By Mandy Reed, Marketing Manager (Global)
“By 2021, more than 50% of enterprises will spend more per annum on bots and chatbot creation than traditional mobile app development.”
As one of Gartner’s top strategic predictions for 2018 and beyond, this projection really drives home the fact that chatbots are more than just a passing fad. Gartner explains that chatbots are becoming the face of artificial intelligence (AI) and transforming the way apps are built. Forward-thinking organisations are staying a step ahead of their competitors by examining their digital strategies and finding ways to incorporate chatbot technology into their customer engagement plans.
Some companies have already made their chatbot available in their customer app. One example is Time Warner Cable who offer customers the option to get instant help from their virtual agent, and even escalate to a live agent when needed, in the MY TWC app – check out the video below to see it in action.
Other organisations are taking advantage of the growing popularity of messaging platforms by deploying their chatbot on apps such as Facebook Messenger and WeChat. These platforms have become key communication channels, and chatbots offer a cost-effective way to provide 24/7 support to customers already using these apps to connect with family and friends. For example, Transport for NSW in Australia uses RITA (Real-time Intelligent Transport Assistant), their Transport Bot, to provide bus, train, ferry and light rail service information on Facebook Messenger.
A survey published earlier this year found that 71% of millennials (ages 18-34) surveyed were interested in trying chatbots from consumer brands. According to that same survey, 67% said they were likely to buy items and services from brands via chatbots. Based on those results, it’s no wonder that enterprises are starting to seriously invest in chatbots to engage with customers. Some may even look to completely replace their traditional mobile app with a chatbot.
It’s not enough for companies to invest in any chatbot, though – they need to invest in the solution that’s right for their needs. There are new vendors popping up every day claiming to provide chatbots and virtual agents for customer support, but smart organisations know it’s essential to work with an experienced provider offering a proven solution. Smart organisations also know that chatbots need to be implemented as an integrated part of their overall customer engagement strategy, not as a stand-alone tool or app. Here are a few resources to get you started:
- Virtual Agents and Chatbots and Avatars – confusing or what! – In addition to clarifying the confusing terminology in the current marketplace, this whitepaper also includes a list of key features to look for when selecting a chatbot.
- Choosing a Virtual Agent Solution for Instant Messaging Platforms and SMS – This checklist outlines five essential questions to ask before deploying a chatbot on messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger and WeChat.
- AI, Chatbots and Virtual Agents: The Threat to Mankind and the Contact Centre – This whitepaper cuts through the chatbot hype and overpromising for a realistic look at how these conversational systems can be used to provide reliable self-service and help contact centres better support customers.