Chatbots are set to be integrated across a quarter of all customer service and support operations by 2020, Gartner has predicted.
Despite less than 2 percent of businesses using virtual customer assistants (VCA) in 2017, the research firm believes the technology will become much more popular in the immediate future, citing organisations reporting a reduction of 70 percent in call, chat and email enquiries after implementing the software.
Its research found that these companies are also seeing increased customer satisfaction and a 33 percent saving per 'voice engagement' at the same time.
Gartner's managing vice president, Gene Alvarez, said more than half of organisations have already invested in chatbots for customer service because they are beginning to realise the advantages of automated self-service, as well as the advantage of being able to escalate a problem to a human agent in complex situations.
"As more customers engage on digital channels, VCAs are being implemented for handling customer requests on websites, mobile apps, consumer messaging apps and social networks," Alvarez said.
"This is underpinned by improvements in natural-language processing, machine learning and intent-matching capabilities."
Gartner also found that 84 percent of organisations expected to increase investments in customer experience (CX) technology in the year ahead - and by 2019, 20 percent of brands would abandon their mobile apps.
Instead, brands are now investing to build presence in consumer messaging apps, such as Facebook Messenger and WeChat, via bots, to reach customers where they spend more of their time, the report said.
The analyst house added that by 2022, two-thirds of all customer experience projects would make use of IT, up from 50 percent in 2017.