A year ago, we presented the Chatbot Report 2018: Global Trends and Analysis. More than 44 thousand unique readings prompted us that such materials are in demand — and therefore we are pleased to submit an updated Chatbot Report 2019: Global Trends and Analysis at the Chatbots Magazine platform.
Which of our predictions did come true? Does the faith in the future of the chatbot industry persist? EMarketer forecast promises us that by the end of 2019, more than a quarter of all mankind would use instant messaging programs.
Business Insider experts predict that by 2020, 80% of enterprises will use chatbots. According to Lauren Foye, by 2022, banks can automate up to 90% of their customer interaction using chatbots. A survey conducted by Spiceworks showed that 40% of large companies employing more than 500 people plan to implement one or more intelligent assistant or AI-based chat robot over corporate mobile devices in 2019.
According to Relay, 65.1% of companies using chatbot technology are engaged in web software, and 58% of companies using chatbots technology are focused on B2B.
According to Drift, 27% of adult clients in the United States are ready to purchase basic goods through a chatbot, 13% of adults in the US have at least once bought expensive items using chatbots. According to Adobe, 28% of leading companies use AI for marketing, while 31% plan to use AI in the next 12 months. According to Opus Research, by 2021, 4.5 billion dollars will be invested in chatbots.
Customers boldly use chatbots (including voice assistants, as a separate category of intelligent chatbots) as the only channel for shopping — according to Edison, 16% of Americans own smart speakers such as Amazon Alexa or Google Home. A study by Convince and Convert indicates that 15% of US consumers believe that nothing can stop them from using the chatbot.
But how satisfied are the users of instant messengers with real-life chatbot experience? We live in an economy of instant gratification. Consumers expect, based on the experience provided by such giants as Amazon, Google, Netflix, Lyft, and Tinder, that all their needs will be fulfilled in an instant.
According to usabilla.com survey, 46% of Internet users in the US would rather receive online support from a live person, even if the chatbot can save them a lot of time. Similar results are shown by the survey from UJET, revealing an interesting case for everyone involved in the chatbot industry. 58% of respondents believe that chatbots were not as effective as expected.
Surprisingly, in the retail trade, most consumers like to be self-sufficient in their decision-making and do not necessarily need to contact chatbots or customer service managers.
Here are the difficulties faced by chatbot users in 2018:
According to RichRelevance, answers to customer questions that AI-based chatbots sought independently, were more “creepy” than “cool” (40.7% against 27.0%).
Even in 2019, chatbot technology is still far from perfect. Companies using chatbots today see many opportunities for improvement. According to Spiceworks, 59% of respondents indicated that chatbots often misunderstood the nuances of human communication, 30% reported that chatbots performed commands inaccurately, and 29% reported difficulties in understanding accents. In addition, 23% of organizations surveyed found that smart helpers cannot distinguish the voice of the “owner”, which can be a problem in the busy conditions.
There are also other problems. 50% of businessmen surveyed said they did not implement chatbots due to the lack of usage options, while 29% referred to security and privacy issues, and 25% stated that the high cost of chatbots and intellectual AI assistants keeps them from initial implementation. In addition, 19% of organizations that do not use chatbots are concerned that this technology may distract employees and detriment user productivity.
This data may look alarming, apparently consumers and business alike will need more time to get used to and accept this type of customer service. According to CGS (Computer Generated Solutions), 60% of Internet users in the United States, aged 35 to 44, believe that companies are too quick to replace people with chatbots.
This opinion was shared by a smaller number of younger and older consumers, but still a third from the 18–24 age group and 42% from the 55–64 age group were concerned that the implementation of chatbots would make it difficult to get in touch with real customer service managers.
Will chatbots stay among the key trends in personal and business communication development? Using the example of digital services in the banking sector, the Humley study shows promising results. 43% of respondents said that they prefer to solve any problems that may arise with their banking provider, through a chatbot or a live chat. This confirms the trend of last year, people still prefer chatting with personal visits or phone calls.
Search interest in chatbots is not waning, showing a small annual growth. According to Google Trends, users continue to be interested in this topic consistently.
Same as in the past year, it is impossible to make an unequivocal conclusion, focusing only on search queries. According to Facebook IQ, the growth of interest in instant messengers and chatbots will continue at least until 2021.
In 2019, 78% of smartphone users in the world send messages every month, and the global user base of mobile messaging applications will rise by another 23%.
According to a survey by Qualtrics, conducted among 6090 men and women in the USA, GB, DE, FR, IT and ES, people aged 18 to 34 are twice as open to communicating with a personal chatbot as an assistant when shopping, compared to other age groups. According to the same report, a quarter of respondents under the age of 34 are directly interested in a personal “shopping chatbot”.
Why do people strive to communicate with business via instant messengers?
According to Facebook Business, when users are asked why they send messages to business, more than 64% of respondents in 4 markets (Brazil, India, UK, ES) respond — because like this they are most likely to get in touch. And more than 61% say that messaging as a way of communication is the easiest and most convenient way to connect with a business.
What are the benefits of chatting with bots as compared to more traditional communication channels? Here are three answers to this question.
- Firstly — it is faster than other means of communication.
- Secondly — with such communication advice are of higher quality, it is a manifestation of customer care.
- Thirdly — the answers are more honest.
In fact, by introducing messaging channels outfitted with chatbots, a business creates prospects for further growth. People expect that they will continue to send messages to the business and make purchases through messaging and that business messages will themselves improve customer care.
This forms three trends for businesses that have already implemented communication via instant messengers.
