Do consumers like interacting with customer support bots?
A customer support bot is technology that uses artificial intelligence (AI) with natural language processing to emulate human conversation. These bots can converse with people using text or speech, and range in sophistication from Apple's Siri to the chatbots that pop up when you visit popular blogs.
Businesses use bots for a variety of functions including sales and customer support. Customer support bots can perform tasks like booking appointments, answering questions, and ordering food. If you have a question about store hours or whether a flight is on time, a customer support bot can typically help you. More complex or unusual questions are a roll of the dice - the customer support bot might ask you to reword the question or it might connect you to a live agent for further assistance.
One of the benefits of customer support bots that appeals most to organizations is the potential for saving labor costs. By one estimate, the retail, banking, and healthcare industries could collectively save $11 billion by 2023*. This is likely a primary driver behind chatbot industry growth, which Business Insider forecasts will reach $9.4 billion by 2024**.
Clearly, businesses like customer support bots, but how do consumers feel about them?
We surveyed over 2400 consumers and found that use of customer support bots is increasing and customer satisfaction with bots is on the rise, but there are still some clear opportunities for improvement. 35% of survey respondents said they had used bots, which represented a 9 point YOY increase. Not surprisingly, use of customer support bots is higher among Generation Z and Millennials.
These two groups of younger consumers are also more likely to think bots make issue resolution quicker and easier than their older counterparts. However, YOY there was a significant increase in how all consumers collectively rated speed and ease, indicating that perceptions are improving among all consumer groups.
Although adoption and perceptions are improving, consumers are still cautious about customer support bots. For example, 80% said bots need to get smarter before they'll use them regularly for customer service.
What does this mean for organizations that want to implement customer support bots? Drive on! But design your bots with their limitations in mind. Additionally, don't expect full-scale customer adoption right out of the gate. If you build a bot that addresses consumers' desire for speed and ease of use, adoption will follow.
*Source: Juniper Research
**Source: Business Insider