Magazine article CRM Magazine

Digital Assistants Gain Enterprise Acceptance: Business Use of Virtual Digital Assistants, Virtual Agents, and Chatbots Is on the Rise

Magazine article CRM Magazine

Digital Assistants Gain Enterprise Acceptance: Business Use of Virtual Digital Assistants, Virtual Agents, and Chatbots Is on the Rise

Article excerpt

Due to advances in natural language processing and artificial intelligence, the growth potential for intelligent virtual digital assistants, virtual agents, and chatbots stands to increase more than four-fold in the next five years, according to market research firm Tractica. The company predicted recently that the number of people globally who actively use the technology will grow from 390 million today to 1.8 billion by 2021. The number of business users will grow from 155 million today to 843 million by 2021.

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At the same time, total revenue from such applications will grow from $1.6 billion today to $15.8 billion in 2021, Tractica predicts.

Among businesses, the financial services, healthcare, and retail sectors have seen the greatest use so far. Companies have already turned to virtual assistants for biometric security, to remind patients to take their medications, to guide consumers through the buying process with product recommendations or answers to common questions, and to answer queries or complaints after the sale.

"Undoubtedly, there will be a number of new use cases for enterprise VDAs," says Clint Wheelock, managing director at Tractica. "In North America, quickserve restaurants are beginning to experiment with deploying VDAs to handle drive-through ordering lanes."

Businesses such as these, he adds, are expecting to see "cost reductions gained by automating customer interactions typically handled by humans."

The other drivers for businesses to adopt the technology include the need to provide faster, better answers to "increasingly impatient consumers," and a greater need for context and personalization across those interactions, according to Wheelock.

Fellow research firm Transparency Market Research has already seen an increased focus on the development of virtual assistants in a wide range of applications for self-service, intelligent reporting, and improved customer experience.

The shift of organizations from analog to digital technologies has also resulted in massive amounts of data, thereby increasing the demand for virtual assistants to help employees and consumers make sense of it all, Transparency reported recently. …

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