The first is that users will begin to communicate with the business, discuss service issues, and turn for support more often. Such is the belief of 70% of respondents who already use this communication channel.
Second — 59% of respondents will continue to use messaging for shopping.
And finally, the third trend — 68% of respondents believe that instant messaging will improve the user experience.
Businesses are increasingly using artificial intelligence in conjunction with chatbots to drastically change the way they interact with customers.
Statista study demonstrates that over 64% of business respondents believe that chatbots allow them to provide a more personalized service experience for customers. When it comes to the field of e-commerce, this is more than the previous result of 34% in 2017.
What conclusions should a business make to take advantage of these trends in 2019? Let us turn to the study of Sentient Decision Science (ordered by Facebook, 8156 people were interviewed in BR, GB, IN and the US, June 2018).
Determine what tasks your chatbot would execute. Use communication opportunities to add value to customer interactions. Determine the goals for the tool before implementing it. Are you seeking to attract new potential customers, allow users to make appointments, buy products, get answers to common questions faster, or simply increase brand loyalty?
Consider chat messaging in the context of a marketing tool — sales funnel. Think where a chatbot can add convenience and simplify the user’s transition to a purchase. A chatbot is an ideal tool to confidently transition leads from consideration to conversion.
Measure, test, and train. Chatbot can simplify the path to purchase, but at the implementation stage, it is very important to test performance, understand how messaging affects your business goals, and identify areas in which you can optimize the dialogue or the content. Track the events that occur in your chatbot so you can accurately check the impact of messaging to your business.
Another huge potential of messaging for businesses is the capability of rapid responses to customer requests.
A business that uses online chat in conjunction with a chatbot can solve problems faster than ever before. When employees are online, they will be able to take the initiative, replacing the bot to respond to incoming messages.
Especially important the speed of response is in the field of e-commerce.
More than 60% of Americanexpress customers say they prefer digital self-service tools, such as websites, applications or chatbots, to get answers to simple queries. According to the Comm100 website, millennials, who are increasingly gaining the predominant purchasing power, consider instant messaging a preferred support channel.
The main reason why chatbots are so popular is that communication with a real person often takes too long when a customer calls the company. Average waiting time when calling according to Newvoicemedia is 11 minutes. This is almost double what 75% of online customers are ready to wait; they want help in 5 minutes tops. And chatbots work much faster — the average waiting time for access in a chat session is 45 seconds.
Referring to the anxieties that customers experience when actually using chatbots, it should be noted that not only speed but also the quality of responses is important. “Fast, but stupid” chatbots are not able to meet the growing amount of user requests.
According to Spiceworks, among companies using chat robots with artificial intelligence and intelligent assistants, 46% use them for voice dictation, 26% use them to support teamwork, and 24% use them to manage the employee schedule. In addition, 14% use AI chat robots and customer service assistants to service customers, and 13% use them to manage the IT service.
In 2019, the business, following the trend towards the ubiquitous use of AI, will begin a real update of chatbots, exploiting such AI features as natural speech recognition, intelligent detection of user requests, and even more “smart” switching from chatbots to the real operator. The task of modern chatbots in business is to convince users that their chatbots can keep the promise.
In the face of a fast and unpredictably developing business environment, companies will have to fundamentally rethink how they interact with customers, especially with those customers who are loyal to the idea of chatbots. More sophisticated conversational interfaces will become standards in developing applications and consumer websites, especially in the service sector.
Chatbots are already having a significant impact on customer service and marketing processes in companies. Nevertheless, the prospects for using chatbot technology extend far beyond these areas.
Companies must accumulate and use their experience in developing interactive interfaces, train and engage experts who can help them to do this. Expert companies will be able to provide scaling when deploying chatbots. However, to be successful, they will have to turn to those who understand business processes, along with experts. The development of interactive interfaces is a completely new paradigm, which is very different from the development of web or application interfaces. Companies that are the first to occupy this niche will gain a significant advantage in the future market of chatbots.
According to Spiceworks, many organizations may not be ready to take advantage of intelligent chatbots. Only 20% of IT professionals believe that their organization has the skills, talents and resources needed to implement and support AI (Spiceworks survey was conducted in March 2018 and included 529 respondents from North America and Europe, from various companies, including small and medium-sized businesses, and different industries, including manufacturing, health care, non-profit activities, education, government, and finance).
Together with the development of artificial intelligence-based chatbots, we will face the need to analyze the text, speech, and customer’s faces. This technology will be very useful for a later stage of the chatbot development — optimization.
Chatbots will acquire “virtual personalities” that would allow them to take into account the influence of feelings, as well as race, style, gender, preferences of people who communicate with them. What does this mean for business? Companies will begin to carefully design the identities of corporate chatbots to make them more pleasant and natural.
In the end, we will see chatbots with different styles and personalities, ready to match different market segments. In order to achieve this, companies will have to compete with each other in collecting data for machine learning and the business that will accumulate the need amounts first will get the benefits.
Without the synergy of business and chatbots, as well as without further AI advancements, this tool will not be able to provide quick and efficient results.
For business in 2019, it is important to choose platforms and products that can be scaled according to their own usage scenarios and would allow developing personal experiences in creating interactive interfaces.
All positive ratings of chatbots for the past, 2018, year not only were justified but also largely surpassed analysts’ expectations. A business may consider chatbots not only as a reliable way to overcome delays in the process of business communication but also as a promising market that transforms the channels of interaction with customers.
We hope that acquaintance with BRN Chatbot Report 2019 has benefited you and will continue to monitor all the trends of the chatbot business.
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