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The Rise of Chat-bots

Depending on what science fiction movies you’ve seen, the idea of interacting with a bot could either excite or terrify you. Whatever your opinion – it’s predicted to become a regular part of our lives sooner than you might think. 

A new report from International Data Corporation (IDC), predicts that by the year 2021 65% of consumers will interact with customer support chat-bots, as organisations shift away from human operated web-chat. The report also predicted that up to 85% of commercial enterprise apps will be using AI in some way. This means organisations can automate the basic tasks that normally require human intelligence. These tasks include activities like speech or facial recognition, visual perception, language translation and decision-making.

IDC predicts 65% of customers will interact with chat-bots by 2021.

While chat-bots themselves have been around for a while, the predicted growth in this area will be around making the technology more accessible to all kinds of businesses hoping to automate the customer service aspects of their business. A separate study by industry analyst Gartner determined that in 2017 only 2% of organisations were using chat-bots as a part of their customer service and support operations.

However, with the increased adoption of the technology, Gartner predicts that number will jump to 25% of all customer by 2020. Managing vice president of Gartner, Gene Alvarez, said there’s already been a huge shift towards chat-bots or Virtual customer assistants (VCA) in recent years as companies recognise the benefits of automated self-service, with the ability to escalate to a human agent in complex situations. "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. "This is underpinned by improvements in natural-language processing, machine learning and intent-matching capabilities." Organisations using chat-bot technology recorded a 70% drop in call, chat and/or email enquiries after implementing the technology. They also reported an increase in customer satisfaction overall.

Companies using chat-bots have reported an increase in customer satisfaction.

While AI is aimed at helping ease the operational pressure on Australian businesses, the report also indicated a negative aspect when it came to the digitalisation of business. As the technological support for business advances, the half-life of Australian businesses is actually shrinking. The IDC paper reported the shorter lifespan could come down to organisations struggling to keep up with the constant technological advancements required to stay afloat in the fast-paced field of technology. 

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