January 4, 2019

Customer Service: 2018 retrospective and trends for 2019

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Every new cycle brings reflections and balances. Looking back is key to face the new year with clear expectations. In terms of automatic Customer Service, 2018 analysis shows clues about customers behaviors and desires and strategic areas for the future of virtual assistants.

Customers: What do their behaviors and preferences indicate?

Customer Experience is one of the pillars of a company. According to a PWC Research report, efficiency, convenience and a friendly service are the aspects people value the most from their experience with companies. On the other hand, what drives people away is an incorrect attitude from employees, unfriendly service, a company with poor reliability and workers without knowledge. In figures, 46% of customers stop buying to a certain brand if employees are not well informed, while 49% of Latino customers do so on their first bad experience. On a global scale, this last number drops to 32%.

Chatbots are a global trend

The era in which chatbots and artificial intelligence were mere futuristic predictions is already part of the past. The number of people interested in its important benefits increases year after year. And statistics confirm this. Facebook IQ reports that from January 2017 to January 2018 searches and discussions about "chatbot" have increased 5.6 times. Here you can see a report of Google Trends of the last two years.

Automation: A key part of service area

The following data show a constant trend: customer satisfaction, efficient advice and friendly service are key to a successful company. In this context, Customer Service automation has proven to be one of the main strategies to complement the tasks of human agents and thus, boost sales. According to the data from the latest  Aivo customer satisfaction survey, small and medium-sized companies state that the virtual assistant AgentBot helps them, primarily, to answer their clients' questions 24/7 and, secondly, to improve the experience with their customers and learn about their needs.

Related article: Customer Service is about People – not Bots or AI

For those still considering this option, a broader view can help decide.

Chatbots: 4 opportunities companies should seize

  1. Incredible cost cut

A study by Business Insider Intelligence states that in the United States, Customer Service is the area in which chatbots generate greater savings in potential annual salaries, with an estimated 23 trillion dollars in relation to an annual expenditure of 79 trillion dollars. This is also the case in Latin America. According to data from Aivo, Telcos using AgentBot reduce Customer Service costs at an average of 30%, while other utility companies decrease costs by 70-75%.

  1. Millions of conversations with customers

In 2018, companies that used AgentBot have significantly increased contact with customers and users. Information provided by Aivo's clients states that big financial institutions maintain an average of 3 million conversations per year and serve more than 1.3 million customers through the virtual assistant. Some of them increase their monthly conversations up to 4 times. As a result, Customer Service automation achieves between 57% and 97% retention in digital channels.

  1. Booming channels: Website chatbots and Facebook Messenger

Forrester Research 2017 shows that, when considering a digital strategy, 36% of the companies surveyed stated they were thinking about testing a virtual assistant on their own website during 2018, while 25% decided to try third-party channels. The consultant agency also reveals that Facebook Messenger is the communication channel mostly used by Marketing, Sales and Customer Service sectors. Considering all this, an omnichannel strategy is the perfect option to offer the same experience in any channel and, consequently, integrate chatbot seamlessly.  

  1. Most dynamic markets: E-commerce and Finance

According to the International Data Corporation, financial services and retail were the industries that made the greatest investments in cognitive or artificial intelligence systems in 2018, with an estimated $4 trillion dollars each.  On the other hand, GM Insights predicts that for the period between 2018 and 2024, the customer and personal services sectors will increase their investments in this technology by 44.5%, national and federal government will increase it by 43.5% and retail by 40.7%.  

A promising future for Customer Service

Automatic Customer Service will undoubtedly continue to develop and innovate in 2019. We hope that this brief look at 2018 trends allows companies to start next year with an updated perspective.

Are you looking for new ways to improve your CX?

Our customer service solutions powered by conversational AI can help you deliver an efficient, 24/7 experience  to your customers. Get in touch with one of our specialists to further discuss how they can help your business.