The rise of virtual customer assistants has been rapid in recent years, says Gartner
Chatbots are increasingly becoming common as the best form of online communication between brands and consumers. According to Gartner, 25% of customer service and support operations will integrate virtual customer assistant (VCA) or chatbot technology across engagement channels by 2020, up from less than 2% in 2017. Gene Alvarez, managing vice president at Gartner said, more than half of companies have already invested in VCAs for customer service, as they realise 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,” Alvarez said.
Organisations report a reduction of up to 70% in call, chat and/or email inquiries after implementing a VCA, according to Gartner research. They also report increased customer satisfaction and a 33% saving per voice engagement. “A great VCA offers more than just information,” said Alvarez.
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A 2017 Gartner survey found that 84% of organisations expected to increase investments in customer experience (CX) technology in the year ahead. Other Gartner predictions for CX leaders to know when developing a customer strategy include:
* By 2019, 20% of brands will abandon their mobile apps. Many brands are finding that mobile apps are not delivering the level of adoption and customer engagement they expected. Brands are now investing to build presence in consumer messaging apps to reach customers where they spend a high percentage of their time.
*By 2022, two-thirds of all customer experience projects will make use of IT. As the number of digital channels expands, self-service or digital commerce interactions are increasing, as well as the move away from human face-to-face or voice-based interactions. The proportion of projects using IT to improve the customer experience will steadily rise.
- By 2020, 30% of all B2B companies will employ AI to augment at least one of their primary sales processes.