Chatbots, or virtual customer assistants (VCAs), will be used in 25 percent of customer service and support operations by 2020, up from just 2 percent in 2017.
According to news from Gartner, a leading research and advisory company, more than half of organizations have already invested in VCAs for customer service so they can utilize all the advantages of automated self-service technology.
“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,” said Gene Alvarez, managing vice president at Gartner, at the Gartner Customer Experience Summit in Tokyo.
According to Gartner’s research, companies reported a reduction of up to 70 percent in call, chat and/or email inquiries after implementing a VCA, as well as a boost in customer satisfaction and a 33 percent savings 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.”
Some other takeaways from Gartner’s recent research: By 2019, 20 percent of brands will shut down their mobile apps, instead focusing on consumer messaging apps, such as Facebook Messenger and WeChat, to reach customers.
In addition, two-thirds of all customer experience projects will make use of IT by 2022. And by 2020, more than 40 percent of all data analytics projects will relate to an aspect of customer experience as companies try to better understand customer attitudes pertaining to brand loyalty and trust.
Also by 2020, 30 percent of all B2B companies will utilize artificial intelligence (AI) in at least one of their major sales processes. In fact, augmented reality, virtual reality and mixed reality immersive solutions are expected to be used in 20 percent of large enterprises. This will enable companies to provide real-time information through a virtual experience in a broader capacity, much like what is already offered through Snapchat filters and 360-degree video and photos on Facebook.