Gartner argues how customer service is becoming more chatbot-centric

James is editor in chief of TechForge Media, with a passion for how technologies influence business and several Mobile World Congress events under his belt. James has interviewed a variety of leading figures in his career, from former Mafia boss Michael Franzese, to Steve Wozniak, and Jean Michel Jarre. James can be found tweeting at @James_T_Bourne.

One in four customer service and support operations will integrate chatbot technology by 2020, according to the latest analysis from Gartner.

The use of chatbots – or virtual customer assistants (VCA), as Gartner puts it – will go up from just under 2% of operations as of 2017.

The figures come from Gartner’s Customer Experience Summit, taking place in Tokyo. Gene Alvarez, Gartner managing vice president, argues chatbots should be more than informative, and instead enrich the user experience.

“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,” said Alvarez. “This is underpinned by improvements in natural language processing, machine learning, and intent-matching capabilities.”

This will have a knock-on effect on organisations’ strategies, Gartner added. By 2019, one in five brands will abandon their mobile apps, but not the medium altogether. Instead, they will opt for greater presence in Facebook Messenger and WeChat.

What’s more, Gartner said that by 2020 30% of all B2B companies will employ artificial intelligence to augment at least one of their primary sales processes, and that more than 40% of all data analytics processes will relate to an aspect of customer experience.

By the same year, augmented, virtual, and mixed reality immersive solutions will be adopted by 20% of large enterprises as part of their move towards digital transformation.

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