3 min read

Hair Cuts and Strategy

Hair Cuts and Strategy

I used to hate having a haircut. That dreaded question: so, what are we doing today?

What I really wanted was to look so awesome that I’d attract my perfect life partner. But at that time I hadn’t found her, so I clearly hadn’t been asking for the right haircut! I tended to leave the decision up to the hairdresser. “Whatever you think” I’d say.

The results were different every time, and never quite the outcome I’d hoped for.

One hairdresser made me look like I was in a boy band. Another cut my hair like the lead singer from Snow Patrol. Neither worked. They just weren’t right for me.

Eventually, I found my perfect partner and a haircut we’re both happy with. But it was trial and error. Partner and hair cut!

What getting a good haircut teaches us about Bot strategy

I see the same situation playing out in the field of IVR, voice and chatbots all the time. 

Companies are letting their tech vendor dictate their strategy:

“You need a chatbot”
“Deploy Natural Language”
“You need voice biometrics”

And my favorite nonsense requirement: “You need real AI”!

They’ll show great case studies and do an awesome demo. But it’s like the boy band haircut, it works in some situations, but maybe not yours.

A bot strategy that suits you

Like me and my haircut, most companies know what outcome they want from their conversational AI: it’s got to delight customers, enhance profits, and differentiate the brand. In essence, deliver amazing ROI. Otherwise, why bother?

But what does that actually look like? For you and your business? What haircut… I mean bot strategy is right for your business?

One thing’s for sure. It’s not the same as Amazon, Apple, or your competitors. Your customers are different. Your business processes are different. Your contact volumes are different. Your capability is different.

You need a bot strategy that suits you. One that will attract, delight, and retain perfect customers, just like I’d hoped my haircut would help me attract the perfect partner.

What a bot strategy looks like

Getting there is a process. But it’s not trial and error.

A brilliant bot strategy aligns 3 things: customer needs, business needs, and technical realities. And it articulates a vision for what bots can do in your business. Now. In 6 months’ time. Next year, and beyond.

It details where your bots add the most value, what they can do well, and what you still need humans to handle. It details the investment it’ll take, the organizational capabilities you’ll need, and the metrics that will ensure you’re on track to deliver the benefits.

Bot Strategy Discovery and Development

Over the last 20 years, me and my team have developed a process for this that we call Discovery. It’s not about sitting around a boardroom table or in front of a whiteboard and dreaming something up. And it’s not the 1-day session that tech vendors do to sell you their stuff. It’s a methodical, practical sequence of steps that takes 6-8 weeks and creates not just alignment, but excitement, and an orientation towards action.

Look out for my next blog where I take you through those steps to creating a brilliant bot strategy.

And don’t worry if you’re not sure if this is your job or your responsibility. I truly believe that every member of a team should contribute to the vision, and strategy of their organization. You can do this. You just need to follow the steps.

In the meantime, I’ll leave you with one question to think about:

What do you really want from your investments in IVR, voice, and/or chatbots?

Write down three items. Be as specific as you can. If you want some ideas, think about these three key areas: customer experience, brand communication, and profit (meaning revenue enhancement or cost reduction).

If you want some feedback or just some extra accountability, please email and send me what you write down. I’ll treat it completely confidentially, of course. The answers to this question will really help as you start to develop your strategy.

This is the fourth blog in a series, so if you haven’t already seen them, check out the earlier blogs in the series:

Part 1 – What’s the best Conversational AI platform

Part 2 – Why your IVR, voice & chat bot need HR for AI

Part 3 – Super agent or Nightmare agent?

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