Everyday millions of people call or text companies asking for information and without knowing it they may be getting their information from a chatbot. This is a technological innovation that is expected to keep growing in popularity, with customers enjoying the ease with which they get their information and businesses saving money or boosting their revenues.
Let’s look at some of the facts concerning chatbots and how they will change the online landscape in the coming years.
What are chatbots and why are people using them?
For the uninitiated, chatbots are virtual assistants that can reach out to potential customers or answer their questions. These assistants can engage in human-like conversations and improve customer service relationships. They interact with users via messaging, text, or speech over customers’ smartphones, computers, or tablets. Chatbots have been around for years, but it is over the last decade that the technology has reached a state where it can give out information just as well as a human customer service assistant.
As the technology keeps improving, more businesses are starting to use it to ensure they keep their customers happy. According to Markets Insider, the global chatbot market is expected to reach $9.4 billion by 2024. In addition to advancement in technology, this growth is driven by rising customer demands for self-services and cheaper customer assistance available 24/7. (1)
What industries are using chatbots?
One industry sector that is jumping on the chatbot train is customer service. Today’s customers expect to find information every minute of every day, whether they need information from the hospitality, banking, health, or wellness sector. There are only so many customer service agents available for each industry, which is why many callers end up waiting for over two hours before speaking to an agent.
Chatbots can free up time for customers, and companies are catching on. Data from Juniper Research found that chatbots leveraged for customer service have a strong potential to reduce costs with deployments realising annual savings for retailers of $439 million globally by 2023, up from just $7 million in 2019.
The online retail business also a lot to benefit from using chatbots. The global number of successful retail chatbot interactions is expected to reach $22 billion by 2023, up from an estimated $2.6 billion in 2019, and retail sales resulting from chatbot-based interactions are expected to reach $112 billion by 2023. (2)
Whatever your industry, EMPOWER can help you install a chatbot on your website to fully benefit from its potential.
How can chatbots boost growth?
Companies and businesses who use chatbots can guide their customers as they decide what to buy, thus driving up sales and revenue. Advanced chatbots can remember customers’ preferences and give them advice, tips, and help. They can also serve more customers, which over time saves the company money and frees up the time of existing employees to focus on other aspects of customer engagements.
By delivering a fast and effective experience to their customers with chatbots 24/7, companies will earn their loyalty. Using first-person, conversational data, businesses can also better understand trends, and interpret how their customers feel. This provides them with valuable insight that informs product and service development. (3)
How could chatbots be used in the future?
As the number of people who use chatbots increases, innovations and new ways to use them are also on the rise.
In the first week of June, Facebook researchers introduced Situated Interactive MultiModal Conversations (SIMMC), a new research direction aimed at training AI chatbots that take actions like showing an object and explaining what it’s made of in response to images, memories of previous interactions, and individual requests. The goal of this new chatbot is for it to emulate human chat partners by responding to images, messages, and messages about images as naturally as a person might.
By simply asking to see a certain product, this assistant could filter through a catalogue of products based on what the customer wants to purchase. Facebook’s long-term goal is to eventually have a system that can serve up product recommendations on the fly that are matched to individual tastes and styles. (4)
The team at EMPOWER can help you set up and launch your own Facebook messenger chatbot.
What are possible applications for chatbots?
Anyone familiar with online shopping or with some knowledge of digital marketing should be familiar with the concept of chatbots. However, in addition to customer service and ecommerce, there are other industries that can benefit from this technology.
According to a study conducted by the University of Sheffield, although chatbots are primarily used by young people they could play a key role in helping older customers with issues around their health and wellbeing. The research highlights how effective chatbots can be in helping to solve health problems or deliver therapy for anyone who is not able to leave their home.
Results from the study show people over the age of 65 have interacted with chatbots for this purpose and have said they find them useful enough to want to use them again in the future. One chatbot asked users to describe a current problem and the software then scanned their responses to ask questions. It helped them explore the problem in more depth and detail, with the goal of users reaching a solution.
Researchers found controlled studies of chatbots need to be conducted with clinical populations to consider the potential integration of chatbots into psychological care in routine services. (5)
In the coming years, more and more businesses will be using chatbots to interact with their customers, deliver useful information, and build customer loyalty. For customers this will make their online experience easier, and for business owners this will save time and money.
Online retail and customer service are the sectors that currently use this technology the most, but others will be joining them as the usefulness chatbots becomes more evident. Today chatbots make it easier to get customer service information or shop online, soon they could make it easier to receive qualified medical or wellness information. As the technology keeps improving, there is no telling how many industries could benefit from chatbots.
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- “Global Chatbot Market Anticipated to Reach $9.4 Billion by 2024 – Robust Opportunities to Arise in Retail & ECommerce | Markets Insider.” Business Insider, Business Insider, 12 Dec. 2019, markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/global-chatbot-market-anticipated-to-reach-9-4-billion-by-2024-robust-opportunities-to-arise-in-retail-ecommerce-1028759508.
- “Chatbot Interactions in Retail to Reach 22 Billion by 2023, as AI Offers Compelling New Engagement Solutions.” Chatbot Interactions in Retail to Reach 22 Billion by 2023, 8 May 2019, www.juniperresearch.com/press/press-releases/chatbot-interactions-retail-reach-22-billion-2023.
- “Chatbots: The Definitive Guide 2020.” Conversational AI Platform for Enterprise – Teneo | Artificial Solutions, 4 June 2020, www.artificial-solutions.com/chatbots.
- Wiggers, Kyle. “Facebook Creates Shopping Data Sets to Make More Humanlike Chatbots.” VentureBeat, VentureBeat, 3 June 2020, venturebeat.com/2020/06/03/facebook-shopping-data-sets-humanlike-chatbots/?utm_source=Triggermail&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Post%2BBlast%2Bbii-digital-media%3A%2BFacebook%27s%2Bnew%2Bchatbot%2Badvancement%2Bcould%2Bfuel%2Bsocial%2Bcommerce%2Bambitions&utm_term=BII%2BList%2BDMedia%2BALL.
- staff, Science X. “Chatbots Could Be Used to Deliver Psychotherapy during Covid-19 and Beyond.” Medical Xpress – Medical Research Advances and Health News, Medical Xpress, 4 June 2020, medicalxpress.com/news/2020-06-chatbots-psychotherapy-covid-.html.