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Which Direction are the Chatbots Heading Post Pandemic

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Which Direction are the Chatbots Heading Post Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic brought forth an unprecedented crisis, which has compelled businesses of all sizes, irrespective of industry, to shift to remote functioning. It revealed gaps and shortcomings in many areas, prominently in customer service. This shift motivated companies to heighten their digital transformation efforts. 

When in-person and human to human communication came to a halt, many companies experienced an increase in support calls while going through the budget and staff cuts. To ensure customer support teams could handle the surge and also not decrease the quality of support, companies turned to AI and chatbots to help them out. 

AI chatbots played an important role in automating repetitive tasks and optimising operational efficiency. Not only customer communication, but AI chatbots also improved agent productivity and enabled digital shopping among other things. 

Now that the worst of the pandemic is presumably behind us, it is quite an interesting point to understand what role chatbots will play in the post-pandemic world. 

Pandemic’s role in digital transformation

When the pandemic struck, many businesses were caught off guard as they didn’t have the infrastructure and support systems to keep up with the changing trends. 

This was particularly stark for the brick and mortar stores. These companies found themselves in the eye of the storm as they didn’t know how to proceed. And if they didn’t take any action, they would lose their customers to their competitors. The need was just too great. 

On the other hand, the storm didn’t sink all ships. The businesses that had already started their digital transformation journey were able to quickly pivot to the change, support customers and stay in the business as usual. In other words, early investments in digital technology paid off tremendously for these businesses. 

Adoption of chatbots once the pandemic struck

Chatbots had already marked their distinction in different aspects even before this crisis arose. But with no other option than online communication, chatbot adoption rose exponentially. A study depicted the increase in the acceptance of chatbots across various industries has increased by ~50% post-pandemic.

The pandemic has encouraged all sectors to delve into deploying well-designed chatbots to aid their functioning. Irrespective of the industry, companies used chatbots for various reasons, including:

  • Countering misinformation and fake news with verified information
  • Automating answering repetitive questions
  • Sending updates on the latest developments 
  • Capturing and qualifying leads without human involvement

Check out how the Government of Goa and Canada used chatbots to enable clear and verified information on the COVID-19 situation. 

Chatbots not only provided excellent support to their customers with 24X7 availability, but it also hyped the customer service agents and helped them not burn out. 

Over the course of the pandemic, the support chatbots also doubled down as shopping agents. With the availability of advanced features, people started shopping via chatbots on websites, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Instagram. In other words, chatbots took social commerce to the next level with a better customer experience. 

Check out what Renish Rowe from WhatsApp has to say about the role of the WhatsApp chatbot in conversational commerce

According to Markets and Markets, the chatbot market size is expected to grow at a CAGR of 23.5%, i.e. from USD 2.9 billion in 2020 to USD 10.5 billion by 2026. So how will chatbots evolve over the next few years? 

The role of chatbots in the post-pandemic world

The demand for various services has shifted online. The requirement for 24×7 customer support at low operational costs led to a meteoric rise in the usage of chatbots. Chatbots, which were once a mainstay in only the top business houses, are now way more ubiquitous.

One thing is clear there is no going back. As the pandemic regulations are getting more relaxed with each passing day, the demands of post-pandemic customers are evolving. As customers get more and more comfortable with digital communication, they are setting high expectations. Companies will need to learn agility and react quickly to their changing demands. 

Until now, companies were deploying basic FAQ chatbots for round the clock availability. But now, customer experience will play a pivotal role in decision making. Companies need to take initiatives to build self-learning chatbots and deliver a more human-like conversational experience. 

AI, in particular, conversational AI powered by natural language processing (NLP) will lead the way for intelligent chatbots. With self-learning capabilities and data-driven behaviour, these chatbots are trained to mimic human conversations. They will not only use natural, human-like communication but also speak multiple languages and be available on multiple channels, including voice and messaging platforms. 

In their efforts to become future-fit, forward-thinking businesses will focus on data and use it to achieve business goals. And conversational chatbots are great at collating this data on users. With a well-designed conversation flow and the right integrations, brands can build detailed customer profiles. 

Good data will help these brands prepare for what’s in store in the future and also understand their customers better. They can use this data to improve customer experience, inter-department operations and product quality. On the other hand, it will also help them in better forecasting which will help them adapt to changes quickly. 

Conversational AI Chatbots

Verloop.io a the world’s leading conversational AI platform for customer support. Our AI is trained on 4 billion + queries to accurately predict user intent and speak with them in human-like conversations. To see how we support customers in 20+ languages and 6+ channels using our state of the art conversational AI, talk to our experts for a quick demo.

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