Chatbots have already evolved from their conversational commerce roots to delivering fully fledged service functions. The technology stands poised to enable real-time financial transactions and break down long-standing language barriers.

That’s according to James Kraeutler, VP of the ISV and technology alliance program at Genesys.

He explained to Which-50 a brief history of chatbots and where he expects they will go next.

“Brands wanted to allow customers to investigate and advance purchases directly in the channel of their choice — where they were at that moment — whether that was web chat, mobile chat and then social messaging platforms.”

The addition of voice assistants from tech giants Google, Apple and Amazon added even more opportunities in new sales avenues, Kraeutler said.

The commerce focus was warranted, but ultimately limited by the single dimension of chatbots, according to Kraeutler, and brands quickly realised they needed to enable more service interactions.

The next advances meant bots could capture customers’ intent and guide them to FAQ responses, build knowledge bases and eventually automate more mundane tasks.

These included “address changes, bill payments, even discreet transactions,” Kraeutler explained. “And again doing that directly within the channel and often in a much more efficient and fast way as opposed to communicating with a live person.”

What’s next for chatbots?

One area where chatbots will have an increasing impact in the future is language, according to Kraeutler. He argues the further integration of language services from the likes of Google will bring down processing times in multilingual scenarios.

“Having a chatbot where a consumer can very easily speak in their native tongue and use services like Google to provide real-time translation — and increasingly very accurate real-time translation. That allows the bot to respond to the consumer, again, very accurately, but also in their native tongue.”

That translation feature, Kraeutler says, will also be vital in assisted conversations — where bots assist human agents to provide next-best actions — allowing the two human parties to converse in near real time in their native languages.

About This Author

Joseph Brookes is a writer for the Which-50 Digital Intelligence Unit, of which Genesys is a corporate member. Our members provide their insights and expertise for the benefit of the Which-50 community. Membership fees apply. 

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