Chatbots rising globally as proof of cost and time savings mount up

The march of the chatbot continues with users as diverse as Barcelona Football Club and Citi Bank in Singapore launching interactive avatars for people to converse with. As more companies reveal the financial and time saving benefits of bots, more will follow.

For the people who ignore any technology until they can no longer escape, the noose is tightening when it comes to chatbots. They are appearing in our health services, sporting obsessions and finance institutes. Soon there won’t be anywhere to hide from them, as growing popularity and demonstrations of fiscal value continue to pop up.

One of the leading benefits is that services are linking chatbots to their communications chain, making it a part of the process rather than an outlying novelty. So, while UK medical patients could start off talking to a chatbot, those with reason to take a query further can soon be talking to a medical professional who can better assess any concerns and provide next steps.

In Spain, millions of FC Barcelona fans will soon be able to vote for their man of the match and enjoy other interactions, helping bring the world of the chatbot to sports fans in a format that is easy to enjoy and replicate.

Perhaps the key role they will take in our daily lives is in finance, with banks rolling them out at pace. In Asia, Citi is going big with a chatbot currently in testing. They plan to add features including card activation, locking and unlocking of credit cards plus having bots show transaction alerts for cards. In the UK, the first car insurance Chatbot is on the way with Co-Op helping to provide quotes without having to talk to a customer service agent.

Also key to the success of chatbots will be high profile placement on services like Facebook, and the the arrival of Business Chat on Apple’s iOS 11 offering businesses chat via Apple iMessage for a more direct line to customer support. Any company looking to deploy a chatbot should ensure it is available across the widest user bases. Products like Snatchbot deploy to a range of apps, sites and social media services.

It’s not all business though, as Schwartz the spice seller has got a chatbot up on Messenger that will take a few ingredients and come up with the right recipe and spice combination for hungry indecisive types.

With users comes a world of statistics

Businesses love some hard data when it comes to investing in new technology. The slow rise in smart cities is largely due to the huge sums involved, but also because productivity or beneficial data is being protected or obscured by the cities or vendors.

That leaves others waiting to see if smart cities are really are all they are cracked up to be before investing. For chatbots, the results are easier to come by and are starting to make impressive reading. With the rise in use comes the needed statistics to drive other businesses to get into the chatbot way.

In India, HDFC Bank announced that its chatbot had helped address 2.7 million user queries in six months. It has had 1.2 million conversations, talking to around one-in-five of the bank’s customers, a massive saving in human time.

In 2017, 1–800-Flowers launched its own GWYN bot, and earlier this year the company revealed it added around $10 million of revenue. While looking forward, National Australia Bank reckons its new chatbots will save the bank $16 million, dealing with simple items and freeing up account handlers for more serious issues. These non-trivial sums will pique the interest of others and help launch further generations of chatbot, all doing their bit for the digital economy.

Our survey says:

A recent survey shows that users are increasingly keen to use chatbots. Also, a raft of aggregated statistics show that chatbots can save four minutes per call, could be used for around $55 in purchases before customers want to start getting a better look at goods, and could be responsible for 85% of customer interactions by the end of the decade.