The conversational AI market is expanding at a tremendous rate – growing from $4.8 billion in 2020 to $13.9 billion by 2025 – driven predominantly by factors such as the demand for AI-powered customer support services, omnichannel deployment and the reduced cost of chatbot development. The pandemic has also had a significant impact on the uptake of these technologies, as businesses have had to accelerate their digitalisation processes to adapt to the new normal.
Today, customers expect brands to resolve their issues as fast as possible and with minimal hassle. Across a number of industries, conversational AI is enabling reliable, accessible and personalised customer experiences, and is opening up a whole new category of business capabilities.
So, how are industries are being transformed by conversational AI?
The telco sector has been experimenting with conversational AI for some time now. The adoption of these technologies enables telcos to increase sales and acquisitions, improve workforce productivity, and develop new revenue streams through new products and services.
Perhaps most importantly, conversational AI enables telcos to scale their customer service capabilities more efficiently. Many telecommunication companies are serving much larger areas and customer bases than they were just a few years ago. While this is positive news, it’s led to a higher quantity of customer support tickets, requiring 24/7 attention. Now, with the ongoing COVID crisis, large swathes of the population are working remotely and the need to modernise call centres has never been more vital.
NTT DATA has a long history of working with the telco sector to introduce innovative conversational AI solutions. Back in 2014, everis, part of the NTT DATA family, delivered the first chatbots into the LATAM market and are continuing to support key telco players across the world with their care and sales journeys.
Although initially slower in uptake than telco, financial institutions are quickly discovering the power of conversational AI. Bots have a unique ability to transform how banks engage with their customers and to facilitate customer acquisition, conversion and retention. Intelligent conversational AI also adds a more personal touch to automated customer service functions and ensures transparency and clarity between the organisation and its customers.
According to research carried out by Juniper, 90% of bank related interactions will be automated by 2022 – explicit evidence that conversational interfaces represent one of the biggest technological shifts within the sector to date. Banks are now focusing on intelligent virtual assistants to simplify communications with their customers and to build long-lasting relationships.
The social impact of conversational AI within the healthcare industries is undeniable; it facilitates better care outcomes, increases the efficacy of care delivery, and enables healthcare systems to support more people. At NTT DATA, we’ve been leveraging these solutions to help hospitals and research institutions tackle Covid-19. One notable example has been our partnership with IPsoft.
The pandemic placed an unprecedented amount of strain on healthcare systems, increasing the burden on these facilities. Through the partnership, we’ve able to provide the American public with an innovative way to self-screen for coronavirus by integrating the dynamic AskMD algorithm into an interactive conversational solution powered by IPsoft’s industry leading cognitive AI, Amelia. By harnessing Amelia’s power of true-to-life conversations, we’ve delivered a solution that allows people to receive answers quickly and anonymously.
Another notable example of our work in the sector is with our social robot, SOTA, which recognises language and responds to voice commands. The robot was originally designed to support Japan’s ageing population and is now being tested in the UK at Great Ormond Street Hospital as a means to support ill children.
- Public sector
Over the past year, the public sector has started to recognise the importance of conversational AI and its transformative functions. In particular, there has been a focus on low-code technology platforms, which allow teams to rapidly build simple conversational experiences that can then be scaled up if the need arises.
Conversational AI is revolutionising the automotive industry by providing marketers with chatbots to assist them in offering a fast and efficient customer service. These chatbots can increase sales, provide accurate information and markedly improve the customer’s journey, from beginning to end.
The technology is also being adopted in vehicles and use of voice assistants is already widespread; according to one report, two third of consumers use an in-car voice assistant at least once a month.
As my colleague Tom Winstanley mentioned in a recent blog, retail is now moving towards a post-multichannel world, dominated by digital first offerings. The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a permanent shift in consumer shopping habits and conversational commerce is transforming the shopping experience.
Our recent survey of 2,000 British consumers found that 56% of those who have transitioned to online shopping as a result of coronavirus say they will continue to shop online post pandemic. Conversational AI will be a key factor in facilitating this shift. According to our research, a quarter of customers expect to be able to speak virtually to a shop assistant – rising to 1 in 3 in the under 35s. Conversational commerce will play a critical role as we transition into our new normal and as retailers go the extra mile to provide innovative digital solutions to reinvent the consumer experience.
Conversational AI is revolutionising business and as a result, the market is expanding at a rapid speed. Across almost all sectors, business leaders recognise their value and how bots can be used to enhance interactions with customers and the workflow of staff. The technology plays a fundamental role in delivering service excellence as well as true social impact.
Learn more about conversational AI and the art of the possible. Contact Silvia Di Gregorio firstname.lastname@example.org.