The Chatbot Revolution is Alive and Kicking
Some predicted a fad. Some got overly excited. Some said it wasn't even worth writing about.
I say the chatbot revolution is alive and kicking.
About a year ago, I had the chance to share my thoughts on chatbots and why they are here to stay with the good guys at VentureBeat.
Today, I not only stand by these words, I reinforce the sentiment with new research, statistics, and consumer sentiment.
In this article, I will back my thoughts up using these numbers and explain why I believe the chatbot revolution has not stopped.
The origin of the chatbot revolution
Before we even diving into what bots are or how they work, it is important to understand: why now? Why did the chatbot revolution start when it started? It is due to a few different factors coming in at the right time.
First, mobile. Over the last 10 years, mobile has taken a central part of our lives. Virtually everyone now owns a mobile phone, walks around with it in their pocket (or staring at it, guilty), and essentially never leaves it out of their sight.
Second, technology. Mobile alone would not have triggered the chatbot revolution. We have made incredible advances in many areas of tech like access to ever-faster internet and stronger mobile coverage.
The compounding progress we've made in the tech industry allowed other fields to speed up their own progress. One particularly interesting example for us is, obviously, artificial intelligence. More and more powerful computers and phones made the development of this field faster and easier than we ever could have thought.
Finally, society. Our society has evolved to expect things to happen now. We live in the now. This is, of course, the result of both points above. We have constant access to an unlimited amount of information through a little square in our pocket. Millennials, the generation with the biggest buying power right now, have grown up with this access and now expect it in all areas of their lives.
So, we have more and more powerful mobile phones, more and more access to people's personal space, and made more and more progress in the field of artificial intelligence.
The result? Chatbots.
Chatbots revolutionise the world by taking advantage of the three areas above. Chatbots offer personalised experiences through a conversational interface using artificial intelligence.
Is the chatbot revolution 'on hold'?
Some people seem to think although the chatbot revolution did happen and it is now on hold.
The rational is simple: lots of chatbots failed. Miserably failed. Like, really, they were terrible.
Facebook reported that over 70% of the chatbots developed on their platform failed to respond to queries without human intervention. That is, indeed, terrible.
We spend a lot of time writing about why that happens. It's not the bot, it's the developers. In this article, I explain why bad chatbot retention rates are your fault. In this other article, I share insights on how we drastically improved every chatbot metric for one of our clients.
So, which one is it?
Clearly, I believe we are in the midst of the chatbot revolution. It was never on hold. It never stopped. It is still going on strong, and we are not seeing the end of it just yet.
To support this, we did some research. We surveyed 2,000 UK consumers, and found 57% of them knew what a chatbot is (compared to what I assume would have been close to zero about a year and a half ago).
We also found 35% of consumers want more businesses to implement chatbots. This shows consumers demand more chatbots. When the consumer demands, businesses tend to give.
Finally, other research shows there is no slowing down in terms of brands deploying chatbots. A Forrester study showed 50% of businesses wanting to implement a chatbot within the next 12 months, whilst a Business Insider survey showed 80% of businesses in the world will be using chatbots by 2020.
Yes, the revolution is on. Yes, it is going strong.
Yes, we are leading it.