As millennials overtake baby boomers as the most populous generation in the world, organisations are realising they need to communicate with Generation Y on their own terms – and through their preferred channels of communication.
This has meant a shift away from the old methods of customer communication such as post or even email, and the introduction of new channels such as social media or chatbots.
And while a survey late last year from Drift, SurveyMonkey Audience, Salesforce, and myclever found that only 15 per cent of consumers had used chatbots to communicate with businesses in the previous 12 months, the companies point out that this represents a full quarter of consumers who have engaged with a brand in the past year.
However, there’s still a long way to go, with nearly a third of customers saying they don’t trust chatbots not to make mistakes and one in ten saying they wouldn’t use one to make an expensive purchase.
As a result, Priya Iyer, chairman and chief executive of customer engagement platform Vee24, predicts the future of chatbots lies in more personalised engagement.
“The next generation of bots will be focused more on establishing a relationship between a brand and a customer or prospect. Each interaction with a customer will make the bot
better informed and personally connected to the customer,” Ms Iyer says.
“In addition, bots will become effective at proactively initiating conversations with a customer, rather than just reactively responding to a request.”
Key to this will be artificial intelligence and machine learning, says Shashi Nirale, senior vice-president and general manager, Europe, Middle East and Africa at customer experience management company Servion. Data analytics from customer interactions will be used to detect the context of a customer query and either solve the issue or predict the next best action based on similar past interactions.
“As more conversations are had using AI and natural language processing continues to develop, advanced AI is also helping cognitive assistants to detect customer emotions and change their behaviour in response,” Mr Nirale says.