Psyched About Automated Interaction? Make Sure You Think Outside the Bot

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If you’re in the chatbot game, this is kind of exciting.

We are close to publishing some really interesting consumer research on customer service preferences. The Aspect Consumer Experience Index – the survey that found out earlier this year that 42 percent of consumers would rather clean a toilet than contact customer service (up from 32 percent in 2015) – will be published next month. We asked a lot of questions on customer service chatbots – if consumers use them, how they use them, do they even LIKE using them. And if they have used a chatbot, what did they think about the experience? Was the interaction accurate? Was it fast? Was the experience easy or more problematic? We really wanted to see how ready consumers are for text/messaging based automated interaction in customer service.

Turns out, they are pretty ready.

72 percent of the consumers we surveyed said that they’ve interacted with a customer support chatbot or an automated assistant in some way. 40 percent said that they have contacted customer service via a chatbot at least once. And interestingly, we found that half of the consumers who responded really like the idea of using an intelligent assistant or chatbot for customer service.chatbots and automated interaction

Not surprising though, is that people do not want to be trapped in the same rabbit holes that poorly designed IVRs in the past put them in. An overwhelming number of the respondents said they want the easy ability to connect with a live agent if the chatbot interaction is not answering their questions of solving their problem. How many people feel this way? You’ll have to wait for the full results.

But the takeaway here is that automated interaction is hot and consumers are driving the demand. But they do not want the experience to be in isolation. Chatbots are not the end-all, be-all they are just a rapidly emerging channel that consumers want to be included in the larger customer engagement ecosystem. So relative to customer engagement, whether you’re in the chatbot game or about to get in, the time is right. Just make sure you think outside the bot.