Your messaging apps – Snapchat, WahhtsApp and more – are about to get smarter.

The number of people using instant messaging services through chatbots will more than double to 4.2 billion over the next four years with artificial intelligence that enables smarter apps driving demand, says a new report.

As these messaging apps evolve to become customer relationship management tools, “service providers must view the introduction of chatbots as an opportunity to expand their in-app offerings, beyond a mere,” Juniper Research says in its just released Mobile Messaging: Operator Strategies & Vendor Opportunities 2017-2021 study.

The number of unique users is forecast to nearly double from some 2.3 billion users in 2016 as a result.

“By leveraging AI technology, these OTT [instant messaging services provided by third parties] apps will offer a high value proposition by creating a new level of consumer engagement,” Juniper says. “For end-customers, these platforms offer an attractive means of engagement by allowing for greater consumer flexibility and minimizing call wait times.”

Notes Juniper’s Sam Barker: “Successful chatbots will increase audience engagement, maintain customer satisfaction and generate repeat business. OTT players must ensure they support these chatbots in their applications, or risk user churn to competitors.”