Emerging Technologies and Markets
The Future is Bright for Chatbots
Ah chatbots: A friend and a foe to many! Whether you’ve received message after message that says “Sorry, I don’t understand” or have simply not been given the choice to speak to a real human when you wanted to, the truth is that those little on-screen bots can be massively frustrating. Whilst the idea of having your question answered or problem solved quickly, easily, and without having to stay on hold is appealing, as it stands, chatbots often miss the mark.
Related post: Creating Chatbots With Great UX
With all of that bad UX, I totally wouldn’t blame you for thinking that chatbot use is just a fleeting trend that will soon be gone and will take its annoying user experiences with it. However, the opposite is true. In fact, we think that the future is bright for chatbots, despite its bumpy beginnings!

Chatbots on the rise

The chatbot market value is expected to rise to $1.34 billion by 2024, growing from its current value of just $250 million. On top of that, 80% of businesses polled in the UK, France, the Netherlands and South Africa said that they plan to implement chatbots by 2020, “showing a global trend in chatbot adoption”. That’s pretty impressive stuff, right? Especially when you consider how many people are convinced that these bots are “Killing customer service”.
Related Information: Snap Out offers a range of incredible user and market research services to help you create emerging tech products and services that are wanted and needed.

What does the future of chatbots look like?

If chatbot adoption rates are on the rise along with its market value, it’s important to consider what chatbots of the future will look like and how they will better serve their users. What exactly is it that will make chatbots so much more popular and successful?

AI is everything

The truth of the matter is that chatbot technology is still extremely new. We’re still learning. So, if nothing else, we have the improvements in this technology to look forward to in the near future; the ironing out of all of those frustrating UX kinks! Chatbots are set to rapidly become more sophisticated, meaning that they will be better able to quickly and effectively communicate the correct information to their users. According to Energias Market Research, “Based on product, artificial intelligence based chatbots are dominating the global chatbots market as they offer better conversational experience through text or voice.” So, we anticipate that these more sophisticated and “human-like” chatbots will only become more common, as a greater number of companies opt for AI based bots.
Source: https://www.hubspot.com/stories/chatbot-marketing-future

Websites that aren’t static

Websites with fixed content are quickly becoming a thing of the past, for the most part massively improving user experience. Static websites do exactly what they say on the tin: They stay the same for every single user. On the other hand, dynamic websites adapt based on the person that is visiting. As Stefan Kojouharov points out, websites will better serve their users through harnessing the potential of chatbots:
“Using conversational website of the future will be la lot like magic. Imagine going to the mall and when you enter you are automatically in your favorite store, but your not just in your favorite store. You also happen to be in department your most interested in, looking at a piece of clothing you have been thinking about buying. Upon entering the store website, you will automatically be directed to the area that interests you most!…
One of the biggest advantages that conversational interfaces have is the ability to find out what users want in their own words. At its most fundamental level, bots are an excellent data discovery tool. Instead of A/B testing product with groups of people and arriving at an average solution, bots allow us to do A/B testing with individuals and offer the best personalized solution possible.” — Chatbots Life

Talking cars

It’s inevitable that emerging technology and the automotive industries go hand in hand, with many car designers seeking to incorporate up-and-coming technology into their creations in order to improve their user experience and retain a competitive edge. Whilst we’ve not yet reached hover car status, the coming years are set to revolutionise the way that we drive, thanks in part to chatbots!
The possibilities seem almost endless. Chatbots could be used for help with navigation and various forms of driving assistance as just the beginning! Tesla even already have a chatbot run through Facebook Messenger which allows model S and X owners to ask whether their car is locked, where it is parked and how many miles they have driven. Of course, whilst this particular technology currently exists outside of the car and on user’s phones, it certainly shows the potential for it to be integrated. There is also great potential for chatbots to be used alongside self-driving cars. Uber CEO, Travis Kalanick, believes that humans will desire communication with something or someone with the introduction of automated driving services. Thus, chatbots could be used to provide notifications of arrival, handle the payment process effectively and answer any questions the passenger has.

Marketing strategy and chatbots

At Auto Expo 2018, Maruti Suzuki, India’s largest car manufacturer, integrated an AI voice assistant into their exhibition. Created in collaboration with Grapes Digital and accessible via Google Assistant, the chatbot allowed users to ask questions about the event, as well as the brand and its cars. To access it users needed to say the two phrases “Ok Google”, followed by “Talk To Maruti Suzuki”. The team sought to make it as interactive and entertaining as possible, using a pathway powered by AI that integrated a range of questions with humorous answers. This lighthearted example not only again shows how well chatbots could work within the automotive industry, but also the fact that they are becoming more prominent in the marketing sector. In fact, they have even been coined “the future of marketing”:
“That’s the superpower of bots.They accomplish their task, start to finish, in the place where you already spend your time: messaging apps. Whether it’s Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, WeChat, or Viber, bots integrate with these apps and are available for you to chat with…
It’s the makings of a marketer’s dream: a world where brands can build authentic relationships with their buyers, and buyers can learn to trust brands again.” — Battle of the Bots

The Counter Arguments

Whilst we firmly believe that they’re on the rise, we completely understand why not everyone is on “team chatbot”. For one thing, as we discussed in our last post, the UX of chatbots still has a very long way to go before the bots are able to meet their full potential. Without creators considering users more, it’s simply not possible that chatbots will have the huge impact that we anticipate. Furthermore, as Transparency Market Research point out,
“Despite the growing use of chatbot in various business, there are certain factors that may hamper the growth of chatbot market. One of the major factors is lack of expertise and little awareness about the use of chatbot and its benefits. In addition, to develop a tech-savvy surrounding involves high cost for deployment, security, management, and have integration complexities that might discourage individuals to use chatbot facility. Thus, these factors are responsible for deterring the market growth across various economies.”
Finally, it’s also important to consider the lack of accessibility currently within the chatbot industry. Speaking on chatbots and their apparently negative impact on customer service, Christopher Elliott explores whether most chatbots are in compliance with the Telecommunications Act of 1996 that requires telecommunications equipment to be useable and accessible for all. He concludes that, currently at least, the majority are not.
Related article: Inclusive Design: Ten Tips for User Research With Older People and Disabled People.
This lack of accessibility is, of course, a huge problem both morally and in terms of adoption rates. Whilst we do believe that this is an issue that needs to be solved, we also believe that it is one that can be solved, alongside the many UX issues that we highlighted in our last post. Chatbots have a long way to go before the take over the world, but they’re certainly starting to get on the right track! The Snap Out Team ?