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Customer digital assistants will be “the last mile for multichannel”

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8th Oct 2015
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As part of its 2015 symposium in Florida, Gartner has revealed some of its technology predictions for the next three to five years, based on research into IT organisations and IT users.

Artificial intelligence and automation featured heavily, with the global analyst forecasting that by 2018, 45% of the fastest-growing companies will “have fewer employees than instances of smart machines”.

It also states that by 2020, ‘smart agents’ will account for almost 40% of mobile interactions, with virtual personal assistants (VPAs) predicting our needs, building trust and ultimately “acting autonomously on our behalf”.

Perhaps the most garish prediction, however, is that by the start of 2019, brands will have the ability to use AI for communications through their customers’ journeys, with the proliferation of ‘customer digital assistants’.

And Gartner vice president, Daryl Plummer believes this trend could be vital for brands in their struggles to tie up their multichannel efforts more effectively in the future:   

“The last mile for multichannel and exceptional customer experiences will be seamless two-way engagement with customers and will mimic human conversations, with both listening and speaking, a sense of history, in-the-moment context, timing and tone, and the ability to respond, add to and continue with a thought or purpose at multiple occasions and places over time.

“Although facial and voice recognition technologies have been largely disparate across multiple channels, customers are willing to adopt these technologies and techniques to help them sift through increasing large amounts of information, choice and purchasing decisions. This signals an emerging demand for companies to deploy customer digital assistants to orchestrate these techniques and to help "glue" continual company and customer conversations.”

Recent research from Oracle Marketing Cloud and Econsultancy stated 73% of marketers rate the impact of multichannel interactions on conversion as ‘major’, but 35% say their businesses are currently ill-equipped to deliver cross-channel marketing campaigns.  

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