Chatbots are more than a novelty. A well-implemented artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot can be a time- and money-saving technology that also improves customer service.
Juniper Research recently predicted that chatbots will save banks and healthcare organizations over $8 billion per year by 2022 compared to an estimated $20 million this year. Key to these savings are AI technologies that are adept at conducting fluent conversations, and in some cases, kicking off automated processes depending on the direction a conversation is going.
The financial services industry is can benefit the most from deploying AI chatbots today, according to the analyst group.
"Financial services are in an industry increasingly faced with lower customer loyalty as users are more likely to seek out better deals. Therefore providing fast hassle free services through chatbots is a means of customer retention," wrote Juniper senior research analyst Lauren Foye, in a blog post. "Juniper notes that this sector has already had interest from major players in the finance industry, but it does also present those in the market with unique challenges compared to others; such as established banking habits, and the opportunity to upsell other financial products in future."
Juniper predicted that success rates for banking bot interactions will improve drastically in the coming years, jumping from 20 percent this year to 93 percent in 2022. On average, banks will save 70 cents per chatbot interaction in 2022.
Chatbots can also help customers avoid one of the most dreaded parts of calling a customer service number. Namely, being put on hold and the low-fidelity music that often accompanies the experience. Compared to a call center, a chatbot can slash the time it takes to handle a customer inquiry by more than four minutes.
Beyond chatbots, AI is becoming the go-to technology for enterprise software in general.
Recently, Gartner predicted that practically every new software product or service released by 2020 will feature AI capabilities. That may be worrisome for folks that fear their jobs will be taken over by AI systems, but Gartner holds a more positive view of how the technology can affect the workplace.
"While there is a widely held fear that AI will replace humans, the reality is that today's AI and machine learning technologies can and do greatly augment human capabilities," stated the research group. "Machines can actually do some things better and faster than humans, once trained; the combination of machines and humans can accomplish more together than separately."
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Datamation. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.