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Why We Should Take Chatbots Seriously in 2021

Dialogue platforms such as chatbots are not a new innovation. In fact, the first-ever chatbot named ELIZA was developed in the ‘60s before the Internet even existed. Decades later, the use of conversational AI is currently at an all-time high. Chatbot technology has infiltrated nearly every industry from healthcare to retail, making text or voice interactions between man and machine part of our daily routine. Most notably, businesses have adopted the use of chatbots to provide around the clock support to their customers. 

In times of crisis, like the coronavirus pandemic, chatbots have proven especially useful in easing the massive volume of engagement on company platforms. In a way, this outbreak has accelerated the development and demand for more sophisticated chatbot strategies. Over the next year, they’re projected to handle approximately 85% of all customer interactions. That’s why, going into 2021, it is especially important that we take chatbots seriously.

1. 80% of companies plan on launching some form of a chatbot by the end of 2020

The benefits of adopting chatbot technology have not gone unnoticed. In a survey from Oracle that included 800 business leaders and decision-makers from across the globe, 80% of participants admitted that chatbots were already part of their 2020 strategy to incorporate new, emerging technologies. This was largely attributed to the fact that automated technology cuts down on labor costs. You don’t have to pay a chatbot by the hour or provide them with healthcare and training services. 

It’s not just about saving money though. A company’s revenue can actually increase from the efficiency of chatbot technology. Better customer care combined with fewer resources will, in theory, drive sales and optimize workforce costs, making the transition to chatbots all the more appealing.

2. The future of customer service operations will rely on virtual assistants

Customer service is an integral part of any company’s success. According to 2018 findings by Garter Inc., it was estimated that 25% of all customer service operations will adopt chatbot technology by the end of 2020. Why? Chatbots can improve user experience by expediting the amount of time between inbound and outbound service interactions. More specifically, chatbots have the ability to increase a company’s brand awareness and sales, boost customer engagement and operate on a 24/7 basis. This is why in 2021, approximately 85% of all customer interactions will be handled by chatbots. 

Currently, chatbots function as virtual assistants and can offer voice or text-based support via websites, mobile apps, consumer messaging apps and social networks. When used correctly, they can prevent human employees from undergoing burnout and free them up to take on more complex queries or tasks. This is what prompted New York surgeon, Dr. Philip J. Miller, to create Aestheti.bot—the first medical communication tool programmed to deliver data pertaining to both the $15 billion per year plastic surgery as well as the medical industry as a whole. Its primary function is to field the overabundance of FAQs that Dr. Miller’s aesthetic practice receives on a daily basis. In addition, Aestheti.bot can also schedule new or follow-up appointments, capture leads and provide natural language responses that are custom to each medical practice’s individual tone of voice. 

3. In 2021, more money will be spent on bots and bot creation than mobile app development 

It’s projected that 50% of companies will choose to invest more money in chatbots than mobile apps. The goal is to streamline the clunky, outdated smart device experience of obtaining an app—eliminating what some have referred to as “app fatigue.” This takes into account a statistic from Comscore, which revealed that 65% of Americans will not download a single new app over a three-month period. Whether it’s because they’re overwhelmed by the number of choices or because the apps themselves take up space on their smart device. 

To this point, chatbots can also assist in saving storage space on mobile and other smart devices by utilizing just one unified interface. This is in addition to having faster development times than apps and an overall improved user experience. Currently, apps such as Facebook Messenger and WeChat are successful examples of what brands are looking to model their own platforms after.

4. Chatbots will reduce $8 billion worth of business costs by 2022

Currently, the success of chatbot technology has saved businesses across the world $20 million. That number is expected to spike to $8 billion by 2022. The banking and health care industries stand to gain the most in terms of savings because of the large volumes of human interaction they manage on a daily basis. To further put things into perspective, Dr. Miller is able to save 15 hours a month, or 180 hours a year, by having his dialogue platform, Aestheti.bot, perform one single task. The intent is to lessen the amount of busywork and in turn, allow staff members more time to focus on patient care. 

In the finance and banking sectors, Juniper Research approximated that chatbots could save banking or finance operations four minutes per inquiry, which averages to $0.50-$0.70 per transaction. In addition to savings on cost and time, chatbots can improve customer loyalty by providing hassle-free service.

Conclusion

Research has shown that more businesses will set out to automate their customer service interactions by integrating chatbot technology into their platforms over the next year. This surge in artificial intelligence will assist companies in maximizing their workflow, improving user experience and also reducing associated time and costs. While all industries can benefit from chatbots, the health care and finance industries stand to gain the most in 2021.

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