What does the future of conversational AI hold for businesses in 2024 & beyond

Natalie Smithson
AI enthusiast | Tea addict | Focused on using AI assistants to win the working week
Three workers in an organisation gather round a chart presentation that shows a graph with an upward trend, a device screen and an AI assistant

AI now dominates headlines and this is unlikely to slow down in future. Markets and Markets says “the conversational AI market size is expected to increase from USD 10.7 billion in 2023 to USD 29.8 billion by 2028,” and the AI chatbot market size specifically is “expected to reach USD 27,297.2 million by 2030”, says Grand View Research. Organisations of all sizes and types, from property experts to local government, and retailers to travel companies continue to explore conversational AI as a way to speak more with their customers seamlessly across all channels, to reduce costs, increase productivity, and increase profitability. They’re following established trends around providing a 24 hour service, personalising services, having AI handle customer queries end-to-end with no help from agents, and making better use of customer data.


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It’s possible we’ve become so used to using conversational AI tools, like chatbots and smart speakers, we forget how powerful the technology is. How remarkable it is that humans can now speak with computers, something our founder has been working towards since childhood. Now, we can talk to machines using any digital device, using our voice or text.

Find out who in business has been making the most of the speed, accuracy and ‘always on’ capability of AI chatbots, what impact it’s had on their business and how it gives them a competitive advantage, plus learn which trends you should be jumping on in business today and how to prepare for your success.

TL;DR

  • Anyone can now dive deep into advanced AI with barely any need to understand the technicalities, instead focusing on knowing how AI works and handling its rapid evolution.
  • Customers now expect everything immediately and conversational AI delivers instant answers; the idea of rules-led bots that only answer specific questions are no longer relevant.
  • 76% of consumers get frustrated when there’s no personalisation and with accessible, affordable AI for any size business, there’s no real excuse not to deliver it in future.
  • Using conversational AI transforms your customer insights, so you’re never guessing at what’s most likely to increase your success going forwards; data will be your friend.
  • We’ll see the development of new standards and benchmarks on privacy, ethics and prompt engineering in order to safeguard the impact of AI on businesses and workers in the future.

The role of conversational AI in business

Clutch found 82% of business leaders believe “AI will disrupt their business over the next 5 years” and, not just that, “completely transform it”.

To date, chatbots and voice bots have seen phenomenal uptake and the overall market size for conversational AI is “expected to increase from USD 10.7 billion in 2023 to USD 29.8 billion by 2028,” found Markets and Markets.

Advanced AI is now open to every type and size of business

A group of business leaders stand in the centre of colourful cogs and arrow while a solo business leader stands outside of them with a troubled expression

Although businesses of all shapes and sizes and industries have been having genuine success with chatbots for a decade, it’s taken self-serve platforms and LLM (large language model) capability to reach business leaders with no technical expertise in an accessible way. No code platforms and LLMs have helped leaders realise all they can achieve. Anyone can now dive deep into advanced AI with barely any need to understand the technicalities. Rather, they can focus on learning how to understand AI and handle its evolution, since all new technologies take time to bed in, says Mustafa Suleyman (CEO of Microsoft AI and former founder of Inflection AI), in discussion with The Washington Post:

“At first, they seem really threatening and really confusing and overwhelming. But, over time, we realize their limitations and we see the ways in which they’re fallible and the ways in which we need to restrict and control them. And we ultimately end up harnessing the benefits whilst minimizing the downsides. I think there are lots of examples of this throughout history…. AIs are, for sure, going to make us radically more efficient, way more productive, save us vast amounts of time, and generally deliver really phenomenal value.” ~ Mustafa Suleyman

No-one can tell you what the future holds, but after working in conversational AI for ten years, we know both nothing and everything has changed in that time. The message about AI chatbots giving instant answers to customers and offering support 24 hours a day is unchanged. Helping businesses to automate thousands of enquiries at once with increased accuracy is still one of the biggest benefits of using an AI assistant, but the arrival of LLMs in 2022 was a pivotal moment in AI history, supercharging performance ready for more widespread adoption in future.

