In the past decade, we have seen the emergence of several AI technologies. And one of the most significant one among them are chatbots. In the last few years, we have not only seen the emergence of AI chatbots but also their exponential growth and rapid adoption among enterprises.
While enterprises are already using chatbots for different use cases, we believe this is just the beginning of a long journey of this sophisticated technology. As someone who helped several medium and large organizations deploy enterprise chatbots, we’ve asked 11 experts the following question.
According to you, what is the biggest chatbot trend to watch for in 2020?
Here’s what they said…
Chatbots haven’t yet taken off with businesses today with only approximately 1% of companies actively using them. But In 2020, Facebook will integrate the messaging infrastructure of Facebook Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp, greatly extending the reach of chatbots to over 3 billion daily active users on a single platform. We believe this will make chatbots a must-have for businesses wanting to connect with users on those popular platforms.
“The largest technical trend I see in 2020 is that Chatbots should become generically more efficient at identifying the intent of a user. As the work done on BERT at Google starts to be incorporated into offerings, the context of words (like prepositions) within an utterance will be given weight to enable more accurate understanding.
However, Chatbots are at the Peak of Inflated Expectations in the Gartner Hype Cycle for Artificial Intelligence in 2019, but the potential return is not inconsiderable. Consequently, within business we should see an increase in Chatbot Education allowing expectation to more closely match Reality and an increase in the meaningful adoption of chatbots.”
“Consumers are increasingly demanding real-time engagement, including self-service tools that allow for instant Q&A and problem resolution. As technology continues to improve and evolve, conversational assistants will remain an extension of the brand and a sidekick for customer care, providing not only contextual, personalized on-demand support, but critical insights on the customer journey back to the organization. Such tools are no longer nice-to-have, but critical elements for differentiation and success in the digital economy.”
With about little over 2 years of enterprises trying out and experimenting with chatbots for internal employee-facing use cases, many are now confident about the technology and the usefulness. And now, many businesses are switching to the next level to use chatbots to engage their customers, which was the primary goal in the first place.
From bots on webpages, portals, WhatsApp and even Facebook messenger, we are going to see a huge surge in chatbots deployed to understand, retain & serve customers better. This will reduce the time to feedback leading to quicker innovation of products by businesses.
Last but not the least, chatbots will provide the half-life extension to social platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn. These platforms will change from knowledge and communication mediums to self-service platforms – One of the rare things B2C will be adopting from B2B. Overall 2020 will be the year of chatbot rising to help humans.
Expect structure to come from the enterprise – more specifically, expect to see key advances in 2020 coming through more extensive AI integration for bot services of all kinds. The enterprise arena is an obvious spawning ground for innovation, as businesses of every kind are crying out for intelligent and highly scalable bot solutions to connect customers with product in a timely and efficient manner.
Given the mission critical nature of any technology investment for commercial purposes, it is extremely likely that the enterprise will offer the most effective ‘test-bed’ for a rapid evolution of more adaptive and verbose solutions, thus finally delivering on the promise of a ‘near-human’ chatbot interface.
Gartner predicts that “chatbots will power 85 percent of all customer service interactions by the year 2020 and by then the average person will have more conversations with chatbots than with their spouse.” Voice technology has developed so much that it has reached a tipping point where you can hardly differentiate between a human and machine, Google Duplex is one brilliant example. An AI-powered chatbot will supercharge businesses improving customer care by connecting them to a whole array of personalized services in real-time.
One of the trends is using chatbots to support the productivity of work teams. They start off as simple signposts to point people in the direction of useful learning resources, insights and practical skills. We will then start to see them move up the value chain, and offer simple coaching. Over the longer-term with data analysis, we might start to see improved engagement, better decision-making, and improved psychological safety.
“At the business level, I believe we would be able to start seeing early versions of a chatbot as your sidekick at work. Not as advanced as JARVIS in Ironman but at the minimal, chatbot that is able to make better suggestions based on your personal preferences, parameters as well as the vast amount of data it collects of you every single minute. For instance, if my day is packed with back-to-back meetings, it could suggest blocking one hour of reflection time to process those meetings. This is on top of more accurate voice processing which enables users to communicate with the chatbot faster than typing.”
The two biggest chatbot trends to watch will be the increase in the number of use cases, along with improvement in usability. Frankly, when it comes to chatbots, the user experience isn’t living up to the hype, but this will change over time. Chatbots are continually learning and need to get data fed in order to understand the words and phrases used for each vertical and each particular business or organization. As chatbots keep learning, they will improve their accuracy and the ability to respond to customer inquiries.
As the quality and accuracy of chatbots improve, the number of use cases will increase. While currently used for very basic inquiries and interactions, they’ll increasingly be used to better assist customers and agents and drive more complex interactions and transactions.
Sentiment analysis will be increasingly applied in the development of chatbots — because at the moment, let’s face it — most bots still act rather like bots.
The race to properly react to human sentiment is on! (And we’ve already seen how it can go badly wrong, in the case of Microsoft’s Tay.)
As conversational AI bots continue to improve in 2020 onwards, it should become almost impossible for a customer to realize they are speaking with a machine.
Amazon Comprehend is one example of chatbot software paving the way.
Chatbots have been through their initial experimental phase, and we are starting to see them being used to automating certain aspects of commerce. The bad news is that they are starting to be used to spam us as the other channels of interruption marketing (advertising, cold calling, unsolicited emails) dry up. If Chatbots are to be taken seriously, people need to try and start using them, not to spam, but to create real-valued business processes. What do I mean? One of the spin-offs of the new technology of the iPhone, was social media. Social Media has changed how we work and changed society. Let’s hope Chatbot energy is channeled in the same way?
Voice chatbots will be more powerful for 2020 as we predict it with data backed by Botanalytics. The penetration of Google Home and Amazon Alexa is increasing dramatically and usage of voice bots will not be limited to just asking weather or playing music. Banks, Insurance and Travel companies will be more in the game by providing voice chatbots with specific skill sets. Maybe not providing lots of capabilities, but focusing on some skill sets. That will be the key to get success in 2020.
We leverage our enterprise chatbot builder platform – BotCore to help various Fortune 500 companies, SMBs, and start ups to build, deploy, manage and train AI chatbots. Our chatbots are used to improve customer service, productivity, efficiency and coordination at workplaces.