Research from NewVoiceMedia recently revealed that 75% of customers would prefer to have their customer service needs managed by a live agent, instead of via self-service (12%) or a chatbot (13%).
In the age of the empowered customer, many people have begun to turn to digital options for their support solutions online. NewVoiceMedia’s study found that 60% of respondents had used chatbots to reach a business in the last 12 months. Additionally, 48% of consumers said that they would be willing to deal with a chatbot if necessary. However, further insights from the study found that chatbots simply weren’t enough for some interactions.
For things like handling personal and financial information, most customers felt more comfortable with a live agent, and only 13% said they felt comfortable the idea of all service interactions being managed by bots in the future.
Common Concerns About Using Chatbots
According to NewVoiceMedia’s study, the biggest concern customers had with using chatbots involved the machine’s inability to “understand” their issue (63%). Other problems included a failure to solve complex issues (63%), a lack of personal experience (45%), and issues with data privacy (25%). Around 46% of the respondents said that they felt that bots prevented them from reaching the live people they needed to speak to.
The kind of transaction that a customer is engaged in has a big impact on how they feel using chatbots. Most respondents said they felt uncomfortable managing their banking via chatbots (82%), while 75% said they wouldn’t like to use bots for medical inquiries.
The study suggests that although chatbots are useful, they’re not what people want in complex or emotional situations. The President of NewVoiceMedia, Dennis Fois said that as companies add more customer service channels to the mix, conversations are becoming increasingly complex, which could mean that chatbots aren’t enough to win the appreciation and loyalty of customers.
Finding the Right Technology Balance
It seems that chatbots and self-service options do have a part to play in our customer service systems of the future, but they’re only one piece of the puzzle. Cloud contact centres will give companies the opportunity to access emerging technologies like bots and AI, without completely giving up on personal touches. As we go forward into the future of customer service, it’s important to remember that your consumers prefer live support for everything from technical support (91%), to making a complaint (86%), or even booking an appointment (59%).
In the study, the younger participants did feel the most comfortable about chatbots overall. The study found that more than half of people aged over 60 (52%) would not be willing to use chatbots at all. The research followed NewVoiceMedia’s study about customer churn (Serial Switchers Swayed by Sentiment). In the previous survey, 48% of customers said that they would prefer to use the phone as their preferred method of communication. It seems that although new technologies are emerging, they’re not ready to take over the traditional methods just yet.