The use of chatbots by online businesses is expected to rise over the next two years, but new research has revealed that 65 percent of consumers think chatbots are “too dumb” to be useful.
According to a Pegasystems’ survey of 3,500 consumers from across the globe, customers are unimpressed with the performance of online chatbots. According to the latest study on the effectiveness of the popular AI tech, a lack of ‘intelligence’ is the biggest complaint consumers have against automated bots.
In fact, 65 percent of the people surveyed said they would rather speak to an actual person over a chatbot, despite claims they could be convenient in certain situations.
“As chatbots become more pervasive, the quality of the engagement has lagged significantly behind customer expectations,” said Ying Chen, head of product marketing and platform technologies at Pegasystems.
“To truly depend on digital channels as the first line of defence in customer service, smart businesses need to unite their chatbots with the enterprise systems that can do real work – not just fetch bits of random information.”
While 72 percent of consumers feel bots can be useful to some degree, 58 percent rank their chatbot experiences as ‘adequate’, and 18 percent say the AI tech is ineffective and annoying. Out of the 3,500 survey respondents, only 16 percent rated their experiences highly.
Looking at specific functionalities, most consumers rated chatbots highly for providing basic information like tracking an order (60 percent), finding basic information (53 percent) and asking basic questions (49 percent). It’s also worth noting that respondents spoke positively about the convenience of interacting with a chatbot, with 56 percent praising the fast service and a further 37 percent saying they like being able to engage with a bot on their own schedule.
Increased Adotpion of Chatbots
According to Gartner, 25 percent of customer service operations will use virtual customer assistants by 2020.
“Twenty-five percent of customer service and support operations will integrate virtual customer assistant (VCA) or chatbot technology across engagement channels by 2020, up from less than two percent in 2017,” the company wrote in a post on its website.
Speaking at a customer experience summit in Tokyo earlier this year, Gene Alvarez, the managing vice president of Gartner, said most businesses are realising the potential of automated self-service technology.
“As more customers engage on digital channels, VCAs are being implemented for handling customer requests on websites, mobile apps, consumer messaging apps and social networks,” he said. “This is underpinned by improvements in natural-language processing, machine learning and intent-matching capabilities.”
For those who have already implemented a chatbot or some form of voice technology on their site, Alvarez says 70 percent have reported a reduction in phone and email enquiries, as well as a 33 percent saving per voice engagement. However, he also says that a good VCA should do more than just provide information, it should also enrich the customer experience.
This indicates that consumer satisfaction could be increased as businesses refine their technology, and take advantage of advancements in natural language processing and machine learning capabilities.