The hype surrounding AI-based voice and chatbots is evident, but do they deliver? Most still perform only extremely basic tasks and often mirror the poor practices of traditional IVRs. Customers may be open to the idea, but only 30% believe that chatbots and virtual assistants make it easier to address their service issues.\n\nThe things customers say bots are good at \u2013 replying quickly, helping them outside normal business hours, being friendly \u2013 are not as important as what 60% say bots fail at: understanding them well. Any company that underestimates the value of AI in this area will fall behind in 2023; however, reevaluation is necessary. \n\nHow can you implement AI bots in your company, and what will they be able to do for you? Here\u2019s how Avaya expects things to shake out: \n\nCustomer expectations are drastically changing with the proliferation of AI-enabled speech devices such as Alexa, Google Home, and Siri and the introduction of new applications like ChatGPT. We will see a focus on making customer interactions easier to understand, resulting in less repetition of information and disconnects to create better bot experiences. Integration with cognitive intelligence (context-sensitive knowledge management, predictive analytics, and similar) will be key for doing so.\n\nDon\u2019t expect to see night-and-day differences but rather a turning point in the relationship between machines and humans. We\u2019ll see the continued shift away from button-based chatbots to conversational virtual agents that can handle more complex interactions with a sophisticated reasoning engine and integrated back-end systems. \n\nCompanies would be wise to start with small-scale, attainable applications (ex: having their virtual agent successfully \u201ctalk\u201d customers through the steps required for a given task or process such as initiating a password reset, filing a support ticket, or making a reservation). Then, build from there to start using conversational AI in more advanced ways such as instantly capturing and analyzing conversations to initiate action or having bots read between the lines to understand what customers want and feel. \n\nFor now, it\u2019s \u201cslow and steady wins the race.\u201d\n\nMost bot-initiated interactions result in live agent transfers. Could we see an increase in reverse handoffs where customers go from agent to bot? Yes, especially as processes near completion so that agents can free up more time. \n\nHere\u2019s an example of how this could work: A customer calls his car insurance company after being in a minor fender bender. The agent walks the customer through the steps that need to be taken (how to file a claim, where to upload pictures of the scene, and how to handle all other needs) and answers any questions along the way. \n\nIt\u2019s at this point the agent offers the customer the option to be transferred to a digital experience facilitated by the company\u2019s AI chatbot. The customer accepts, the call ends, and the bot steps in via text\/SMS. The bot can send links to knowledge-based articles, embed \u201chow-to\u201d videos directly into text messages, help the customer navigate the company\u2019s mobile app, and answer any questions in a natural, human-like, back-and-forth conversation. \n\nThe customer can opt out of this digital experience at any point and be elevated back to a live agent with all contextual information. Avaya expects more organizations will consider or facilitate agent-to-bot interactions in 2023 to improve costs and productivity while maintaining, if not increasing, CSAT. \n\nExpect to see a surge in interest for communication analytics as companies seek to convert data hidden in customers' conversations into actionable insights that can be used to make strategic, tactical, and operational decisions. For example, using AI-powered speech analytics to: \n\nAn AI-powered Experience Platform, built on open API architecture, provides the predictive, cloud-based AI capabilities needed to gain deeper customer insights, personalize interactions, and reduce operating costs while reaping the benefits of continuous improvements over time. The platform seamlessly integrates with existing infrastructure, preserving current investments, while empowering organizations to find valuable data immediately and start managing and leveraging that data more effectively. \n\nAn effortless way to get started with AI bots is by using a pre-built VA solution. These solutions are the epitome of \u201cinnovation without disruption.\u201d They can be managed and customized from a simple dashboard without needing help from a developer team and can be used for simple to very sophisticated purposes. It\u2019s likely we\u2019ll see an increase in the adoption of these solutions over the next 12 months. \n\nHow do you see AI bots continuing to evolve for customer experience?\n\nFind out more about how\u00a0Avaya AI solutions\u00a0deliver intelligent experiences.