The Market for Intelligent Virtual Assistants is Hotting Up!

There’s been a flurry of research published in recent weeks exploring how intelligent Virtual Assistants are increasingly being used to both automate and improve customer service.

Indeed, last month Infiniti Research predicted that the global Intelligent Virtual Assistant market will grow at a CAGR of 39.32% over the period 2013-2018. This figure is corroborated in a similar report published by Grand View Research in January predicting that the global market for virtual assistants would reach $3.1bn by 2020 and will experiencing a CAGR of 31.7% from 2013- 2020. No surprises either with their summation that whilst large enterprises accounted for over 80% of the overall market right now, SMEs are expected to witness increasing adoption of intelligent virtual assistants with uptake growing at a CAGR of 32.2% from 2013 to 2020.

So, in short the market is hotting up!

The majors appear to agree – Gartner for example in their Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2014 commented “Through 2020, the smart machine era will blossom with a proliferation of contextually aware, intelligent personal assistants and smart advisors…the smart machine era will be the most disruptive in the history of IT.”

So what’s driving all this interest and growth? There’s no doubt that the massive profile boost given to the sector when Apple launched Siri and the likes of Google Now, Cortana and our natural language app further reinforced things to raise the awareness of what intelligent virtual assistants can achieve.

But there are other factors also at play and one of the most influential is the growing customer desire to use effective forms of online self-service.

There’s no doubt, over complicated call management systems, emails that take an age to get a response and a desire for immediate information is driving consumers online to find the answer to their queries – and to a competitor’s website if they can’t. Indeed, these are some of the findings of an independent survey of 1500 users published last week by Artificial Solutions. Fuelled by social media and the success of smartphone apps that make finding information faster than ever before, customers are increasingly demanding the same interactive experience from their favourite brands online.

The survey highlighted that 96% of respondents visit websites first to find an answer to their queries. However, there’s a warning here too – organisations that have not optimised the customer online experience may find themselves losing business. Crucially, 89% would definitely (26%) or possibly (63%) buy from a competitor if they could not get their queries answered online.

Unfortunately for businesses well over half the people found the website’s search facilities and FAQs sadly lacking. When you consider that 74% said they were more likely to change their mind about a purchase of a product or service after conducting a web search, it’s clear that many organisations are missing out by not providing an adequate service to their customers online.

Three out of four consumers agreed that having an interactive online help facility to enable them to get information or a response immediately would make a big difference in their decision to use to that company.

But the killer finding that sheds some real light on why there’s so much interest around intelligent online and mobile virtual assistants – is that 81% of people said they would engage with an intelligent online virtual assistant if it reduced their waiting time.

So, if you’re looking for a way to improve the levels of your customer service, then implementing an intelligent virtual assistant could well be the answer.

Download the Artificial Solutions report What Do Consumers Want from Online Customer Service here

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