Unraveling the true impact of conversational AI

We’ve seen good and bad examples of businesses introducing LLMs into their AI toolkit today. Having not used appropriate guardrails to bring LLMs safely into their business, DPD’s sweary AI chatbot caused them some embarrassment, as did Chevrolet’s, which agreed to sell a Chevy for just $1 instead of thousands. Whereas Klarna, who launched with effective safeguarding (in partnership with OpenAI), says their AI chatbot now “carries out the work of 700 people”.

Mark Farbrace at Accenture, who’ve partnered with VOXI, says the Vodafone youth brand is also using AI “to fundamentally reinvent its business” and their focus on “protecting customers to ensure the responsible and ethical deployment of AI technology” has paid off. He goes on to say, “the customer experience is only the start of how this technology can be adopted at scale across the organisation.”

Safeguarding is high priority

Joanna Geronimo, Senior Full Stack Developer at EBI.AI says in future “we will see the development of new standards and benchmarks on privacy, ethics and prompt engineering in order to safeguard the impact of AI, especially in critical sectors such as healthcare, legal and finance.”

As a result, companies are now gaining confidence with conversational AI and starting to prove modern-day AI assistants reduce your costs and increase your productivity to significantly improve the customer experience and boost profitability.

Barking & Dagenham Council saved £48,000 in only six months of introducing their AI assistant, customer satisfaction shot up by 67%, and their ROI reached 533%. To join them, you can estimate the savings your own business can make by using an AI assistant, then look at key opportunities to innovate and gain a competitive advantage against your rivals.

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Using conversational AI to get the competitive edge

Businesses like Klarna, VOXI, and Stena Line ferries who have one of the oldest AI assistants around, might be showing others the way, but it’s not too late to push into the lead alongside them.

Clutch found business leaders are “excited, optimistic, and motivated” by AI, but the reality of implementing it is challenging considering the sudden and perpetual advancement of conversational AI technology, especially since the record-breaking mass adoption of ChatGPT. LLMs like GPT-4 have caught many business leaders by surprise, but also changed everything for those of us who’ve been working in the industry for a long time already. Our own success stories at EBI.AI with Legal & General insurance, JLL, Coop Sweden and more show AI assistants have always delivered, but we’re now using LLMs to transform customer support.

For small businesses especially, Clutch found in the same study their leaders “expect AI to increase their need for outsourced services across departments: Engineering (83%), Sales and Customer Experience (78%), Marketing (77%), and more,” and the sooner you know what you’re looking to achieve, the sooner you can get the help you need to do it and get ahead.

Embracing established trends

Focus on these four key areas to get ahead fastest:

1. Keep your service running 24/7

Customers now expect everything immediately and there’s no sign of this trend dying down. We know from ten years of experience 35% of the customer requests our AI assistants deal with come in when customer contact centres are closed. Forrester found “63% of customers will leave a company after just one poor experience, and almost two-thirds will no longer wait more than 2 minutes for assistance,” and you simply can’t offer a 24 hour, instant response service with human-only support. Add an AI assistant to your team and it gives your agents more time to tackle the unusual, sensitive or challenging queries that need the human touch, while your AI assistant deals with everything else.

On the left is an AI assistant in a dark environment with a moon present, working to answer customer questions. On the right is an office worker at a desk in daylight with a sun present, working to answer customer questions.

2. Connect with work apps and systems

Old impressions of rules-led basic bots that could only answer specific questions are no longer relevant. Experiences providers today use natural language programming (NLP), so smart AI assistants can understand everything customers ask for. There should always be a human in the loop too, to sense check and enhance AI performance, especially now we’re also using LLMs to automate services. There’s multilingual support, omnichannel support, and you can link up AI assistants with all your go-to tools, like HubSpot, Zendesk and Jira, so it can more enquiries end-to-end for your customers with immediate resolution. Striving to use as many integrations as you can makes your conversational AI infinitely more useful and this is what customers will come to expect. Salesforce found “only 38% of consumers actually want to talk with a human,” showing it’s not needed in every case where 24 hour support or immediate answers take priority.

3. Personalise every customer experience

Whether you’re using personalisation in your communications already or not, customers are noticing. McKinsey found “76 percent get frustrated” when their interactions with brands aren’t personalised, and with advanced AI support services now being so easily accessible and affordable for any size business, even one-person brands, there’s no real excuse not to use personalisation. It’s one of the hottest innovation opportunities for 2024 to help grow your business and shows you have a deep understanding of your customers. By tracking their behaviour and preferences, you can tailor products and services to what your customers want, not what you think they want, and an AI assistant will remember everything forever. It’s also easily integrated with your CRM or other business tools you already use.

