Chatbots are software programs that can interact with humans through live chat or another messaging interface. Their user interface can use text, voice, or both. Today, most chatbots are powered by artificial intelligence (AI), which means they can provide a more natural and personalized user experience, and are integrated with other systems and platforms.
Like any high-tech solution, chatbots have received their share of skepticism. However, they have developed to the point where companies saw in them a cost-effective way to automate some tasks that only humans could perform previously. Many businesses are now using chatbots for customer interactions. Chatbots can answer simple questions, resolve complex issues, or provide other services 24/7.
Customers feel increasingly at ease with virtual assistants, and companies can increasingly avoid hiring people to answer their queries. As chatbots evolve and become more functional, their usage becomes more appealing. These chatbot trends show that one day chatbots may assume a main role in providing customer service. However, the capabilities of chatbots today are largely limited only by our imagination.
What Chatbot Trends Might We Expect to Blossom Soon?
With a variety of ‘conversational marketing’ techniques being used such as the voice-assisted Amazon Alexa and chatbots in Messenger, it will be interesting to see how this technology will develop. Let’s take a look at the chatbot trends that may likely take the stage soon and how chatbots will be used.
1. Better use of machine learning.
Modern chatbots are evolving into exactly what scientists initially wanted them to be: they learn. This form of learning occurs mainly through interaction with humans, but that’s not the only option. Chatbots also collect so-called training data and can be connected to open source data (like WikiQA Corpus or Ubuntu Dialogue Corpus) to create a more fuller picture. Chatbots use this during a live chat, as a reference. The more data which comes in, the more capable chatbots are to process and understand. They work smoothly and efficiently, their reactions become increasingly personalized, and operational time becomes shorter. It is quite likely that very soon they will become fully capable of assisting with the user’s needs at nearly every stage of the customer experience. This means much less generic and useless information is communicated.
2. Future in your pocket.
According to Statista, instant messaging apps like Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp were the third most commonly used social media in the U.S., and over 41 million mobile messages were sent each minute in 2019. That promises great customer communication opportunities by deploying chatbots in mobile messengers.
Gartner predicted that 25% of customer support services would have integrated virtual customer assistants or chatbots by 2020. That’s up from less than 2% in 2017. According to Gartner’s research, such implementation leads to up to a 70% drop in call and email inquiries and to increased customer satisfaction. They also predicted the use of chatbots in our day-to-day lives to grow to 93% by 2021. This is strong evidence that chatbots have arrived.
3. Human-like chatbots.
Chatbots which feel increasingly ‘humanlike’ are already broadly used. This is thanks to natural language processing (NLP). NLP enables chatbots to communicate using complete sentences which have a natural, conversational flow. Dialects, small sounds, deliberate pauses, or even spelling mistakes can help customers feel more at ease. Conversations will feel more ‘realistic’ and lifelike. In turn, this will facilitate customer service for all the parties and will help businesses further improve customer engagement.
4. Convenient problem-solving.
One of the most exciting chatbot trends is resolving the common annoyance of waiting in queue for your call to be answered at a call center. While some issues require human assistance, chatbots are increasingly capable of resolving many of them. Moreover, as chatbots become more human-like, the customer experience will feel as if an actual person is providing the customer service.
5. Advantageous virtual assistance.
Another advantage with chatbots is that they make it possible to combine different applications and tasks. This gives chatbots an edge over using a number of separate apps while facilitating the automation of various customer services.
6. The growth of voice-based apps.
Some suggest that the growing popularity of voice-based software will decrease the usage of standard apps requiring typing. It’s often easier and faster to ask questions or make requests using your voice while leaving your hands free. Typing will remain common for a time, but the future is about voice- and video-based software and bots, such as Amazon Alexa or Gecko (AI-based video-interview bot).
Chatbots and the Near Future
According to a report by Mordor Intelligence, the chatbot market is expected to grow by almost 35% from 2018 to 2024. Smart voice-assisted devices have gained especially high traction due to their fully automated processes and convenience.
Chatbots can be integrated within any platform to reinforce a company’s marketing efforts. They can also connect various marketing channels, such as email and websites, collect valuable customer data, and even recognize the emotions of the users for improved customer experiences and relationships. They may improve your customer service with easy communication, instant responses, and tireless 24/7 service.
The green light is on for artificial intelligence and chatbots. They are poised to revolutionize both business operations and our daily lives. The entrepreneurs’ mission is to figure out which of the chatbot trends they are willing to embrace.