When you hear the phrase "conversational AI", you might picture chatbots and live chat. But as conversational AI software continues to evolve, it will become so much more than that.
Will chatbots be indistinguishable from humans in a year? Perhaps not, but that won't matter. Conversational AI will be (and already is) intelligent enough to handle commonly asked questions, schedule appointments automatically, and streamline marketing campaigns for businesses of all sizes.
What might conversational AI software look like a year from now? Let's take a look.
Conversational AI software will evolve from a messaging platform into a digital employee
Conversational AI software will include chatbots as well as automated SMS and email messaging. Speaking of email marketing, automated solutions will become more sophisticated and commonplace within the next year.
As a result, conversational AI software will replace and integrate with an array of marketing tools. Consider how many apps marketing teams rely on to do their job. They might have one app for text messaging campaigns, another for email, and another for webchat. Let's not forget social media channels and schedulers. Add CRM software, website analytics, and content management systems, and it quickly becomes difficult to keep track. (Not to mention expensive.)
Omnichannel solutions will plug into other essential apps, like Google Analytics and Facebook Messenger. Perhaps they'll also integrate with individual social channels, like Twitter and Instagram, allowing businesses to manage all their messages from a central hub.
The key takeaway: Within the next year, conversational AI will become an all-in-one marketing tool, combining webchat with email, SMS, social media, and more.
Conversational AI software will become more accessible to businesses of all sizes within all sectors
Just as tech giants rely on conversational AI interfaces to capture leads and drive conversions, so will SMBs within all industries.
Some of the household names in webchat cater to some of the world's largest companies. Not only does this client base promise the most revenue, but it's also more likely to receive a high volume of inquiries. This means that conversational AI interfaces are essential for ensuring no message is left unread.
But what about the mom-and-pop shops? The small, local businesses that power the American economy? Shouldn't they enjoy equal access to the same technology as the world's largest companies?
We believe so. But we also believe that conversational AI software shouldn't require a developer's expertise to use. (And it shouldn't break the bank.)
Not only will conversational AI become more accessible, but it will be fully customizable. Here at ZyraTalk, we're already making customization possible with built-in, industry-specific chat scripts. We work with our clients to review our scripts regularly and ensure their solution is personalized for their needs.
The key takeaway: Small, local businesses will enjoy better access to sophisticated, personalized, and easy-to-use conversational AI software.
Conversational AI will be essential for the healthcare industry
We could use tired phrases like unprecedented and "the new normal" to describe COVID-19, but we won't. After all, you can't scroll social media for 5 minutes without seeing a headline about it. But there's no denying the permanent ways in which COVID-19 has changed life and society, from how we shop and sell to how we interact with our family and friends.
Businesses everywhere adapted lightning-fast to the new demands of a socially-distanced world. Implementing conversational AI and other telehealth technologies was an essential move for healthcare facilities to keep patients and staff safe.
Telehealth software was already breaking barriers and making doctors' jobs easier pre-COVID. Despite that, only 11% of people used telehealth services in 2019. Compare that to 46% as of May 2020.
Related: AI applications in healthcare
Conversational AI is a gateway to quality care. Let's say a patient lands on their local clinic's website looking for information on how to make an appointment. A chat window greets them. That window includes a built-in button that lets them book an appointment with their preferred healthcare provider in just a few clicks.
The patient's information is instantly logged in the clinic's CRM. The chat transcript is protected in the HIPAA compliant sensitive data log. And the appointment is added to the scheduling management software automatically.
Let's take it a step further. Let's say that patient is looking for expert health advice. They send their question through automated chat, which uses natural language processing to determine their intent. From there, the patient has options. They can book a video consultation, or they can ask to speak with a doctor as soon as they become available. Either way, the video appointment is logged in the clinic's system, or the doctor is instantly notified of the new chat.
These are just a few ways conversational AI can make healthcare more accessible and help healthcare professionals manage their workload.
The key takeaway: Telehealth experienced a significant growth spurt in 2020 due to COVID-19 and will revolutionize the future of healthcare.
Where will conversational AI be in a year? Wrapping up
More businesses will use conversational AI to generate and capture leads, automate their marketing campaigns, and streamline their workload by replacing and integrating with other tools.
As the demand increases, so will the access. That means even small local businesses will benefit from conversational AI technology. But just because the software is advanced doesn't mean it has to be hard to use. Conversational AI interfaces will be user-friendly, with a less-than-entry-level functionality.
Finally, conversational AI will transform healthcare access. By automatically logging appointments and taking the middle man out of communication, conversational AI will make life easier for doctors and patients alike.
This is all speculation, of course. Only time will tell what conversational AI will look like a year from now. But based on current evidence, the future is looking bright.
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