How to prove the ROI of conversational AI through buyer journey mapping: Framework

With the rapid growth of conversational AI teams and channels, proving ROI is a must-have tool for conversation design managers.

In the expert conversations workshop last month, Ayesha Saleem, conversational AI manager at Instacart, walked through a simple guide that teams can use to reframe their work, understand high intent buying signals, and prove ROI. I broke that guide down further here for managers to easily reference - especially heading into 2023 planning.

The goal: map the buying and conversational journeys.

Mapping these two journeys allows for the entire organization to have clarity between the customer and conversational journeys.

Great assistants are extensions of a brand - which means they impact the business and bottom line. When the two journeys are not aligned, conversational AI channels become a nice-to-have instead of essential to accelerating revenue & customer experiences.

Once the high intent moments on both journeys are set, conversation design teams can then move forward with designing, testing and measuring to show how their work clearly moves the needle and generates ROI.

The framework

The framework includes three key parts: business journey milestones, assistant journey milestones, and map out business and assistant journeys.

Here’s an example of using the framework for a retail shopping experience focused on activating new sign-ups towards a first purchase.

Step 1

Write down the business journey milestones that the overall team cares about and tracks.

For the retail business, a few examples might look like:

  • New audience / user - high Intent
  • Browsed product catalogue
  • Added item to cart
  • Complete purchase
  • Returning customer

Step 2

Identify the assistant journey milestones in relation to the business milestones from Step 1.

The conversational journey milestone might look like this:

  • New user = 0 sessions that clicks start button
  • Reached product carousel in the assistant
  • Added item from product carousel to cart
  • Finished checkout flow via component
  • Returning user, > 1 sessions

Step 3

Now that you have both the business and conversational journeys that matter plotted out to analyze, it’s time to map the both.

You’ll notice that your assistant either 1) has many high intent buying moment that you haven’t recognized or 2) needs additional design work to better map to the customer buying journey.

The framework then would ideally look something like this:

The established buying journey now has a tangible touchpoint within the assistant which is measurable and trackable.

Product, revenue, and conversational AI teams can then all rally behind creating a great customer experience that is trackable and mapped back to revenue at key points. Best of all, conversation design teams will start to see how much of a true impact their assistant has on customer experience and buying behavior in comparison to other business channels.

Ready to make these ROI design decisions easier? Chat with our team.


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