Last year, more than 67% of consumers worldwide used a chat for customer support. By the end of this year, 85% of all interactions could potentially be handled through these virtual assistants. Because this technology provides round the clock service, that number could very well be a reality in 2020.

But what will this chatbot experience look like? Will chatbots replace even more functions that a typical customer service team handles or take an increasing role in generating leads? Continue reading to see what chatbot trends we predict will encourage more marketers to use them this year.

Providing a Human-Like Experience

Just because marketing experts expect 85% of business communication to be done through a chatbot doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be conversational. In fact, the top challenges marketers who use chatbots experience revolve around misunderstanding human discussion. Whether it’s better understanding requests, recognizing different dialects, or responding to commands faster, chatbots need to evolve for this trend to succeed. Fortunately, advancements in machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), and natural language processing can make this a reality.

However, marketers using chatbots that aren’t powered by AI shouldn’t forget to do certain things on the backend to help chatbots become more conversational. That includes:

  • Writing enticing welcome messages
  • Having compelling, opened-ended questions
  • Responding to technical commands
  • Carefully crafting your task flows
  • Continuously training and updating your bot

Replacing Forms for Lead Generation

If you’ve struggled to get online visitors to complete your contact forms, chatbots could help. Some companies have already turned to chatbots to get their users to sign up for various things, like downloaded content or demos. While web forms can sometimes be too long and have too many questions, chatbots are intelligent and initiate engaging conversations – which helps with conversion. Additionally, many chatbot platforms let you provide predefined answers to questions in the form of buttons, which are easy to click on and keep the conversation moving.

Incorporating Payment Options

Due to MasterCard’s success with their chatbot system for making payments, more banks and other financial institutions are starting to implement payment options within their chatbots. But this trend isn’t only limited to these industries. Any organization that utilizes e-commerce to pay for their goods or services can incorporate payment options into their chatbots. Your bot can be equipped with the API of your chosen payment system, and whenever there is an event for payment, the bot can send a request to the API then provide a link for payment. This trend helps automate simple payments and allows users to make payments without having to leave their conversation. It’s also cost-effective and improves customer satisfaction.

Hiring and Onboarding Employees

Chatbots aren’t only for interacting with customers and leads. Your company can also use it for a variety of internal purposes – a trend that’s emerging as larger organizations with huge workforces uncover more use cases. Some enterprises use them to help hire and onboard new employees by sorting out candidates in the interview process, then answering basic HR questions after they’re hired. Smaller businesses can also utilize chatbot functionality to perform these tasks, and other internal communication they find may be better suited through chatbots.

Combining with Other Messenger Apps

Applications like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp have been used by businesses before for customer support and service. However, an employee typically handled the conversation, making the experience more similar to live chat. While that’s not necessarily bad, chatbots can still save time and money, and more bot-like functionality is being incorporated into these popular apps. People are already comfortable with chatbots and text messaging, so combining these two forces is a trend that can have good results.

Ordering and Delivering Food

Nowadays, ordering food online doesn’t seem like a big deal, but chatbots make it easier than ever. They can help answer various questions your visitors may have about your establishment, no matter where they are, or what time of day. And with the introduction of Foodie Bot Messenger, even more fast food places and restaurants can take advantage of the advancement of the chatbot industry. Specifically, Foodie can help with:

  • Describing the menu
  • Reserving a table at a restaurant
  • Ordering favorite dishes
  • Delivery and pick up of the order

Final Thoughts

We believe these trends will take over 2020. There’s no denying that chatbots are the future of communication for customers and leads. Grand View Research reports that the global chatbot market will reach 1.25 billion USD by 2025. So, if you’ve been hesitant to use chatbots, you shouldn’t be. Our trends, coupled with the industry’s significant growth, should showcase just how useful they can be.