Contact Center Solutions Featured Article

Survey: Most Customers Uncomfortable with Chatbots

November 16, 2017

photo courtesy of BigStock

Cognitive systems and AI adoption across a broad range of industries are likely to drive worldwide revenues from nearly $8 billion in 2016 to more than $47 billion in 2020, according to IDC. Automated customer service agents are one of the key AI areas that attracted investment last year, the research firm noted.

But are customers ready for customer service via chatbot? The answer to that question depends upon who you’re asking.

Kantar TNS recently asked 70,000 consumers around the world about their interest in interacting chatbots and allowing connected device monitoring. The results indicate that people – at least many of those surveyed – do not have a high comfort level with chatbots.

Let’s take a look at the numbers.

The survey results suggest that acceptance of chatbots by consumers low – just 28 percent of British consumers are willing to interact with them. It’s even lower in Australia, where 22 percent of survey respondents voice an interest in employing chatbots.

Additionally, the survey indicates that 34 percent of British consumers are not ready for online-only customer service. And Kantar TNS says that 54 percent of consumers object to connected devices monitoring their activities, even if it makes their lives easier.

But AI, automated customer service, chatbots, and connected devices are the wave of the future. And many such solutions, and applications of those technologies, are already available and in use today.

"We are starting to see that chatbots and conversational digital interactions  are moving beyond the curiosity phase and into normal operations,” Joe Gagnon, chief customer strategy officer at Aspect Software, told me earlier this year. “Most consumers, 58 percent according to our research, would prefer their customer service interaction to be through a text or messaging app. The expectation is that simple to moderate requests should be satisfied without needing to contact a customer service rep. There are many benefits that come from this new interaction model, including freeing up contact center agents to spend more time on higher-value, more complex, activities resulting in better service, and a dynamic shift in how the contact center is staffed and managed going forward."

Chatbots can help customers with a range of things – including customer service, presenting them news based on specified criteria, getting weight loss advice, and much more. They automate processes, and can be smart and poll users about what they want, and then can come back to them with those things.

“From better purchase recommendations, to smarter customer service that predicts what a consumer is actually trying to do, AI promises to fundamentally transform entire businesses and industries,” said Scott Horn, CMO at customer engagement solution provider 24/7. “Investments in AI are paving the way for a personalized world where every interaction matters, and every company can benefit."

Edited by Mandi Nowitz