Over half of consumers will choose a chatbot over a human to save time

Shoppers want a little less automation, but a little more human interaction, according to a new report.
Written by Eileen Brown, Contributor

Despite reports that robots will soon take over our jobs and our lives, we love the simplicity that AI brings into our lives.

According to a new report,  consumers across generations crave human interaction when engaging with brands. 

They do not expect or want technology to replace real people, but trust humans to help solve more complex problems and make their experiences more enjoyable.

Voice of customer (VoC) platform Usabilla has released a report showing that humans love AI and chatbots.

It surveyed 1,000 US consumers in August 2018 who used customer service options such as FAQs, chatbots, or automated options that allowed them to completely avoid human interaction for a customer service issue.

Almost three out of four (70 percent) of respondents said that they have used chatbots already, and of those who have not, 60 percent said that they would feel comfortable doing so.

However, almost one in five (18 percent) of customers say they always prefer to interact with humans when engaging with brands, regardless of the circumstance.

While human connection is valued, convenience for simple tasks is preferred. The survey found 35 percent of customers report the No. 1 reason they would use a chatbot would be to save time.

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Additionally, 54 percent of respondents said they would always choose a chatbot over a human customer service rep if it saved them 10 minutes.

There are several tasks that customers expect to do without any human assistance. Checking your bank balance, transactions, or updating payment information is a given.

Scheduling appointments or changing flight details are also top of mind. But if there are issues, then customers want human assistance.

over half of consumers will choose a chatbot over a human to save time zdnet
(Image: Top tasks customers expect to do without human assistance by usabilla)

Over half (52 percent) of shoppers have positive feelings toward tech development as it relates to AI. Although some brands may have perceptions that chatbots might scare off customers because of "creepiness," the data does not bear this out.

Less than one percent of respondents reported they'd choose a human representative over a chatbot because they are "creeped out" by chatbots.

Almost nine out of 10 (87 percent) customers report that they are satisfied or very satisfied with their ability to solve problems or answer questions on their own by using  a brand's website. Many use the FAQ sections on the self help pages of the site.

The survey shows that companies should ensure that consumers can engage with real human beings through the entire customer experience.

It might be more expensive, hiring more customer service representatives, delivering better training for representatives or giving customers more options to interact with real people along the customer journey.

Whatever it is, give the customers the human connection they crave and they will be sure to return.

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