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Yoav Barel is an expert on Conversational AI as well as the founder and CEO of Chatbot Summit & Voice Summit. In this guest post, he shares insights into how after the hype of chat bots faded, the industry now faced the long road to mass market adoption, and why he believes conversational AI is a superior technology to apps, websites, and traditional call centers.

At the start of 2018, the hype surrounding bots had dissolved, leaving it at a low on the Gartner Hype Cycle. Since that moment, however, we began a steady ascent, up the slope of enlightenment, and towards our vision – a vision where billions of people are going to use their own natural language in order to interact through technology.

But we are now faced with the task of crossing the chasm, where most technological innovations fail, in order to reach our vision. With real deployments of this technology resulting in the delivery of real value, this task is gradually being accomplished.

Before getting into the success stories contributing to this progress, let’s understand why Conversational AI is a superior technology to apps, websites, and traditional call centers.

The Bots’ Right To Win

When coming to evaluating why Conversational A.I. is going to win where many other technologies have failed, I tend to illustrate this with a simple quadrant.

Not only does conversational A.I. provide a better customer experience in many cases, but it also provides brands with tremendous cost reduction! Combining these two factors together give Bots the ‘Right to Win’ over existing customer experience technologies such as Website and Apps.

In order for us to realize our vision where billions of people are utilizing bots to improve their daily lives, there are three main channels through which consumers need to be reached:

Large Enterprises

Cellular giant Vodafone Group which operates across 25 different markets deal with more than 50 million customer calls each month. If Vodafone manages to automated half of these calls, this will amount to approximately 25 million conversations per month, at an average of 3 € per call, we are looking at a ballpark savings of over one Billion € per year!

Small Businesses

Automotive Dynamics (AD), an auto repair shop based in Arizona, took the decision to make use of PPC Chatbots in their geo-targeted Google ad campaigns. Before the use of chatbots, less than 5% of prospective customers would book a service after viewing AD’s landing page. Once a chatbot was used to answer customer queries and schedule services, AD’s conversion rate increased by 50%.

Direct to Consumer

Insurance company, Lemonade, is a Conversational AI-first company that makes use of a policy bot, claim bot, and customer service bot to serve its clients. Based entirely on technology, Lemonade is the first insurance company to deliver all of its customer services through bots and AI. This technology allows them to process policies within 90 seconds. Of their 100 000+ policies sold in 2018, not a single one of them required the use of human intervention.

The use of bots also allows customers to have their claims handled within 3-8 seconds, compared to the weeks it would take at other companies. In fact, Lemonade holds a world record for claim handling, at an unbelievable 3 seconds. Lemonade continues to do research and development with regards to automating many of the back-end tasks within the company through bots and AI.

Future Trends

  • With WhatsApp already dominating a whole host of international markets (what we call “Green Countries”), the use of bots on this platform will result in an enormous boost in the engagement of bots, to an extent we previously couldn’t imagine
  • Apple Business Chat is continuing to grow within the US market as well as gain traction within Europe
  • The emergence of Voice-First applications and Voice enablement of existing bots as the proliferation of voice assistant platforms is going to continue.
  • Through the capabilities of Google Assistant, businesses will start to develop their own personalized voice-first applications in addition to their existing chatbot infrastructures
  • The development of higher-level NLP systems which include pre-tested high quality multi-turn conversational components
  • Natural Language General Technologies will start to emerge with better Dialog Management
  • More and more large enterprises like Vodafone are going to launch bots which are going to significantly impact their business
  • Small business are going to integrate chatbots into their marketing and sales operations
  • Conversational-AI first startups like Lemonade are going to continue emerging
  • Standardization of conversational AI will be addressed both in forms of industry associations and development of industry-wide middleware solutions

Chatbot technology is on the way to reaching the mass market. We have two critical years in front of us where we are required to work together as an industry to replicate the current success stories in large enterprises, small businesses and disruptive direct-to-consumer startups.

Yoav Barel is an expert on Conversational AI as well as the founder and CEO of Chatbot Summit & Voice Summit – an international conference series with a mission to accelerate the advancement of Conversational A.I based experiences. With over 18 years of experience in the digital & customer experience innovation space, Yoav is a driving force behind major shifts in customer experience technologies from the early days of mobile Java to Apps and now Bots.

In his capacity as an industry expert and strategy consultant, Yoav helps brands in making the right decisions with regards to use-case selection, roadmap development, vendor and start-up evaluation as well as crafting the best strategy for leveraging the latest developments in Conversational AI.

Yoav Barel

Founder & CEO, Chatbot Summit, Voice Summit


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