Twenty-five percent of customer service and support operations will integrate virtual customer assistant (VCA) or chatbot technology across engagement channels by 2020, up from less than two percent in 2017, according to Gartner, Inc. (www.gartner.com).
Speaking at the Gartner Customer Experience Summit in Tokyo earlier this week, Gene Alvarez, managing vice president at the research group, said more than half of organizations have already invested in VCAs for customer service, as they realize the advantages of automated self-service, together 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,” he said. “This is underpinned by improvements in natural-language processing, machine learning and intent-matching capabilities.”
Organizations 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. “It should enrich the customer experience, help the customer throughout the interaction and process transactions on behalf of the customer.”
A 2017 Gartner survey found that 84% of organizations expected to increase investments in customer experience (CX) technology in the year ahead.