Just a few years ago the idea that artificial intelligence would be able to help customers with their questions and problems could still be called a futuristic fantasy. Being able to use chatbots was not a realistic option, no matter the size of the organization.
By now chatbots or digital assistants have grown so much that they can play an important role in modern-day customer service. That’s why a growing number of enterprises is starting to implement chatbots into their services. Brands are starting to experiment more, and customers have reached a technological literacy, which makes the use of this kind of AI-based features in customer service a lot easier.
Chatbots of today are often used for smaller tasks and automation purposes. Yet, it is already obvious that they will be able to reach a level that makes more complex applications, such as understanding and responding accurately to complex queries and conversational requests, possible soon.
The future use cases of chatbots are almost unlimited and we can expect to make fundamental progress in 2019. Let’s take a look at 5 major trends that we will face this year.
1) Artificial Intelligence is becoming more intelligent
The last years have been heavily influenced by an ever-increasing amount of data (partly due to digitalisation efforts). In 2019 the most pressing task is to exploit the collected information. Artificial intelligence (AI) will play a major role in this endeavor enabling new pathways for development and data analysis. Sophisticated systems can inspect the data and automatically detect (hidden) patterns and learn (the optimal) rules and strategies to achieve various goals.
The challenge is to make the gathered data fully understandable for machines. Knowledge graphs will play a significant role to tackle this challenge and will lift AI systems to the next level. With public knowledge graphs currently emerging everywhere, AI-powered chatbots will have access to and can incorporate a plethora of additional background knowledge and thus be able to better understand the data, task and user interactions.
2) A stronger focus on achieving goals
The development of AI-systems is progressing very fast. The latest results show that AIs can learn how to play (multi-player) strategy (board) games and beat experts. It is expected that advanced systems will emerge this year, which are able to collaborate and exchange information to better support humans in their tasks.
Being able to better understand the data with the help of knowledge graphs and learn quickly, enables chatbots to become domain experts. They will be able to assist humans in solving a customer’s problem, by giving precise answers to complex inquires or even handling processes on behalf of a human.
3) Chatbots are getting better
Chatbots and AI surpassing their human equivalents in certain aspects is the next step in their evolution. Bots used to be limited to the restrictions of their human developers, but their language and their domain understanding will continuously improve. The more the bots can learn about the user intention and the domain on their own account, the better they will be to adapt and surpass their human counterparts in their efficiency.
Another big advantage is the capacity of bots to immediately switch between interaction modes and user interfaces, e.g. between text, voice or video. Enabling a super smooth customer experience that is always offering the best way to interact.
4) Voice is the new search
When we are talking about chatbots we are not only talking about text-based bots, but also about voice bots as digital assistants on Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa. As Google announced on January 7th – they expect the Assistant to be on 1 billion devices total by end of this month. A year ago they were on 400 million devices.
By the way, with 100 million Alexa-enabled devices sold, Amazon is not far behind. Voice assistants have huge momentum right now and 2019 will be the year for enterprises and brands to think about a voice-based strategy.
5) Change in work processes
With chatbots new kinds of social connections and networks are becoming available. In 2019, they will enable marketers to not only strive for the attention of their customers, but to bring actual value to every customer interaction. A multitude of tasks can be handed over to the artificially intelligent chatbots, pre-selecting actions and only needing human assistance in some cases. We are looking at a growing collaboration of humans and their artificial colleagues. Working together as teams, both supporting each other with their unique strengths and weaknesses.
The potential of chatbots is almost unlimited and we are going to see the development of more and more complex applications. Interestingly enough, we most likely aren’t even able to think of the most intriguing use cases yet.
Going into 2019 it is of utmost importance to realize that the time to act is now. We are at the beginning of a big technological revolution.