Chatbots are the fastest growing digital communication trend and one of the strongest tools marketers have at their disposal. From their beginnings in the early 2000s, chatbots have gone a really long way and now offer numerous features and advanced options.
In recent years, brands have started using chatbots to improve their business and customer support efforts through the use of a combination of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning. Today, you would be hard-pressed to find a customer-centric business that doesn’t use chatbots in one way or another.
But, have chatbots lived up to the hype that surrounded them in recent years?
You could say so. Of course, they’re still progressing and we can expect to see some exciting things in chatbot technologies in 2020. They are progressing even more rapidly as an increasing number of brands are starting to show interest in chatbots.
So, the big question is: is 2020 the year when conversational bots will become indispensable for our reading, sharing and interacting with content? Here are some of the top trends we can expect in the conversational chatbot industry:
One of the main trends for chatbots in 2020 will be the automation of the payment process.
According to Chatbots Magazine, 2 out of 3 US millennials said they would be likely to purchase products from brands via chatbot communication.
Following the most recent trends that started arising in 2018 and 2019, a larger percentage of businesses will automate small-amount payments and allow users to make simple payments via Facebook Messenger or other live chatbots.
This simplified process of conversational payments improves the customer satisfaction rate, decreases the number of abandoned carts and takes pressure away from your sales team.
There are numerous benefits for introducing payments to Facebook Messenger using chatbots. Firstly, it’s a very reliable service that customers trust. It also enables conversational selling, recommendations, direct sales and is cost-effective. What more could you ask for?
In 2017, fintech titan MasterCard launched its own chatbot for customer payments. The first experiment platform was allowing US customers to pay in Subway restaurants using Facebook Messenger — more precisely, Masterpass (MasterCard’s chatbot).
The app sparked a lot of interest and turned out to be a success. After its launch, the MasterCard chatbot had the ability to collect payments from customers, assist with payment alerts and answer customer questions.
In 2020, it’s expected that an increasing number of users will start speaking to chatbots instead of typing out queries conversational chats. This way of getting help saves time and allows the user to multi-task during the interaction with the chatbot.
Siri, Alexa and Google’s Assistant are leading the way in this revolution. In the next year, we can also expect huge technological leaps that will enable a better understanding of human speech.
One of the main arguments for opponents of chatbots in communication is their inability to process human language in a perfect way. However, when you think about it, misunderstandings happen all the time even in human-to-human interactions.
Scientists and engineers who are working on AI, machine learning and natural language processing reported a huge step forward in the way machines can now understand our language.
This will result in better understanding, better service, and ultimately better support and sales results.
In order to stand out from the competition, businesses will have to provide their customers with chatbots that actually have something relevant to say — and be able to engineer them to say it at the right moment.
According to customer surveys, most users are annoyed that chatbots are, well, bots — and lack the human touch that you can expect from a human agent.
This is why many businesses have already started providing quirky, funny, millennial-friendly responses, to add a human touch to communication with a chatbot.
If you’re developing response templates for your brand chatbots, you can use some of the following services to make it more successful: Grammarly (for checking grammar and spelling of all responses before launching the chatbot), ClassyEssay (writer database where you can find someone to write chatbot responses for your brand), ProWritingAid (to tailor style to your brand and check for language errors).
In 2020, customers will expect only the top-notch from their communication with chatbots. So, make sure the responses you have ready are up to their standards.
In 2020, most advanced chatbots are AI-powered and rely on machine learning. This means that the more they are used, the more they will learn and the better they will get.
The tendency of AI-driven technologies to improve with use is what will make chatbots even more awesome in 2020. It’s already been several years since chatbots have started to become increasingly used in brand communications, so they are getting better every day.
Now, AI conversational chatbots are learning about the customer journey, typical responses, and customers’ satisfaction rate. They can use this insight to improve their interaction with users, through millions of data points gathered in the past.
“Just like machine translation, we see that chatbots understand us better than before. Just think of Google Translate five years ago: if you entered a text in a source language, the target would usually turn out to be more or less gibberish. Now, it’s very far from it. Still, it’s miles away from human translation, and it’s the same case with chatbots”, says Sarah Coleman, a writer, and translator at Subjecto.
If you’re a customer who was previously in communication with a brand, chances are you’re a part of their CRM (customer relationship management) system, where your case is documented and categorized.
When you apply this to chatbots, these conversational technologies can use this info to gain better insight into the customer’s issue history and feedback. Instead of starting from scratch every time, a user and a chatbot can continue building on a conversation based on an earlier issue.
Of course, due to privacy laws, this doesn’t mean that a chatbot will be able to access anyone’s private data. Currently, chatbots are using the information you’ve made public on their platform or website (gender, age, location, etc.) to tailor their responses to your needs.
In 2020, we can expect that chatbot engineers will feed chatbots with analytics and data even more so that they could learn to recognize patterns and respond better.
Even though the hype around chatbots has settled down from when it first started in 2017, it’s still a very exciting field that leaves marketers, innovators and communication managers at the edge of their seats.
It’s still quite early to tell to what degree chatbots as we know them today will change in 2020, but judging by the comments and reports from experts, the trends that we outlined above are generally considered probable.
If you want to stay ahead of the curve, innovate and disrupt the customer satisfaction industry with your use of chatbots, make sure you keep up with all the recent developments and news — there’s exciting stuff happening every day!