Chatbot Adoption on the Rise

January 12, 2018

Along with personalized insights and automated processes, the rise in artificial intelligence (AI), has also brought a disconnect with it. A study has found that many consumers have already had a taste of AI, but there is still a gap when it comes to understanding and accepting its applications, such as chatbots. However, regardless of the understanding, the report revealed that when AI is present, 49 percent of consumers are willing to shop more frequently and 34 percent will spend more money.

Released today, the "Finding Common Ground Between Consumers and Artificial Intelligence" report surveyed 1,000 U.S. consumers to investigate the current state of consumer understanding and comfort with AI adoption, specifically chatbots. It also uncovers what's standing in the way of consumer acceptance as companies make increasing investments in deep learning technology. The survey found that while 90 percent of consumers feel that companies are prepared to best use chatbots, over half (54 percent) say they would still rather to talk to a customer service representative.

"Services like recommendations from Amazon and Facebook Ads, have done a good job of warming people up to the idea of AI in their everyday lives – normalizing it through seamless digital experiences that ultimately take place beneath the surface without the user realizing it," says Barry Pellas, Chief Technology Officer at PointSource, a Globant company, and Vice President of Technology, for the AI Studio. "However, this has also created a gap in how consumers understand the technology. Businesses are investing millions of dollars in AI and chatbot technology with the goal of improving the customer experience. But all that effort is useless if the consumer doesn't understand it. When engaging with our clients, we make sure to incorporate our clients throughout the entire digital development process, from discovery to implementation so that we can get information about end-users from those who know them best. As chatbots continue to be incorporated into digital experiences, businesses can serve as a bridge between consumers and a better understanding of chatbots so that those AI investments are valuable to the end user and business."

Factors holding consumers back from using chatbots

Consumers have a selective memory when it comes to AI experience, choosing to remember the bad experiences more vehemently than good ones. In fact, just 16 percent of people say they're extremely satisfied with their previous chatbot experiences.

Privacy/security, speed and friction tend to be top concerns that prevent consumers from moving forward with chatbot devices:

•Forty-one percent of consumers are concerned with data security and privacy. This number drastically spikes when highly sensitive information is involved.

•If a customer is on hold with a customer service representative, 34 percent of customers want to switch to a chatbot after five minutes have passed. However, 59 percent get frustrated if a chatbot doesn't resolve their inquiry in that same time frame.

•Fifty-one percent of consumers are concerned that chatbots won't understand what they're looking for, and 44 percent are unsure about the accuracy of the information provided by the chatbot.

Assurances consumers need for chatbot adoption

Despite the concerns consumers have with chatbots, given certain guarantees, consumers would be more comfortable using the technology. For instance, 39 percent of consumers say a clearer understanding of how businesses use their information would make them more comfortable using chatbots. In addition to transparency in the information gathering process, consumer want the information that they do give to be advantageous. The report revealed that another 39 percent would be more comfortable using chatbots if there are guarantees of accurate and up-to-date information.

When the thought of chatbots arises, many people assume that it means the end of human involvement. However, the report revealed that humans still play a very important role in the success of chatbots. Half (49 percent) of consumers would feel better about using a chatbot if they had the assurance that they could escalate their interactions to humans if necessary. This is especially true when it comes to dealing with more sensitive information. For example, 80 percent of consumers would prefer to speak to a human when they're providing or receiving medical information from their healthcare providers.

“Technology adoption has long been driven by consumer expectations,” adds Stephanie Trunzo, COO & Chief Digital Officer at PointSource, a Globant Company. “Rather than building budgets and roadmaps based on internal business drivers, companies should look outside-in at their users to inform their investment priorities. AI investment is subject to all of the same rules of investment as every other business decision; investigating chatbots is no different. Every new channel of interaction you open with your users must provide fast value. Moving too fast to serve too many use cases at once likely will lead to a frustrating chatbot experience, where the user will not return. Beginning with a small, informed scope will enable any business to build controllable and immediate value to the user and start a relationship of trust with the new channel of interaction.”

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