The AI chatbot has been helping companies in a variety of industries for decades. The first chatbot, created by Joseph Weisenbaum in 1966, ELISA worked as a psychotherapist. Today, artificial intelligence chatbots are popular globally not only because they communicate very well with people, but also because they help small and large businesses save time and resources to achieve better results in many ways. Now with the launching of ChatGPT, although it is not a business AI chatbot but rather a tool to communicate with a language model, many businesses corrected their strategies to use AI chatbot to improve overall business processes, especially when the software solution could be created on a platform that provided a business-controlled environment that is now more affordable than ever.
AI chatbots are changing the way businesses communicate with its customers, partners, and employees. It changes how employees work, making their work processes more efficient and more meaningful by saving time on routine questions, and focusing on more complex tasks with higher added value for the business and its customers. Younger generations grow up in a digital world and prefer communication via messages. The pandemic restrictions resulted in older generations getting used to technologies, especially in the field of communications, both in their personal lives and for benefit of their businesses.
In general, people think positively of artificial intelligence chatbots, and many companies have implemented this technology to keep up with trends and best practices. According to a study by Salesforce, 77% of customers say that chatbots will transform their expectations of companies in a positive way in the next five years. This means that the software solution will continue to be one of the main tools for automating the overall customer service and experience. Businesses in tourism, financial services, medical services, wholesale and retail sectors, entire cities, and small family businesses have been using chatbots for years to optimize their online presence, improve customer experience and their overall business processes.
The AI chatbot in one paragraph
AI chatbot is a digital solution liked by businesses, customers, and employees. According to Drift, about 90% of chatbot users’ experiences are positive or neutral, which shows that using a chatbot is something that users like, and businesses that decide to implement a chatbot will certainly be more preferred. Chatbots ease employees’ work processes, can communicate with customers constantly, and improve their experience, as well as save time and resources, and help generate more revenue. The AI chatbot is suitable for collecting data about customer behavior and automates frequently asked and routine customer questions and these are very few of its benefits, which is why it is so popular for businesses, regardless of their industry.
There are many examples of successful use of AI chatbot both globally and in Bulgaria by various industries. We have selected for you the most interesting in some of the industries:
Tourism has undergone many changes due to the pandemic and many businesses suffered, and others had even closed their doors. To get out of the pandemic crisis quickly, it was necessary to make intelligent decisions and implement technologies that will really help these businesses to recover. According to a study by the NYU Tisch Center of Hospitality and StayNTouch PMS Research in 2021, the fastest-growing technology in hospitality and tourism will be chatbots in 2022. According to them, the use of chatbots by hotels will increase by 53% (and by 64% among independent hotels). In addition to the lack of well-trained staff and budget limits, which make the use of chatbots a must for optimizing teamwork, chatbots help solve another problem too: up to 42% of users leave the websites of hotel and tourism businesses after the view of only one webpage (2022 Digital Experience Benchmark Contentsquare Report). The chatbot helps to retain customers on the website and engage them even more. Now Europe and the Middle East witness a return of international tourist arrivals to pre-pandemic levels, following a stronger-than-anticipated recovery in 2022. According to the UNWTO’s projections for 2023, the extent of the economic slowdown, the continued recovery of travel in Asia and the Pacific, and the progress of the Russian offensive in Ukraine will all play a role in determining whether international tourist arrivals will reach between 80% to 95% of pre-pandemic levels. A recent study predicts that global tourist arrivals will approach 2.75 billion by 2026, up from 2.5 billion in 2021, with an average growth rate of 1.5% per year. As the tourism industry recovers and travelers worldwide increase, businesses need to use technology to remain competitive and employ digital strategies to attract visitors based on their preferences. Such technology could be an AI chatbot on the business site to be 24/7 available meeting all customers’ digital expectations and needs.
Have you heard of Edward from the Radisson Blu Edwardian London? Edward, which was founded in 2016, is one of the most famous hotel chatbots – not only because many case studies and articles were devoted to him, but also because he is very popular among the hotel guests. In 2019 he could reply to over 16,000 customer questions and perfectly cope with his duties. He was so popular among the hotel guests that they nominated him for the Employee of the Month and even looked to tip him. Edward is a smart concierge chatbot. According to a case study about Edward, up to 75% of the questions he replied were the ones that the Front Desk staff replies to, 24/7.
In 2017, the Cosmopolitan Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas presented Rose, a chatbot that serves guests via text message. Rose is a virtual host with a witty character who helps guests have a good time while they are in Las Vegas and today continues to help guests. These are some large-sized businesses in tourism that use chatbots to improve business services, but small hotels also use this type of technology to be part of the digitalizing world. Such an example is the Bulgarian family-run Hotel Complex “Izgreva”, which implemented a hotel AI chatbot made on the platform of Umni to save time for the hotel manager, automating conversations with customers at any time of the day. The AI chatbot of the hotel uses the pre-trained by Umni AI module with over 800 hotel topics and over 11,000 customer questions. The AI chatbot saved employees over 1400 working hours in just one year, automating conversations with more than 16,200 customers. You can see the whole case study of Hotel Complex “Izgreva” here.
