Chatbots — AI applications that simulate human conversation — are becoming more pervasive in online and mobile customer service, and acceptance of them is growing: 55% of American consumers, and 65% of Millennials, report that they want chatbots involved in the process. In addition, 20% of consumers say chatbots are definitely making things better, while 40% say chatbots are helpful but not yet living up to their full potential.
These are some of the results of an online survey of more than 2,000 adults conducted on behalf of Helpshift, a platform that enables scalable, real-time, chat-based customer support for companies.
Consumers welcome AI-driven chatbots in customer service for the following reasons:
- To make the entire customer service process more efficient: 75%;
- To reduce the time it takes to get an agent on the phone: 73%;
- To reduce the time it takes to resolve the issue: 71%;
- To resolve the problem via chat and eliminate the need to call or email customer support: 70%; and
- To reduce the time it takes to explain the problem to an agent: 67%.
Nearly half (49%) of the respondents said that having chatbots available 24/7 was a benefit. When consumers need something quickly or the answer to a simple problem, 18% of consumers in both situations prefer chatbots to human interaction.
The problems consumers experience when contacting customer service by phone have paved the way for new solutions. When asked to pick the one thing they most dread about contacting customer service, respondents selected:
- Difficulties communicating with agents in offshore call centers: 17%;
- Long wait and hold times: 16%;
- Being transferred around and having to repeat the problem over and over: 15%;
- Never-ending automated self-service menus: 12%; and
- Being forced to interact with robots on the phone: 8%.
“Americans value efficiency above all else when seeking customer support,” said Linda Crawford, CEO of Helpshift in a statement. “If chatbots can make the support experience more efficient, they are glad to have them involved in the process.”