Seven out of ten Americans have chatbot fatigue

Do we still embrace the rise of the chatbot for customer support? How does AI impact our experiences online?
Written by Eileen Brown, Contributor

What do we want in our interactions with brands when we need to contact customer support or sales teams?  A recent report shows that the rise of the AI chatbot is not progressing as well as hoped. 

Recent research from New York, NY-based outsourcing company CGS shows how AI impacts the customer experience.

Its customer service chatbots and channels survey looked at how customers felt about AI and automation-based interactions. It polled over 1,000 US consumers to better understand their preferences around customer service interactions.

It wanted to discover what channels they are more likely to use when dealing with stressful situations and how they feel about automation.

The survey showed that there is a clear age gap in the acceptance of automation. Almost nine out of ten (86%) of consumers prefer to interact with a human agent, and over seven out of ten (71%) respondents said they would be less likely to use a brand if it did not have human customer service representatives available.

Respondents, aged between 25 to 44, are 2.5 times more likely to use chatbots to ask a quick question, compared to 18-24 year olds. Over one-third of women were happy using chat to ask a quick question compared to one-quarter of men.

Seven out of ten Americans have chatbot fatigue zdnet

However almost seven out of ten (69%) were more comfortable asking a complex question by phone or voice, compared to only 1% who preferred to use a video channel.

Over one-third of respondents said that they felt that AI was 'maddening', 'unable to fully address their needs', or 'sci-fi futuristic' when relating to customer service.

When faced with stressful situations customers said that they were likely to use the phone as their preferred channel. Over seven out of ten (71%) wanted to use the phone compared to 12% who preferred chat or DM.

When considering AI, 13% of consumers find chatbot interactions "maddening" while 8% find them to be impersonal. Only 2% thought it was a job killer.

However, when making an inquiry through a texting-based messaging service for customer support a huge (86%) of US customers preferred to interact with a human compared to an AI-based system.

Steven Petruk, president, Global Outsourcing division, CGS said: "From our survey, it appears that this transformation to AI-driven technology may be occurring faster than the consumers' willingness to embrace it."

Petruk is certainly right. Even though I love technology, I turn away from basic chatbots -- like the simplified bot that pops up on the CGS site itself. I am quick to close the chat interface window when I have no flexibility to respond.

I do not want to select from a pre-selected set of responses to answer the bot's questions. I want my free text questions to be interpreted using machine learning.

Until AI bots attain that level of intelligence and are able to respond to more complex questions, customer service satisfaction levels will not improve.

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