Gartner says 25 per cent of customer service and support operations will integrate virtual customer assistant or chatbot technology across engagement channels by 2020
Chatbots will handle a quarter of all customer service operations by 2020 according to new research from Gartner.
Gene Alvarez, managing vice president at Gartner
, said that more than half of organisations have already invested in virtual customer assistants (VCA) for customer service, as they look to capitalise on the advantages of automated self-service.
"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."
Commenting on the news, Robert Weideman, EVP and General Manager of the Enterprise Division at Nuance Communications said that the rate of adoption had exceeded expectations.
"Conversational AI breakthroughs have led to a new generation of customer service virtual assistants (VAs) specific to your bank, your telco and your pizza ordering, all providing personalised, concierge-like service," said Weidman. "The rapid rate of adoption has also increased user expectations, with research from Nuance finding that 73 per cent of consumers believe that interacting with an automated system that they could converse with would significantly improve their experience.
"Despite this, a large number of consumers still struggle to trust VAs to assist them with complex tasks, such as handling their utility, banking or insurance issues (35 per cent, 29 per cent and 16 per cent respectively). In order to conquer this trust issue, firms will need to show that through their VAs and human agents, customers will receive the same high quality experience."
Weidman continued: "To achieve this level of trust, organisations will need to show that customers will get the same high quality experience across both VAs and human agents. HAVA (Human Assisted Virtual Assistant) will play a great role in ensuring this, looping in human agents to help answer those questions that VAs are unable to, which will ensure a high level of service to the customer, whilst also providing a learning loop that updates the VA's 'brain' in real time so that it can resolve similar cases in the future.
"Assuring users of the security of their accounts, when tasks are managed by VAs, will be another crucial factor. That is why we are seeing many banks and telcos increasingly replacing security questions with biometric authentication."