Survey: Customer expectations for chatbots are…

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Automated chatbots can be an important part of online customer service.

A new survey reveals the most popular benefits consumers expect to gain from interacting with customer service chatbots.

Customer service platform Tidio recently surveyed over 750 consumers to determine the latest trends in automated, artificial intelligence (AI)-based customer service chatbots. The survey found that about 53% of respondents think waiting too long for replies is the most frustrating part of interacting with businesses. Given the alternatives of waiting 15 minutes or longer to converse with a human agent or immediately interact with a chatbot, 62% of respondents would prefer to talk to a chatbot.

This desire for immediacy is reflected in responses to a question about what consumers expect from chatbots. About three in 10 (29%) respondents said 24/7 customer service, and another 24% said receiving a fast reply. However, 17% cited being able to reach a human agent if they want to, and using messages for asking questions in a natural way rather than using a search bar and having no need to talk to anyone both received 11% response rates. Another 8% expect to receive personalized messages.

When asked whether they would prefer to use a chatbot or human agent to solve specific customer service issues, more than half of respondents selected chatbots for these issues:

  • Checking order status 71%
  • Searching for products 67%
  • Getting information on deals and discounts 62%
  • Ordering food 59%
  • Leaving contact details 58%
  • Making a payment 54%

However, there were three key issues where less than half of respondents would prefer a chatbot over human assistance:

  • Product returns 46%
  • Troubleshooting 40%
  • Complaining about customer service 28%

The survey also reveals that chatbots are now a mainstream technology. Only 17% of respondents believe that companies overuse chatbots and make it too difficult to reach human agents, and almost nine in 10 (88%) respondents have interacted with a chatbot in the previous year. And seven in 10 (69%) respondents who have interacted with a chatbot found the experience positive, while one in five (21%) had a neutral chatbot experience and only 10% found the interaction to be negative.

In addition, the survey examined some specific Gen Z opinions about chatbots. Although Gen Z is considered a “digital-first” generation, only 44% of Gen Z respondents believe that chatbots will make traditional customer support call centers obsolete. Still, 56% of Gen Z respondents think companies should use more chatbots, with 62% willing to use chatbots for ordering food and 71% to search for products.   

A recent consumer survey from cloud-based CRM technology provider Lucidworks also examined consumer attitudes toward chatbots. According to the Lucidworks survey, 70% of respondents said they use a site’s chatbot every visit or often, and almost two-thirds (64%) say they would like to use the chatbot for support finding specific products. In addition, six in 10 (59%) respondents say they would like to check product compatibility or get additional product information.