Businesses and consumers have been using conversational marketing automation for a few years. The investments in conversational technology and automation, too, are expected to grow. With all that, how will this area evolve and expand in 2023? Anu Shukla, Co-founder and Executive Chairman, Botco.ai. shares four predictions for the continued growth of this area in the year ahead
Conversational marketing automation is not a new technology any longer. It is already commonplace for consumers to use virtual agents to learn more about a company or complete a screening phase on a website. As a result, businesses are investing so heavily in conversational channels that the market will reach almost $300 billion by 2025, according to Statista.
Marketing professionals have taken advantage of how intelligent chat technology simplifies brand interactions, driving several advancements that are only beginning to bear fruit. Some are even yielding benefits beyond the limits of marketing itself. Here are four predictions for how the field will continue to evolve and expand in the year ahead.
Virtual Agents Will Become Demand Generation Tools
Chat marketing solutions are synonymous with top-of-funnel demand generation technology. That is because conversational AI was historically a tool for website navigation, answering simple questions, and forwarding prospects to sales departments. But that is just the start of what the technology can accomplish, and in 2023, we will see companies embrace far more of these opportunities.
Business owners are starting to use intelligent chat for more than basic product questions or site navigation. Instead, customers and prospects engage with conversational AI as part of mid-to-low funnel communications. A Botco study published at the beginning of 2022 found that:
- 11% of prospects request quotes from virtual agents.
- 16% of people ask virtual agents for business locations.
- 16% of consumers rely on virtual agents for customer service requests.
- 12% of respondents turn to virtual agents for technical support.
- 9% of respondents use virtual agents to generate personalized recommendations.
What’s more, conversational AI is extending beyond branded websites. The same tools can deliver SMS texts, interact with popular messaging apps, reply to social media posts, and much more. A staggering 98% of marketers observed intelligent chat’s positive impact across the entire customer journey — enhancing conversions, reducing customer service requests, increasing brand affinity, and much more.
Virtual Agents Will Deeply Integrate With Robotic Process Automation ( RPA)
Another benefit of digitalization is that businesses can take two separate but complementary tools and integrate them into a single unified solution. Conversational marketing has immense potential in this environment because it readily combines with multiple products, from messaging apps to reporting tools. The most potent opportunities, however, come from merging conversational AI with robotic process automations (RPA) — software capable of managing operational workflows behind the scenes.
What makes virtual agents and RPA such a natural fit? Together, these products streamline intake while enhancing the customer experience. In healthcare, for example, patients might use intelligent chat to answer screening questions without waiting in long queues. The conversational AI can process details from this conversation and send them to the RPA, automatically filling out documents and forwarding essential information to technicians and other staff. As virtual care becomes the norm, these tools will help medical professionals serve patients more effectively while maintaining a high-quality service experience.
Conversational AI Will Drive Healthcare Digitalization
COVID-19 proved that the medical industry needs more technical support to accommodate patients who struggle with contacting doctors and practitioners through traditional methods. Even as the medical world reaches a new normal, digitalization investments are bearing fruit in the form of streamlined, accessible telehealth and virtual care services.
Conversational AI is a vital technology to ensure these systems continue to operate efficiently. For example, consider that there are 55 poison control centers in the United States. In 2020, these facilities responded to 2.1 million poison exposures at an average rate of one call every 15 seconds. And that is before we consider patients who may refuse to contact a human operator because they are too embarrassed or ashamed to talk about consuming a dangerous substance.
A virtual agent could deliver the same general poison exposure advice with minimal hold times and no fear of stigma, rapidly escalating cases to human agents who can otherwise be kept free for situations that require their expertise. The same technology can be used to privately respond to mental health inquiries in service of setting up future appointments and also provide recommendations for addiction services. With the correct implementation and proper involvement of human caregivers, intelligent chat is well suited to manage patient inquiries and improve outcomes.
See More: Conversational ABM: A Solution to the Personalization at Scale Challenge
Smart Technology Will Replace Inflexible Marketing Solutions
Above all else, conversational AI will continue to grow in 2023 because marketing automation is a massive boon for businesses of all kinds. For instance, companies are seeing great success with SMS appointment reminders, promotional email campaigns, and other automated tools. But as technology continues to change, so too do customer expectations, which means the existing suite of marketing tools will soon no longer be sufficient for maintaining customer satisfaction.
Traditional automation products are inflexible and unable to keep pace with the latest marketing channels and innovations. Smart technology, such as conversational tools, can adapt more effectively to the changing tastes of consumers. This makes it far easier to pivot to anywhere customers can be found or to customize virtual agents to different formats, be it SMS texts, social media posts, or even video chat.
Whatever the industry, businesses need smart technology solutions that are flexible, easy to use, and broadly compatible with technology stacks. Conversational AI meets these needs at every stage of the customer journey, whether educating prospects, converting leads, or providing support. Recent advancements make it obvious that we will see the field grow in the immediate future and beyond, providing a much-needed boost to the customer experience.
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