Chatbot 2021: what to expect from conversational systems today?

Chatbot technologies are developing more and more dynamically, and the past pandemic year has further accelerated certain trends. What to pay attention to and what to implement today so as not to fall behind the competition? Below are some interesting inspirations in the context of chatbots.

2021 is often called the “new order” due to the crystallization of ideas and action strategies after the extremely turbulent pandemic months of 2020. Many companies have re-verified their approach to the way they operate, providing their services and products and, as a result, changed the approach to one that will better adapt to the current reality. Many significant changes have been made in the area of communication with clients (virtual space) and employees (home office), and this is the space that chatbots and voicebots have entered. However, simple bots handling frequently appearing queries turned out to be insufficient to face the challenges posed to them again. What are new, better solutions characterized by? Below are some characteristic features of the new generation of conversational systems found in the times of the “new order”.

Universal solutions aimed at many groups of recipients.

More and more often we will dedicate chatbots not only to one group of stakeholders, but – even several at the same time. As part of the trend that Gartner describes as total experience, the experiences of various groups of recipients become a community of experiences. How can it work in practice? More and more procurers expect multitasking systems that are not dedicated to only one role. An interesting example is the Santi chatbot, which works for Santander Bank Polska. Initially, the chatbot only supported hotline employees in providing information quickly. After proving himself in this role – the group of its users was expanded to include bank customers. And such “extensions” in the use of bots will be more and more frequent. Most likely, in addition to new implementations, in 2021 there will also be more projects in which the already functioning conversational systems are expanded with new functionalities, put into use for subsequent groups of recipients or implemented in subsequent channels.

Process and task bots

Bots that efficiently answer questions? Absolutely – good NLP is appreciated, but for most buyers it is not enough today. Chatbot in 2021 is implemented to handle specific processes in organizations, to replace people in activities that are schematic. This is achieved by various scenarios leading to the implementation of a given path and various integrations with internal systems such as CRM, ERP. Bots implemented in organizations today are primarily independent and perform many activities that a human would have had to do until recently. Such tasks, which are more and more often performed automatically by bots today, include: accepting orders, reservations and complaints, checking order statuses, changing data in systems, checking balances, surveys, customer satisfaction surveys, help in choosing a product, configuring the service, arranging meetings with annotation in the schedule / calendar, conducting initial interviews, after-sales support.

Along with the development of the capabilities of artificial intelligence systems and the fields of its exploitation, the implementation of bots is becoming an increasingly important element of building a competitive advantage and reducing unnecessary costs. Expectations are also growing: decision makers expect that each chatbot project will be able to be accurately accounted for in a short time and show returns on investment. And this is the most correct perspective. Chatbots save the time of specialized staff and redirect their attention to activities that generate greater benefits. Many hours saved on the performance of schematic works are measurable savings for companies.

Synergy of humans and robots: division of responsibilities

The market is jumping from simple conversational systems to more and more complex ones. And that often requires a new division of labor between humans and robots. It is possible that in the case of some companies it will be necessary to model some of the processes in such a way as to correctly allocate the activities. Some of them will operate machines, others will require a man. This synergy is expected to bring many benefits: both savings and generating added value (people can pay more attention to priority topics).

Democratization of automation

Until recently, only a few organizations were able to implement systems based on artificial intelligence. They were perceived as market leaders: banking, insurance, telecoms, IT companies. Along with the pandemic, chatbots began to become popular also in the medical industry, but also among small and medium-sized enterprises. The nocode and lowcode platforms offered by chatbot service providers today enable the implementation of bots with almost no programmers involved. In addition, these services are widely available in the cloud, and the implementations themselves are available under inexpensive subscriptions. This makes digitization and automation, even with the use of AI, available today to a very wide range of economic entities.