“Multimodal interactions in AI will drive adoption across different channels and provide proactive and personalised experiences. When AI is able to analyse text, images, audio, video, and other types of data seamlessly, we get closer to mimicking our own ability to process information through various inputs and gain a more in-depth understanding of our customers.”
~ Joanna Geronimo, Senior Full Stack Developer at EBI.AI

4. Use data to your advantage

One of the most insanely useful things about conversational AI is the data you get to inform your business decisions for future growth. When are your busiest times and what do customers ask about the most? What’s not working in your processes or where can customer information be improved? Using conversational AI transforms your customer insights, so you’re never guessing at what’s most likely to increase your success. With accurate, consistent, real-time data, you can create new services or change your offers in ways that delight your customers and increase your profitability.

Make a move now, but make sure it’s smart

Partnering with the an experienced AI solution expert (at least 5 years in conversational AI) is key to avoiding poorly implemented chatbots that result in stressful or costly mistakes, bad PR, or ― most importantly, negative customer experiences. With informed advice and support, MyTime Active were able to transform their customer service in 6 months using a next-gen AI assistant to answer 97% of their leisure queries and save having to hire two extra agents to cope with what was once an overwhelming customer query demand.

How to cultivate the right mindset for success

One of the most advantageous things you can do as a business is get into the right mindset for introducing conversational AI. OpenAI’s CEO, Sam Altman, says “there’s confusion about whether AI is thought of as a tool or a creature. It’s a better movie plot if it’s a creature in a sci-fi movie, for example. If you use ChatGPT, it’s clearly a tool.”

AI chatbots aren’t creatures. They’re not a replacement for people. You just need to find the right tool, teach your teams to use the tool, and stay away from the hype by using an experienced AI assistant provider to assist you with your move into advanced AI.

Know what not to do as much as anything else

“It’s impossible to predict what the next 10 years of conversational AI will bring. We don’t even know what GPT-5, the next innovation from OpenAI will bring, what restrictions governments will bring (EU, we’re looking at you and a cookie pop-up on every website), or how the likes of VR/AR, robotics and wearables will play out. In the shorter term, we continue our commitment to enabling businesses of all sizes to take advantage of the latest conversational AI in a safe, useful and reliable way.”
Matthew Doel, CEO at EBI.AI

Dive into advanced AI today

AI Studio is a tool with all the features you need to scale a next-generation AI assistant that can answer customer questions for you instantly, 24 hours a day. Embrace the excitement of immediate natural conversations, trust us to keep your data safe, introduce new features like LLMs safely, and keep our costs affordable for small and big businesses alike.

Launch in just 10 minutes

With AI Studio it takes just 10 minutes to launch an AI assistant using only your website URL, so you can dive into advanced conversational AI ― you don’t need any technical experience to get started. If you prefer, we can do everything for you from as little as £500 per month, or book a call to speak with us first.

Set the pace in conversational AI and start making waves in your industry.

FAQs

What is conversational AI?

Conversational AI encompasses technologies like chatbots or voice bots that people can interact with. Using vast data, machine learning, and natural language processing, these systems can interact with your customers, detect speech and text inputs to interpret meanings across different languages in order to offer resolve or answer any issues.

Who uses conversational AI?

Conversational AI is used by various businesses across industries, including retail, banking, customer service, and healthcare. It helps improve customer service, automate tasks, provide personalised recommendations, and enhance user experiences on websites and applications.

How can conversational AI help my business?

Conversational AI can benefit your business by improving customer service through automated responses, providing personalised recommendations, streamlining communication processes, boosting customer engagement, and enhancing overall customer experiences. It can also help in reducing operational costs and increasing efficiency.

How do I create an AI chatbot?

To create an AI chatbot for your business, concentrate on selecting the right supplier, so you can benefit from efficient integration with all your go-to business apps and tools for easy scalability, have full editable control over all your customer-facing content, security measures in place, and technical support you can rely on for self-service, or the ability to ask for consultancy instead.