HomeSmart TechChatbot technology is empowering South Africa's digital natives who are shaping the...

Chatbot technology is empowering South Africa’s digital natives who are shaping the future of communication

Youth are the active drivers of technology adoption and innovation, often being the first to embrace new developments, and thus setting trends and encouraging businesses to incorporate such advancements. Given that over 60% of South Africa’s population is under the age of 35, according to figures published by Statista, the country’s youthful population is uniquely positioned to embrace and shape the future of technology. This trend is clearly evident in how Generation Z is currently shaping the way people communicate and this in turn is compelling businesses to amend their communication strategies to suit this demographic.

In line with this, the advent of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is offering businesses new ways to communicate with their customers, catering to Generation Z’s demand for quick and easily accessible information. This trend is also driving businesses to develop more technology-driven platforms that form an integral part of their business while harnessing the power of AI. As a result, AI-driven chatbots are becoming increasingly ubiquitous as part of organisational communication strategies.

The use cases for AI-powered chatbots are growing rapidly, with these platforms commonly taking over some functions of call centre agents. For example, chatbots are often used to handle basic customer queries and answer frequently asked questions. Unlike human agents, AI chatbots can access and process huge amounts of information to answer customer queries accurately, and they can do this around the clock to provide a seamless user experience.

Largest consumer demographic

Considering that Generation Z is becoming the largest consumer demographic in the world, communication service providers are increasingly paying attention to the role young people play in societal progress and technological advancements, aligning solutions to their demands and preferences.

For example, younger consumers want their banking institutions to service them in the language of their choice and provide relevant information that may be region-specific. These organisations must therefore ensure that they have Generative AI (GenAI) capabilities integrated into their systems, which can be deployed with Natural Language Processing (NLP) to generate content that includes free-flowing conversations.

In addition to being platforms that organisations can use to service their customers daily, organisations should start looking at chatbots with NLP capabilities as tools that can guide and inform their business decisions. While organisations might have a perception of their customers’ journeys, these chatbots can generate accurate data that backs up what the customer wants to experience, based on free-flowing interactions.

With younger users demanding that businesses communicate with them over their preferred channels, AI-driven chatbots are successfully being integrated into platforms such as WhatsApp.

Most widely used chat app

As the most widely used chat app in South Africa, WhatsApp’s user base grew from 9.1 million in 2021 to 9.9 million in 2022. The platform is expected to reach about 11.5 million users by 2025, according to Statista.

Its popularity and ubiquitous nature mean that the uptake of WhatsApp for Business with integrated chatbots has been very robust among younger users who can engage with business on a 24/7 basis over a channel that they know and are already using.

In addition to enabling better engagement between enterprises and their customers, young entrepreneurs in South Africa can also effectively leverage chatbot technology to enhance their businesses. Not only can entrepreneurs harness the power of chatbots to effectively engage with their customers, but they can also gain powerful data insights that will enable them to make better strategic decisions and personalise customer interactions.

The youth’s natural inclination towards technology and their significant role in driving its adoption means that chatbots must be part of any modern business’s communication strategy. Young people are leveraging chatbot technology to create meaningful change and spearhead development in diverse sectors and this trend will only accelerate as this technology continues to evolve.