Will chatbots replace customer service reps?
Retail TouchPoints staff
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from the Retail TouchPoints website.
Chatbots — AI applications that simulate human conversation — are becoming more pervasive in online and mobile customer service, and acceptance of them is growing: 55 percent of American consumers and 65 percent of Millennials report that they want chatbots involved in the process. In addition, 20 percent of consumers say chatbots in general are definitely making things better, while 40 percent 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 supports 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 percent);
- To reduce the time it takes to get an agent on the phone (73 percent);
- To reduce the time it takes to resolve the issue (71 percent);
- To resolve the problem via chat and eliminate the need to call or email customer support (70 percent);
- To reduce the time it takes to explain the problem to an agent (67 percent).
Nearly half (49 percent) of the respondents said that having chatbots available 24/7 was a benefit. When consumers need something quickly or need an answer to a simple problem, 18 percent of consumers in both situations prefer chatbots to human interaction.
Overall, 52 percent gave customer service in the U.S. a “C” grade or lower, and almost all (94 percent) said that they dread contacting customer support.
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 percent);
- Long wait and hold times (16 percent);
- Being transferred around and having to repeat their explanation of the problem (15 percent);
- Never-ending automated self-service menus: (12 percent);
- Being forced to interact with robots on the phone: (8 percent).
The findings follow Gartner’s prediction that by 2020, 85 percent of customer interactions will be managed without a human, and by the close of 2018, customer digital assistants will recognize customers by face and voice across channels.
- 55% Of Consumers Welcome Customer Service Chatbots – Retail TouchPoints
- Helpshift Study: Americans Love Chatbots—If They Get Them to Humans Faster – Helpshift
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you expect that chatbots will replace humans for most customer service issues? Have you had mostly favorable or unfavorable experiences using chatbots for customer service?