March 1, 2018

What’s Stopping Consumers From Using Chatbots?

Despite chatbots’ growing sophistication and use cases across most industries, consumers haven’t fully embraced the solution just yet. Chatbots are picking up steam, but brands still have work to do in showcasing the technology’s true potential and value for users.

At PointSource, we know that the potential is great. And we know that the value is even greater. Chatbots – along with other AI systems – will dramatically improve how brands engage shoppers, making every interaction more informed, more effective and less of a burden. That’s why we’re dedicated to uncovering what’s stopping people from experiencing the many benefits chatbots offer throughout the shopping journeys.

According to our study, 2018 Artificial Intelligence and Chatbot Report, 54 percent of consumers currently prefer to talk to a customer service representative over a chatbot. Let’s explore what’s contributing to this mentality:

  • Misinformation
    Struggling to find the right information is a top reservation consumers have about using chatbots. In fact, over half of people (51 percent) anticipate frustrations due to chatbots not understanding what they’re looking for.Not only are people worried that chatbots will incorrectly interpret their requests, but 44 percent question if they are even capable of providing accurate information in the first place. Even when chatbots and consumers are on the same page, people are still skeptical of the technology’s cognitive capabilities as compared to traditional human agents.
  • Privacy and Security
    Another top concern when working with chatbots is privacy. The technology faces a real uphill battle in convincing users that their information is safe.Inspiring trust in chatbots is a two-fold effort. First, working against the swell of (justified) fear toward hacking, brands must change the minds of the 41 percent of people who are concerned about the privacy and security of their personal data from hackers. Then, brands must uphold their honest intentions and prove how they respect consumers’ wishes to not have their sensitive information freely distributed. A third (32 percent) of people worry about their personal data being shared with other companies.
  • Speed
    Finally, consumers refuse to engage with chatbots that are unable to quickly handle their needs. This is hardly surprising, considering that many brands are also turning to the technology as a way to automate routine interactions and find operational efficiencies at scale.Where do people draw the line? When on hold with a retail brand, for example, 34 percent of customers would prefer to switch to a chatbot after 5 minutes. However, chatbots cannot consume excess time either. Over half (59 percent) of consumers are unsatisfied if a chatbot cannot provide them with a clear path to resolution within 5 minutes.

    These concerns aren’t unique to chatbots, but are simply amplified under the nascent technology. Many people bring past AI-related baggage to the table – Hollywood fears of robots taking over the world or super-smart machines with a vendetta. To find common ground with consumers, brands must first fight against chatbots’ reputation and then they can begin to tackle the hurdles mentioned above.

What Does All of This Mean?

Together, the common factors holding people back from using chatbots more often point to a similar conclusion – people won’t work with a chatbot that’s hard to use.

Fear of friction stops today’s consumers from embracing new technologies, chatbots included. Whether they’re stressed about security or unsure if they’re getting the right answer, people actively avoid bringing more roadblocks into their relationships with brands. They simply don’t feel that the rewards of working with chatbots outweigh the time and energy required.

Not yet, at least.

What many people don’t realize is that they’re already interacting with chatbots in productive and easy ways every single day. It’s up to brands to help people bridge this awareness gap and to demonstrate that working with chatbots is a painless experience when correctly engineered.

In a future blog post, we’ll walk through top guarantees brands must provide before consumers will work with chatbots, as well as tips on how to see those promises through. Can’t wait? Download the full 2018 Artificial Intelligence and Chatbot Report now to learn more.


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