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Do People Like Chatbots? Rethinking the Customer Experience

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Everywhere you look, chatbots seem to be the rising star of the conversation. By 2024 it’s predicted chatbots could help retailers reach $142 billion in consumer spending worldwide – a massive jump from $2.8 billion back in 2019.

How can businesses compete with these digital assistants taking over? If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em?

The real challenge is understanding consumer sentiment – do people like chatbots? This is especially important when it comes to customer service and communications. Retailers who can meet consumer demand on all communication fronts will have a leg up on their competition.

Chat What?

You’ve probably interacted with a chatbot and didn’t even know it! Have you ever said, “Hey Siri,” or “Alexa, play…?” Or maybe planned your day with a Google assistant? Even when you’re on the computer checking out a website. Those little chat bubble that pops up on your screen asks, “How can I help you?” All of these are a type of chatbot.

These conversational AI programs were created to allow consumers to interact and perform daily actions within a site or application online. With the increasing use of chatbots, people are standing firmly in favor of or strongly against these programs.

Do People like Chatbots?

Chatbots have become all the rage in our digital-first world. Companies use these AI agents as a form of customer support without clogging the system. Though many industries are adopting chatbots into their systems, only a small percentage of people (about 1/3) actually prefer AI over real-life assistance.

The one main pro chatbots have under their belt is fast customer service. With immediate accessibility, bots may save both customer and company time. But what is the customer experience like?

Old Fashioned Communication

Despite the growing popularity of chatbots, some people aren’t exactly thrilled with the thought of a virtual-only assistant. Instead, most prefer a real human connection.

In fact, 86% of consumers say they’d choose a real agent over an AI assistant.

Here we’ve found reasons chatbots are falling flat for customers:

  1. Natural language isn’t translated well
  2. Easily misunderstood/context misunderstood
  3. No personalization, no unique experience
  4. Limited functions
  5. People just like people

People want more than just a set of canned replies that try to imitate a conversation between individuals. Nearly 3 in 4 would less likely use a brand if it didn’t have real-time customer service available.

In our latest Retail Industry Report, one of the top reasons people put people over anything else was the fact that chat solutions rarely work. For both urgent and non-urgent issues, consumers would choose phone calls (55% and 43%, respectively) over emails or text messages.

Alternatives to Chatbots

Living with chatbots can be a hard transition for people. At the moment, though, it’s not the only possibility consumers can turn to. Upgrading up the calling experience with branded communication solutions could be just the thing companies need to enhance the customer experience and keep loyalty among clients.

Overall, chatbots aren’t what humans are, and they don’t come close. Sure, they’re available 24/7, but the experience is easily duplicated from one person to the next. Bots often lack the personality and the genuine emotion one can get from talking with a live person.

Nothing can replace a connection. A connection with people, that is.

First Orion creates mobile communication solutions that enable businesses or agencies to identify who they are and why they’re calling on your incoming call screen. Our INFORM branded text display features a customizable 32-character message. ENGAGE is a graphics-based, content-rich display, allowing companies to deliver name, number, logo, and colors right to their audience.

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