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Chatbots expected to cut business costs by $8 billion by 2022

Women uses her laptop outside of a coffee shop
Joseph Branston | Future Publishing | Getty Images
Women uses her laptop outside of a coffee shop

Chatbots could help trim business costs by more than $8 billion per year by 2022, according to new research which is anticipating a surge in automated customer service programs as companies move to embrace artificial intelligence (AI).

Health care and banking, industries which manage large volumes of human interaction, are set to benefit most from the new technology, the study published Tuesday from analysis firm Juniper Research suggests.

It predicts that between three-quarters and 90 percent of queries in these areas will be dealt with by "chatbots" within the next five years, resulting in cost savings of up to $0.70 per interaction.

"We believe that health care and banking providers using bots can expect average time savings of just over 4 minutes per enquiry, equating to average cost savings in the range of $0.50-$0.70 per interaction," the research company said.

Chatbots currently account for business cost savings of $20 million globally, but their ability to deal comprehensively with human problems is limited. The success rate of bot interactions (those completed without relocation to a human operator) in the health-care sector is just 12 percent.

As technology develops, however, Juniper expects that this will improve and the ability of bots to deal comprehensively with human health care queries could increase to 75 percent.

This could include more sophisticated health care diagnostics, such as monitoring and analysis of mental health, it suggests.

It is hoped that developments in this space could result in improved response times, as well as a reallocation of resources to other business areas. However, this also threatens to undermine jobs within certain sectors.

"As artificial intelligence advances, reducing reliance on human representatives undoubtedly spells job losses," the Juniper note stated.

Speaking to the BBC Radio on Tuesday, Accentia's Head of AI and Emerging Technology, Leticia Kyoto, said that AI would improve customer satisfaction and allow industries to concentrate on more "innovative and creative" tasks.

"(Customers) want an answer, they want their problem solved, and if a robot is helping that to happen faster and smarter they actually do enjoy that experience," she said.

The research comes as London hosts an Artificial Intelligence summit which aims to look at how technology can improve the country's productivity levels.

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