One more great example in the hospitality industry is Hotel Casa di Fiore SPA & Medical with its hotel AI chatbot Miss Fiore which saved close to 7,000 working hours to the hotel employees (the work of 3 to 4 people on duty every month). You can read about Miss Fiore’s success here.
Customers are expecting all services to be digital and easy to use, so financial institutions and banks globally have started using artificial intelligence chatbots as a technology to meet those customer expectations and help to improve financial services. The benefits of chatbots in the financial industry are improving customer experience and better management of customers’ financial portfolios. AI chatbots can process routine tasks such as payment information, frequently asked questions, and more, thus they help reduce employees’ workload so that staff can focus on more complex and challenging tasks. Thanks To ChatGPT, 2023 is the year of the chatbot in the banking sector. As you can see on the graphic, mobile banking rating is higher when using a digital assistant which is one of the many reasons of the active usage of chatbots in financial institutions.
According to a report by Juniper Research entitled “Chatbots: Banking, eCommerce, Retail & Healthcare 2018-2023”, chatbots can save banks up to $11 billion per year by 2023 and now in 2023 the chatbots technology in banks is taking a major part of bank operations. Integrating chatbots into mobile banking applications will be the main channel of customer communications, which will be 79% of the successful interactions in 2023. This will happen because of the increasing consumer preferences for online banking, as well as the very good performance of bank chatbots from earlier years such as Erica chatbot of Bank of America. In 2020 the chatbot Erica had over 19.5 million users with over 100 million messages, which is proof that AI chatbots are doing very well in the financial sector as well.
Other specific examples of well-performing AI chatbots are Capital One’s chatbot Eno and Bank of Montreal’s chatbot Bolt, as well as BNP Paribas Personal Finance’s Chat Assistant Чати, which is just a basic chatbot with predefined information for checking a financial account. In Bulgaria, the banks that benefit from this technology are Postbank, which uses a chatbot named Eva – the first bank chatbot in Bulgaria, and First Investment Bank invests in its chatbot named FIbot, which supports customer service and is developed based on frequently asked questions which usually customers address to call-operators.
A study by Juniper Research shows that AI chatbots will also have a strong impact on the management of insurance companies, which will lead to cost savings of almost $1.3 billion by 2023 for automobile, life, property and health insurance, compared to $300 million in 2019. Insurance companies also have the potential to develop their processes with AI chatbot technology on a global scale and all this is due to the need of optimizing customer communication and save business resources and time at the expense of routine automation.
Chatbots are a well-known technology in e-commerce businesses as well. Chatbots are popular among them because they help optimizing online customer communication and answer frequently asked and routine questions at any time of the day, as well as advertising products and services, promotions and offers, and gather information about what customers most search for and what they need. Retailers will benefit the most from chatbot technology. Juniper Research estimates that by 2023, more than 70% of available chatbots will be based on retailers’ sites. By cost savings, sales and marketing with the use of AI chatbots, conversational commerce via this technology will grow from 2020 to 2025, with a 590% expected growth with 50% of sales in conversational commerce happening in chatbots.
E-commerce AI chatbots can be used for the creation of whole user paths – from getting to know the product or service to their purchase or request. That’s why they’re so popular because they help optimize customer communication from all social media accounts and redirect them to one place – the business website, which is the center for sales. For example, Sephora uses a chatbot so customers can book products at the nearest store, which makes it easier for them to search for and purchase a specific product. On Umni’s platform, you can make an AI chatbot for requests of making custom products, availability inquiries, or purchase of a particular product directly through the AI chatbot via a link to it with more information. This works not only for B2C businesses but also for B2B online stores. One such example is the online car parts store of Danexo in Bulgaria, where the chatbot helps potential business partners request an account, and individual customers – place an order for a part.
A few more examples. Popular to all, Domino’s uses a chatbot to order a pizza by customers’ choice. The chatbot of the famous clothing brand Levi’s serves customers as a virtual assistant. The user chooses from predefined answers (such as orders, deliveries, returns) and the bot directs them to where they can find the answer on Levi’s website.
On the Umni platform, you can make forms for orders with drop-down menus with a choice of what exactly the customers want, or a product catalog, which is another example of how to use an AI chatbot by online retailers. A chatbot on Umni’s platform can be shared on social media, via QR code in the offline store, or elsewhere – with a link to a specific part of the chatbot, where the client needs to be in order to perform a certain action. This is another of the many benefits of using AI chatbots by online retailers to improve their business processes and another reason why it is so popular and why brands globally use them to be more competitive.
The medical sector is constantly digitalizing, and the pandemic further increases the need for digital assistance for personal safety. There are many situations where a chatbot can help doctors, nurses, patients, or their families. It can help with better organization when visiting a medical center – with instructions on what is needed before visiting without waiting for an answer on the phone – directly from the chatbot, emergency assistance situations, offering a solution to simple medical problems by redirecting to certain studies with steps on how to proceed in a particular emergency or not so urgent situation, bookings for examination hours, etc.
