Will Chatbots take over customer service operations?

Going by a Gartner observation, it says that 25% of Customer Service Operations Will Use Virtual Customer Assistants by 2020

Will bots steal your jobs? While that such propect is a long term reality in a larger context, but some of the technology verticals like testing and customer services operations are already seeing the aggressive adoption of bots. In the context of customer services operations, it’s called Chatbots and their escalation is indeed impressive, going by a Gartner observation.

WHAT IS A CHATBOT?

Going by Wikipedia, “A chatbot (also known as a talkbot, chatterbot, Bot, IM bot, interactive agent, or Artificial Conversational Entity) is a computer program which conducts a conversation via auditory or textual methods. Such programs are often designed to convincingly simulate how a human would behave as a conversational partner, thereby passing the Turing test. Chatbots are typically used in dialog systems for various practical purposes including customer service or information acquisition. Some chatterbots use sophisticated natural language processing systems, but many simpler systems scan for keywords within the input, then pull a reply with the most matching keywords, or the most similar wording pattern, from a database.”

“The term “ChatterBot” was originally coined by Michael Mauldin (creator of the first Verbot, Julia) in 1994 to describe these conversational programs. Today, chatbots are part of virtual assistantssuch as Google Assistant, and are accessed via many organizations’ apps, websites, and on instant messaging platforms. Non-assistant applications include chatbots used for entertainment purposes, for research, and social bots which promote a particular product, candidate, or issue.”

ENTER CHATBOTS

25% of customer service and support operations will integrate virtual customer assistant (VCA) or chatbot technology across engagement channels by 2020, up from less than 2% in 2017, according to Gartner. Speaking at of the Gartner Customer Experience Summit in Tokyo, Gene Alvarez, managing vice president at Gartner, said more than half of organizations have already invested in VCAs for customer service, as they realize the advantages of automated self-service, together with the ability to escalate to a human agent in complex situations.

“As more customers engage on digital channels, VCAs are being implemented for handling customer requests on websites, mobile apps, consumer messaging apps and social networks,” Alvarez said. “This is underpinned by improvements in natural-language processing, machine learning and intent-matching capabilities.”

Organizations report a reduction of up to 70% in call, chat and/or email inquiries after implementing a VCA,according to Gartner research. They also report increased customer satisfaction and a 33 percent saving per voice engagement. “A great VCA offers more than just information,” said Alvarez. “It should enrich the customer experience, help the customer throughout the interaction and process transactions on behalf of the customer.” A 2017 Gartner survey found that 84% of organizations expected to increase investments in customer experience (CX) technology in the year ahead. Other Gartner predictions for CX leaders to know when developing a customer strategy include.

CHALLENGING THE APPS 

By 2019, 20 % of brands will abandon their mobile apps. Many brands are finding that mobile applications are not delivering the level of adoption and customer engagement they expected. Original return-on-investment (ROI) calculations are missing the mark due to the cost of support, maintenance, upgrades, customer care and marketing to drive downloads. Brands are now investing to build presence in consumer messaging apps, such as Facebook Messenger and WeChat, to reach customers where they spend a high percentage of their time.

Also by 2022, two-thirds of all customer experience projects will make use of IT, up from 50 % in 2017. As the number of digital channels expands, self-service or digital commerce interactions are increasing, as well as the move away from human face-to-face or voicebased interactions. The proportion of projects using IT to improve the customer experience will steadily rise. Those not using technology tend to be projects related to recruiting, training, governing and managing customer facing employees.

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

By 2020, 30 % of all B2B companies will employ artificial intelligence (AI) to augment at least one of their primary sales processes.AI in sales allows for more efficiency and effectiveness in business processes, often with up to 30 percent higher conversion rates when engaging prospects or leads, according to Gartner. It is becoming an attractive alternative for sales organizations with high volumes of lead processing, opportunities and forecasting processes because it provides fast and accurate support when performing the different sales stages.

DATA ANALYTICS 

By 2020, more than 40% of all data analytics projects will relate to an aspect of customer experience.Data and analytics is already prominent across marketing, sales, digital commerce, customer service, social media management and field service departments. However, an understanding of the overall condition of the customer’s attitude toward the enterprise is lacking for the majority. What matters is not the customer’s attitude about a store, department, process or product, but the level of trust they have in the organization as a whole and their likely intent to remain loyal.  

AUGUMENTED REALITY 

By 2020, augmented reality, virtual reality and mixed reality immersive solutions will be evaluated and adopted in 20% of large enterprises as part of their digital transformation strategy.Organizations will have the ability to provide employees, customers and suppliers with a means to obtain real-time information, experience virtual environments and engage in social collaboration without a small, limited display and a limited point of view. Consumers already experience some form of immersive technology, such as Snapchat filters and 360-degree video and photos on Facebook.

 

 

 

 

 

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