Photo credit: Yelp

What happens when a senior living resident or family needs a product or service the community is unable to provide? All too often, the result can be lost productivity for the operator — and frustration for the customer.

Yelp just announced an AI-powered chatbot that could soon provide much-needed relief, whether the need is for personal care items or a new physician.   

One thing that will make Yelp Assistant different from using traditional search tools is that users can describe what they need into the chat interface. The bot will than ask related questions to find the best possible nearby option, according to Yelp.

“AI enables us to transform the way people discover and connect with local businesses,” said Craig Saldanha, Yelp’s chief product officer.

“Yelp Assistant is a game-changer for hiring service providers, alleviating friction for consumers in finding the right pro for their needs,” he added.

Chatbots are computer programs that simulate and process human conversation (either written or spoken), allowing humans to interact with digital devices as if they were communicating with a real person. Chatbots can be as simple as rudimentary programs that answer a simple query with a single-line response, or as sophisticated as digital assistants that learn and evolve to deliver increasing levels of personalization as they gather and process information.

Chatbot adoption is poised for rapid expansion. According to consulting company Mordor Intelligence, the North American chatbot industry is projected to grow at a compound annual rate of 24.6% from 2021 to 2026. As more companies enter the market, the cost of adopting chatbots is expected to decline. Concurrently, advancements in natural language processing and machine learning will enhance the capabilities of chatbots.

Further advancements in natural-language understanding will broaden chatbot applications and drive overall adoption rates. Globally, consulting firm Juniper Research forecasts the chatbot industry to reach $142 billion this year.