Are customers ready for chatbots?

Tuesday 09 May 2017

We’ve all experienced it, the dread of having to ring customer service hotlines. No matter what it’s for, there will be a time that all of us have had to sit in the hold queue, then deal with someone who isn’t quite as helpful as you need them to be. Unfortunately the bad is often what we remember, but get it right and good customer service, weather that’s delivered physically or digitally, can win you customers over your competitors. 

In our digital age delivering customer service doesn’t rely on legions of staff anymore. Algorithms are enabling the next generation of customer service to come to the fore, in the form of chatbots and AI powered customer service. By choosing to use technology over people, companies are cutting costs and delivering a faster and more efficient service. But amidst all the hype about this artificially smarter future, have we really considered how the general public are perceiving this new service type?

 

We recently asked the UK general public their opinions on chatbots and AI powered customer service. Even though 21% of Brits state AI would be the end of the world, almost 3 out of 5 (58.48%) wouldn’t mind dealing with an AI customer service function over a human powered one. With respondents noting the lack of emotion AI technology has as both a potential positive and negative reason for using AI customer service. Despite this, 27% believe an AI powered chatbot could deliver a better customer service than a human one, with women slightly more optimistic in the technology than men (28% of females vs 24% of males).

 

As one of the most wide spread forms of AI customer service, chatbots have become increasingly popular as a way of supporting customers online. Yet, Brits are split almost 50/50 on what a chatbot is.  Regardless of this confusion 14% would be happy for a chatbot diagnose an illness, 5% would be happy for a chatbot to sort finances at the bank and 17% happy for one to help them with online shopping.

 

Despite this perceived trust of chatbots, companies who don’t disclose that it’s not a human on the other end are a big no. Almost 60% of Brits believe companies should have to state when they are using a chatbot or AI customer service assistant. With 23% actually stating that it’s scary when companies deceive them in this way. 

 

Want to know more about our future with AI customer service and chatbots? Come down to UC EXPO, 17-18 May at ExCeL London. Register now at www.ucexpo.com

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