportunities. We get hung up in the demos, but forget that a lot of demos are just a veneer. We get confused on what’s real and what’s not.

So, here’s the first challenge — we need to increase education. Specifically, we need to clarify what’s real and what’s not. What’s a reality now and what can be a reality in a few years. Companies need to know what they can actually implement and where they will see a good ROI.

Second, companies need to know what tools they need to create the best conversational experiences. We need to lay out the different components and the different building blocks. We need to address what a conversational experience looks like with solution providers.

Finally, we need to do a better job helping companies through the selection process. We need to help brands answer the question, “which technologies are right for me?”  

Where We’re Seeing Successful Innovation

“If we save time, energy, or effort for the consumer, our technologies are going to prevail in the end.” — Yoav Barel

Consider Erica, Bank of America’s virtual voice assistant. Banks are moving towards acting as a concierge, your personal banker. Banks have tried to accomplish this before, but trying to be a personal banker through your website is really difficult.

But if you have an entity that speaks your language, that you can have conversations with, you can start building a true relationship.

In insurance, success comes more on the reduced cost side. Filing claims is a nightmare. But in this new world you take a picture of what happened, you message it, and that’s it.

We’re always talking about the big companies. But if you look at the disruptors in the world, the next Uber is going to be a chatbot. The next, big company, is going to be a company that is voice first, messaging first.

Want to learn more from Yoav? Check out the next Chatbot Summit  this summer, June 25-26th in Tel Aviv.  For more information, visit

This post is based on an AI: In Real Life podcast with Yoav Barel.  To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to the podcast series here.

If you don’t use iTunes, you can use this link here.

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