Conversational AI: 2024 Market Outlook

Conversational AI: 2024 Market Outlook

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The conversational AI sector has seen significant growth into 2024, prompting providers to rethink their approaches to meet client and consumer demands. Initially sparked by the global pandemic, this wave of innovation has now matured, delivering desired outcomes for businesses.

As technology advances, vendors must adapt their development and deployment strategies. Simple Q&A chatbots have evolved into sophisticated virtual agents capable of providing 24/7 support and handling complex transactions.

Improvements in conversational AI have revolutionized customer self-service, surpassing previous standards of efficiency and convenience. Consequently, both businesses and consumers now expect more tailored solutions rather than one-size-fits-all chatbots.

Four key market trends will continue to enhance the business value of conversational AI in the future:

1) AI agent deployment time will be significantly lower

The pandemic has underscored the importance of having robust customer service systems in place, as many businesses found themselves overwhelmed by sudden surges in inquiries. Those with virtual agents were better equipped to handle the increased volume, provided their AI solutions were up to the task. However, many others faced challenges, hastily deploying chatbots that were either incomplete or required significant time and effort to implement.

It’s now crucial for vendors to demonstrate that their solutions offer tangible returns on investment from the outset. When assessing a conversational AI vendor, consider:

1. Does the solution feature scalable Natural Language Understanding (NLU) capable of handling multiple user intents simultaneously?

2. Can self-learning AI help bypass the initial ‘cold-start’ phase and assist with ongoing virtual agent development and maintenance?

3. How quickly can an AI chatbot project move from development to launch? Is it a matter of weeks (preferred) or several months (less ideal)?

2) Data-driven chatbot design is more important than ever

As we look ahead, the landscape of software engineering roles is poised to undergo a significant transformation by 2025, with Gartner forecasting that half of all top positions will necessitate direct oversight of generative AI. The prevalence of conversational platforms among employees highlights the growing importance of AI chatbots in professional settings, a trend that will likely continue to evolve in the coming years.

To ensure that these interactions remain meaningful, conversational AI vendors must elevate their offerings beyond traditional design principles that have been relied upon for years. Merely providing cutting-edge technology will no longer suffice in demonstrating the utility of virtual agents as effective tools for customers.

Moving forward, employing evidence-based design principles will be crucial for virtual agent development, encompassing elements such as personality, avatar design, and website visibility. Solutions equipped with robust analytics tools and comprehensive resources, including best practices, will be essential for companies seeking to leverage conversational AI to its fullest potential.

3) Going 'chat-first' will bring the fastest ROI

According to Gartner, the future of self-service is heading towards customer-led automation. By 2030, Gartner analysts anticipate that a billion service tickets will be automatically generated by chatbots and virtual agents, or their upcoming counterparts.

This projection aligns with the growing trend of chat-based self-service, which offers a cost-effective and accessible means of automating customer interactions on a large scale. As consumers increasingly embrace this approach, businesses are poised to capitalize on its potential.

Embracing a ‘chat-first’ strategy, wherein all customer service traffic is directed through conversational AI solutions, allows businesses to leverage automation effectively. This approach can lead to reduced support costs and higher customer satisfaction scores as it plays to the strengths of automation.

Find out how you can leverage Born Digital's Generative and Conversational AI solutions to drive business results.

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