Decision-makers should reflect on several key points when assessing a conversational artificial intelligence (AI) solution. As an example, many millennials favor connecting with brands through live chat. Why does this matter? Here’s why.

The millennial population could be worth up to $24 trillion by 2020, making them one of the largest expected consumer groups over the next decade.  What’s more, 59-percent of those consumers will leave a review about their experience – either positive or negative – with a majority of judgment based on quick responses when they reach out to brands for help or information.

Although a challenge, C-suite executives and companies need not worry as conversational AI has proven to be a reliable and quick solution for appeasing millennial consumers. But is it a smart decision for all businesses?

The following are nine questions that business leaders should consider when assessing a conversational AI solution.

1. Are you guaranteed an ROI (and can they commit to it)?

Without consistency, the most cutting edge technology will fail to deliver results. A competent conversational AI solution vendor can tell you exactly what level of automation their offering can achieve, allowing you to determine a precise return-on-investment. Only with this benchmark can you establish your expectations.

2. How smart is the language understanding –really?

Text-based Q&A chatbots are useful for answering common consumer inquiries. However, this entry-level utility falters when customer questions become more complex.

Conversational AI leverages advanced neural networks and natural language processing (NLP) technology, enabling it to respond to a broader range of consumer questions. These technology resources enable sophisticated digital chatbots to understand what customers are asking as well as the context of their queries.

3. What is the security/privacy features offered?

Cybersecurity is a top priority for any commercial undertaking. Conversational AI customer service is no exception to this standard.

It’s a new age for privacy and data security. Emerging conventions such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) set a new standard for cybersecurity.

A conversational AI solution that meets GDPR standards empowers enterprises to control privacy. For example, the right solution allows consumers to download or delete conversations as desired.

4. Is the solution purpose-built for enterprise deployment?

Your conversational AI chatbot will represent your brand. Accordingly, it must incorporate enterprise-grade features to deliver satisfying customer experiences consistently, says Henry Vaage Iversen, co-founder, and chief commercial officer at Boost.ai.

“Enterprise companies, particularly customer-centric institutions like banks and financial services providers, need to think about the bigger picture when automating customer interactions.”

“The important consideration for achieving the cost-saving benefits of conversational AI isn’t the automation itself. It is the ability to deliver delightful customer experiences that strike a precise balance between highly intelligent virtual-agent support that is both fast and accurate, and seamless hand-off to exactly the right human agent in every escalation.”

Companies that don’t take a high-level approach when implementing conversational AI may actually harm the customer experience instead of improving it.

5. Can it do more than answer basic questions?

Have you considered that your customers may want answers to questions that aren’t available without passing through a gate on your website? An advanced conversational AI solution can deliver answers about sensitive information.

This capability goes far beyond the function of an entry-level chatbot. A highly advanced conversational AI solution can deliver service behind encrypted paywalls and exclusive membership websites.

6. Is there a proven project plan for implementation?

Technology is wondrous. With it, enterprises can achieve remarkable feats. However, enterprise leaders need more than technology. They need technology that works.

To achieve this outcome, a competent conversational AI service provider should have the ability to provide you with a tried-and-true project plan for deployment. What’s more, the provider should offer reliable support, either internally or through third-party suppliers, and have the track record to prove it.

7. How well does it scale?

Even for a conversational AI, it’s a tough job to deliver 24-7 support. What’s more, not all solutions can hold up to a high volume, and at scale. Duly, the solution that you select should have a track record of handling thousands of complex daily interactions with lightning fast response times.

8. What industry-specific expertise and content is available at launch?

Some conversational AI providers require your industry expertise to function as desired. What’s worse, you’ll never own your data. Lesser solutions just aren’t set up to manage the ownership of information at the service level.

In this regard, look for a conversational AI provider who can deliver pre-built content for your industry. An effective conversational AI solution will make customer service more manageable rather than create yet another complex and resource intensive project. Also, the data generated by your customers will remain proprietary.

9. Can it seamlessly integrate with customer support staff?

Remember, chatbots aren’t intended to replace human operators fully. Conversational AI is a refined solution for providing superior customer service. With it, brands can save consumers from the “I do not understand” dead-end.

The right conversational AI solution can effectively shore up the front lines of customer service across a range of channels, from landing pages to social media assets. When warranted, however, an effective conversational AI resource can quickly and seamlessly hand complex queries over to live agents.

The advanced retrieval and linguistic capabilities of conversational AI enhances the customer experience. These questions represent a critical starting point for evaluating your conversational AI solution. The right conversational AI solution is about more than technology – it’s about quality of service.

Ryan Ayers

Ryan Ayers

Ryan Ayers is a researcher and consultant within multiple industries including information technology, blockchain and business development. Always up for a challenge, Ayers enjoys working with startups as well as Fortune 500 companies. When not at work, Ayers loves reading science fiction novels and watching the LA Clippers.