3 Hot Chatbot Trends to Elevate Your Customer Service Strategy 

6 min read

The Total Experience 

Did you know that 59% of customers cite cutting-edge digital experiences as the best way to keep them happy and retain their custom, and 67% prefer self-service tools like chatbots to speaking to a support agent? It’s clear from these stats and Gartner’s recent findings on hyperautomation, that business leaders aiming to improve growth, operational excellence and customer retention, need to invest more heavily in automation and self-service initiatives like AI chatbots. Their benefits are far-reaching, helping to facilitate what Gartner calls the “Total Experience” (TX), bringing the business and its customers together in a unified digital employee, user and customer experience. When you consider there are around 265 billion customer support requests made every year, costing $1.3 trillion and that chatbots can save up to 50% in customer support costs the tangible benefits are clear. 


3 Hot Bot Trends 

Perhaps you belong to one of the leading-edge businesses already deploying chatbots and want to improve them? Or maybe you’re exploring this form of Artificial Intelligence and Natural Language Processing as your next potential automation initiative?  

Wherever you are on your chatbot journey, check out our three big Customer Service chatbot trends to watch: 

  1. Voicebots 
  1. Sentiment Analysis & Predictive Problem Solving 
  1. Social Media Chatbots  


Trend 1: Chatbots Find Their Voice 

As voice commerce and voice search continue to grow in popularity, chatbots with speech recognition and voice biometrics capabilities will become a competitive differentiator. Speech recognition allows the chatbot to determine what help the customer requires. Voice biometrics enables the chatbot to ascertain the customer’s identity prior to discussing sensitive information, while also providing a one-stop-shop and superior CX for tasks like a password reset. According to Juniper Research, there will be 8 million voice assistants in global usage by 2023. The rise in adoption isn’t surprising when you consider that a Stanford research study revealed voice to text is 3 times faster than typing and also more accurate. It’s come a long way since the admittedly hilarious episode of The Big Bang Theory “The Dumpling Paradox” (S1E7) when the voice recognition on Howard’s phone is all over the place and he can’t get it to call the right person. There are two main types of two-way communication voice bots, the hybrid version that has both text and voice capabilities and the verbal-only vocal input and output bot, like Amazon’s Alexa. 


 

3 Hot Chatbot Trends to Elevate Your Customer Service Strategy

Voicebots

Social Media Chatbots

Sentiment Analysis

Predictive Problem Solving

Personalization
8 bln voice assistants in global usage by 2023. Source: Juniper Research


It’s easy to see why voicebots are gaining ground. Most people don’t enjoy hunching their necks and hands over their phone to type but, for those who are visually impaired or cannot easily use their hands, voicebots are a long-overdue breakthrough in accessibility. TikTok made great strides in this area in 2020, being one of the first businesses to embrace Amazon’s Alexa for Apps, enabling voice commands, hands-free recording, and voice search capabilities. TikTok then built its own text-to-speech bot to translate captions and words on videos to support people with visual impairments.  

Walmart has upped the ante by creating voice bots for their employees as well as their customers. Their “Ask Sam” mobile app advises on product prices and locations, training employees and improving their customer interactions. Customers can also download the app for an enhanced in-store experience. Walmart also developed a multilingual voice assistant for its Indian business, Flipkart.  

For B2B and B2C businesses, personalising the search, purchasing and customer service experiences with voicebots can speed up processes, build a strong brand persona to increase customers’ emotional buy-in, and enhance the brand’s social impact with better inclusivity and diversity.  


Trend 2: Chatbots Get Touchy-feely 


Proactive & Predictive 

59% of customers cite cutting-edge digital experiences as the best way to keep them happy and retain their custom. What could be a more leading edge than proactively forecasting customer needs and behaviour and having solutions at the ready? Or even predicting and solving their problems before they occur and meeting their needs before they ask? Gartner forecasts that, by 2025, reactive customer service strategies will be overtaken by proactive and predictive customer care solutions.  


3 Hot Chatbot Trends to Elevate Your Customer Service Strategy

Voicebots

Social Media Chatbots

Sentiment Analysis

Predictive Problem Solving

Personalization
Proactive and predictive customer care solutions will rule by 2025. Source: Gratner


Historical & Realtime Data 

The key to creating conversational AI chatbots that can anticipate customer problems is to collect and analyse data at every customer touchpoint, including from the chatbots themselves, and identify actionable behavioural trends. In addition to this wider data strategy, the best chatbots have their own internal AI and Machine Learning (ML) algorithms that help them understand data patterns over time and learn to create data-driven strategies to continuously improve themselves. By leveraging both historical and real-time data, businesses can deliver customer service support with a hyper-personalised feel that promotes intimacy, loyalty and retention. 


Let’s Get Sentimental 

Sentiment analysis, also known as conversation mining, is a critical element of chatbot analytics. Advanced chatbots with AI, ML and NLP can learn keywords from real-time conversations, surveys, polls and feedback and give the sentiment a numerical score. In the case of voice, some chatbots can even interpret tone to ascertain how well the conversation is going and take appropriate action. If, for example, a chatbot product enquiry is going well, the bot might offer cross-sell and up-sell products to the customer. However, if the customer query is complex and the customer is getting irate, the chatbot can escalate the conversation to a human customer service representative.  

This sentiment data is not only useful for developing your bot’s emotional intelligence, it can also be used across your omnichannel strategy to segment your customers. This enables the marketing team to target customers according to their sentiment score and provide a hyper-personalized and efficient CX. You can use this data to improve your FAQ and recommendation systems, monitor and boost brand reputation, develop new products and services, streamline internal processes and develop new growth strategies. 


Trend 3: Chatbots Get Sociable 


Social Customer Care 

Currently, around 26% of businesses that use social media as their main customer care channel are using social media app chatbots. 53% of these started using conversational AI in this way during the pandemic lockdowns. Between 2020 and 2021 alone, the number of customers who cited social media as their preferred channel for customer service rose by 110%. This trend has continued to grow post-pandemic so the number of customer queries coming through on social media could well become unmanageable fairly quickly without a chatbot. This is particularly true when you consider HubSpot’s findings that 90% of customers require an immediate response to their customer service query and 60% of those consider this to mean 10 minutes or less!  


3 Hot Chatbot Trends to Elevate Your Customer Service Strategy

Voicebots

Social Media Chatbots

Sentiment Analysis

Predictive Problem Solving

Personalization


Reputation Management 

Customers are also more likely to share a bad experience with a brand on social media (47%) than they are to talk to your company directly and enable you to put it right (4%). So, offering customer care on top social media sites is critical because you need to meet your customers on the channel of their choice.  However, making sure you can offer them 24/7 help and not making them wait is equally crucial, to protect your brand reputation. Businesses that embrace social chatbots now, will benefit from the first-mover advantage of offering better social media customer care than their competitors. 


More Chatbots Trends 

These are three overarching trends that encompass and enable many others. So, for example, voicebots and predictive analytics can help fulfil your businesses’ omnichannel and hyper-personalisation goals. Social media chatbots have application way beyond customer care and play a critical role in successful influencer marketing. The use of chatbots for customer care on social media is bringing the responsibilities of social marketers and customer service representatives closer together.  If you’re interested in reading more about these other chatbot trends and how you can benefit from them, along with mobile messaging and Communication Platform as a Service, download our eBook “5 Top Customer Engagement Trends for 2023 & Beyond – Get up close and personal with Customer Intimacy”. 

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