An interesting and successful example of a chatbot in the medical industry is the chatbot Babylon – the AI chatbot was tested for its performance in the most important Membership of the Royal College of General Practitioners‘ exam. The company that implemented the chatbot said that the first time Babylon took the exam, it achieved a score of 81%, while the average score for doctors was 72%, based on the results registered between 2012 and 2017. These are some of all the opportunities that an artificial intelligence chatbot can provide to help developing the medical industry, save time from administrative processes or non-emergency situations.
Constant improvement of platforms offering conversational AI and helping with inquiries will free medical staff time and save health systems about $3.7 billion by 2023. According to a report, published by Global Chatbots for Health Sector Analysis and Forecasting, 2019-2029, revenues generated by the use of chatbot in the health sector are expected to grow at an annual growth rate of 26.29% between 2019-2029. Major key companies that use health chatbots include Babylon Health, HealthJoy, Health Tap, Infermedica, Sensely, and many more. They all use chatbots with or without artificial intelligence to optimize communication with patients and help with the workload of health professionals in terms of administration and frequently asked and routine questions, but not with health advice on serious topics that only doctors and medical professionals are qualified about. AI chatbots can also be used by dentists, dermatology clinics, veterinary clinics, and more to book an appointment for examination and consultation and to collect information about patients.
A successful example in Bulgaria is the AI chatbot of Reverse Dermatology Clinic, which in just 16 months answered over 10,000 questions from over 1,400 clients and the communication was mostly after business hours (35%). You can read the entire case study on the successful implementation of the Reverse AI chatbot here.
Apart from being popular and used by large enterprises, AI chatbots are also used by small and medium-sized businesses to improve customer experience and save time and resources. They are used by beauty salons, small online stores, guest houses, as well as universities, libraries, galleries, small and big hotels, fitness, associations, translation agencies, etc., and much more to present their products and services in a more innovative and useful way.
Rochester University wanted to provide students and teachers with easy access to mental health information. They chose to do this with a smart chatbot. Their chatbot helps students and teachers take care of their physical and mental health by even providing them with materials for meditation and training. AI chatbots are used globally in educational institutions to get acquainted with curriculums and exam sessions, necessary documents for registrations and meetings for consultations, as well as optimizing frequently asked questions and introduction of upcoming events, competitions, and many other benefits.
Among small and medium-sized beauty procedures, artificial intelligence chatbots are popular in their use for booking an appointment, improving customer experience, and saving time from long conversations with customers with 24/7 communication optimization. You can read more about a specific business – beauty salon Beauty Point in Sofia, which uses AI chatbot, here.
Associations could have their own digital assistant too. Such is the Association of Medical Cosmetics that implemented an AI chatbot on their site. The gave it an avatar called Amika. Just after 48 hours of her implementation, Amika had over 1200 customer interactions with 370 new users and 294 returning users. Amazing results in a less than 2 days.
Libraries use chatbots to communicate with customers after business hours, help with the re-assignment of borrowed books and frequently asked questions, all of which lead to better customer service and saving staff time for more important tasks. In 2020, for 13 weeks during the lockdowns, the chatbot Ellie of the Varna Regional Library “Pencho Slaveykov” was the only communication channel with the library. The AI module was trained for over 15,000 customer questions by answering them constantly, 24/7, and helps with the re-assignment of borrowed literature, one of the most successful functionalities of the AI chatbot.
In conclusion, we can sum up that due to its flexibility and versatility, the chatbot technology is used by businesses from different countries, from different industries to achieve different goals. Customers prefer to communicate with businesses that offer digital communication, and these businesses are more likely to be preferred over those that do not offer online communication and 24/7 digital self-service. The potential of the development of this technology is much more due to the possibility of integrating it with artificial intelligence, virtual reality, various platforms, and others, and also due to the technology specifics, which allows a creative approach for creating chatbots and their content management. That’s why the technology is so popular globally and is used by so many industries in so many ways. It’s not a coincidence that AI chatbots are one of 25 technologies that will help businesses deal with the pandemic crisis faster, according to CB Insights. The fact is that businesses using AI chatbots are more interesting to customers and more useful to businesses and employees. According to research by GoodFirms on the usage and statistics for engaging online chatbot design, businesses worldwide, regardless of their industry or size, are opting for AI chatbot technology. Companies that offer this form of communication are perceived as tech-savvy (87.62%), customer-oriented (83.81%), and proactive (85.71%). As a result, wouldn’t you like to lead a company that is selected by its customers and employees based on these criteria? The global chatbot market size was estimated at USD 3,517.73 million in 2021, USD 4,485.48 million in 2022, and is projected to grow at a CAGR of 27.68% to reach USD 15,246.15 million by 2027, according to Research and Markets. The fact is that businesses using chatbots with or without AI are more interesting to customers and more useful to businesses and employees. For those who do not use this technology yet, the time is now to become an active part of the digital markets and to be successful in the digital world.