With the proliferation of messaging platforms and digital voice assistants has come the rise of conversational AI—better known as bots.
These chatbots, virtual assistants, smart speakers, and communication platforms are powered by machine learning and can be used to build trust between brands and consumers. In fact, by the end of 2020, 25 percent of customer support operations will integrate virtual customer assistants (VCA) or chatbot technology across engagement channels –– up from less than two percent in 2017.
The use of virtual and voice assistants continues to rise, with Google’s Assistant deployed across one billion devices, and Amazon reporting sales of 100 million Alexa-enabled devices in 2019. The use of smart speakers, like Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home, is expected to reach 225 million units in 2020.
Apple’s Siri set the stage for widespread consumer adoption since debuting in 2011. Built on artificial intelligence (AI), voice assistants use automatic speech recognition (ASR) and natural language understanding (NLU) to understand what users ask. Unlike chatbots, conversational AI uses advanced algorithms to train itself from data inputs and subsequently improves at predicting questions.
The commoditization of speech-based assistants like Google Home and Amazon Alexa has paved the way for companies to develop their own speech-based assistants and overlay other conversational systems onto their platforms.
Because customer experience is now the basis of brand differentiation, the area where muchof that experience happens—the contact center—is more important to a business's success than ever before.
Conversational AI is making it possible for companies to better meet customer expectations for omnichannel, personalized, 24/7 service, before, during, and after a purchase, and those improvements translate to better business—in fact, after implementing a virtual customer assistant (VCA), organizations report a reduction of up to 70 percent in call, chat and/or email inquiries and 33 percent savings per voice engagement.