According to new research from interaction management firm Aspect, the desire for automated interaction is real—and actual human connections in service exchanges may be becoming obsolete. Forty-four percent of respondents to the company’s annual survey said that—if a company could get it right—they would prefer to use a chatbot or an automated assistant for customer service interaction, up 4 points from the 2015 survey. In addition, half of them said that they would rather conduct all brand interaction via text/messaging, with 39 percent saying that digital-first methods are more effective than talking, the firm’s newly released 2016 Consumer Experience Index finds.
“The accuracy and interaction quality of intelligent assistants such as Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Echo are driving consumer interest for similar experiences with the brands they do business with. This is no longer just a way for companies to reduce costs by handing simple and repetitive queries over to automated assistants,” said Joe Gagnon, Aspect’s chief customer strategy officer, in a news release. “This is an opportunity for companies to satisfy a growing customer demand. But even though a large number of consumers now prefer using chatbots, they aren’t going to tolerate a substandard experience. The important thing is that companies who deploy automated interaction must provide an experience that is connected to the rest of the customer experience ecosystem.”
A key survey finding is that brands that deliver automation in isolation risk alienating customers. An overwhelming number of consumers (88 percent) expect the context of their interaction on a chatbot to follow them as they transition to a live person. Delivering on this is essential because a good number of respondents think automated assistance will end up giving them the same frustrating experience that antiquated Interactive Voice Response solutions did.
A chatbot experience, broadly defined as a self-service experience, creates good will with customers. Sixty-one percent said chatbots will allow simple to moderate requests to be handled faster. But more importantly, two thirds of consumers said they feel good about themselves and the company when they are able to answer a question or solve a problem by themselves without the help of a customer service agent.
Source: Business Wire; edited by Richard Carufel