Meaningful engagement – what is it and why does it matter?

The inception of our journey to meaningful engagement 

Some time ago, in the days when Corona connoted beer, not virus, the Evolved team celebrated achieving 20 million surveys at to a local watering hole, Campari House in Melbourne. Needless to say, we all felt quite chuffed.  A sense of achievement and pride was in the air.  “Small Australian company listens to 20 million Australians” - sounds great!   

However, as the glasses were charged and beer flowed, someone (we can’t recall who) said ‘who likes doing surveys?’.  What followed was a short but heavy silence, then a hubbub of opinions leading to the conclusion, that in fact, most people do not like doing surveys.  We realised that an $80b dollar industry was founded on a process that hardly anyone likes! 

Out with boring surveys, in with Conversational AI 

This, it turns out, was VERY thought provoking.  In fact, it was so thought provoking it led our design and development team to create a new type of chatbot called EVE (Evolved Verbatim Engine) to integrate into our Evolved Human Listening insights platform.  EVE replaces traditional surveys with AI-powered conversations. Instead of answering agree and disagree statements written by researchers, your customers or employees engage with an inquisitive feedback companion that enquires on each unique response in real-time. 

The idea here was that surveys are often static, boring and uninspiring for people.  Yes, the data they generate is as important as ever, but it tends to be about as interesting as reading a software manual.     

The technical challenge with developing EVE was significant (like, really significant).  However, our team threw themselves into the task with gusto. EVE is the love child of two of the latest cutting-edge technologies: Conversational AI and Text Analytics.  Today, EVE has some truly amazing and unique powers, including the ability to recognise speech, assess emotions and sentiment, respond with relevant questions and allow people to express themselves in their own words. 

Creating meaningful engagement with Conversational AI 

As we deployed EVE, we uncovered some deep and fascinating learnings. These included:

  • People like to express themselves in their own words 
  • People enjoy talking with chat bots who don’t judge them and they can be very honest (sometimes scary honest) 
  • The amount of information they impart is significantly greater than in a standard survey (I’m talking 2.5 times greater) – it is truly qualitative at scale 
  • Our ability to understand respondents and act on this type of feedback is exponentially greater than with traditional surveys 
  • With modern analytics we could create dynamic feedback portals that listen, learn and adapt to feedback, giving clients a whole new way to listen and understand  
  • Brands can form relationships with consumers manifested through a representative avatar 
  • Last but not least, engaging consumers for feedback can actually be a POSITIVE and ENJOYABLE experience.  Who would have thought? 

Meaningful engagement encapsulated 

In summary, we began to call this collective set of benefits meaningful engagement.  Meaningful engagement entails truly listening to your stakeholders.  It means giving people a voice and providing organisations with a window into the hearts and minds of their employees, customers and prospective customers.  Meaningful engagement has become our mantra and it is powered by EVE and Conversational AI.   

Fast forward to today, and Evolved has taken huge strides with EVE and Evolved Human Listening – EVE has had over ONE MILLION conversations with people.  Yes, we still do surveys (we’ve done over 33 million of them now) but most are hybrids, including both Conversational AI and more considered structured questions.   

Advancements in Conversational AI 

EVE is now talking (chatting, chin wagging, engaging, shooting the breeze) with Americans, British, Canadians, Filipinos, Chinese, Brazilians and a host of other people around the world across multiple languages (when speaking English, EVE even knows when to use an ‘S’ or ‘Z’ depending on country).  Evolved is using the technology across our client base and is consistently delivering deeper insights that dynamically adapt to trending topics.   

All this Evolved Thinking has come about because of a celebratory beer at the pub and the realisation that meaningful engagement doesn’t come from a survey.   

Find out more

To find out more about The Evolved Group and our Conversational AI capabilities, check out our website, or feel free to shoot me a message via LinkedIn.