Twenty-five percent of customer service and support operations will integrate virtual customer assistant (VCA) or chatbot technology across engagement channels by 2020, up from less than two percent in 2017, according to Gartner.
Speaking at of the Gartner Customer Experience Summit in Tokyo, Gene Alvarez, the company’s managing vice president, said more than half of organisations have already invested in VCAs, as they realise the advantages of automated self-service, together with the ability to escalate to a human agent in complex situations.
“As more customers engage on digital channels, VCAs are being implemented for handling customer requests on websites, mobile apps, consumer messaging apps and social networks,” Alvarez said. “This is underpinned by improvements in natural-language processing, machine learning and intent-matching capabilities.”
Gartner says organisations report a reduction of up to 70 per cent in call, chat and/or email inquiries after implementing a VCA. They also report increased customer satisfaction and a 33 per cent saving per voice engagement.
This follows a 2017 Gartner survey that found that 84 per cent of organisations expected to increase investments in customer experience (CX) technology in the year ahead. Other Gartner predictions include:
- By 2019, 20 percent of brands will abandon their mobile apps.
- By 2022, two-thirds of all customer experience projects will make use of IT, up from 50 percent in 2017.
- By 2020, 30 percent of all B2B companies will employ artificial intelligence (AI) to augment at least one of their primary sales processes.
- By 2020, more than 40 percent of all data analytics projects will relate to an aspect of customer experience.
- By 2020, augmented reality, virtual reality and mixed reality immersive solutions will be evaluated and adopted in 20 percent of large enterprises as part of their digital transformation strategy.