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 algorithms and software was not a realistic nor reliable option, no matter the size of the organization.
By now chatbots or voice assistants have grown so much that they play an important role in modern-day customer service. Brands are starting to experiment more, and customers have reached a technological literacy, which makes the use of this kind of AI-based services in customer support a lot easier.
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The future use cases of chatbots and voice assistants are almost unlimited and we can expect to make fundamental progress in 2021. Let’s take a look at 5 major chatbot trends of 2021.
1) AI is becoming more intelligent
The last years have been heavily influenced by an ever-increasing amount of data (partly due to digitalization efforts). In 2020 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 already 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 inquiries or even handling complex processes on behalf of a human.
3) Chatbots will become more human
With over 80% of businesses expected to implement a chatbot this year, customers will require chatbots to provide more personalized and better support.
Technology providers will keep working on improving the human aspect of their chatbots – decreasing the misinterpretation of requests, working towards understanding the nuances of human dialogue, accents or cultural dialect and the intents of the customers. It will all be about increasing the chatbot’s conversational intelligence.
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4) Voice assistants are booming and blooming!
In 2019, voice assistants were estimated to have around 112 million monthly users, up from 102 million in 2018. The proliferation of smart speakers and other home devices will play an important part in spreading voice assistants.
According to recent research by Juniper Research, the number of voice assistants will triple by 2023. If this extrapolation is correct, 8 billion voice assistants would be deployed worldwide. That would be more voice assistants than there are currently people in the world.
Areas of voice, such as voice commerce and voice search are also gaining momentum and 2020 will be the year for businesses 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 2020, 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.