Over two-thirds (70%) of consumers think the use of bots programmed to respond like agents is acceptable in customer service, reveals a new report, “Customer engagement – the road to 2020“, commissioned by West’s Unified Communications Services. This shows that consumers are happy to move to digital from voice if it is convenient, quick and helpful.
Consumers are open to chatbots handling various enquiries, with nearly a fifth (19%) agreeing it is satisfactory in live chat, common enquiries (14%) and getting a complaint to the right agent (12%). This real-time communication enables brands to offer a service that works around the clock, reduces strains on resources, and increases first time response times, which in turn will help to drive more revenue.
This move to AI-powered tools is also supported by 79% of consumers who no longer see picking up the phone and talking to a person as the best way to get an instant answer from contact centres. Instead, contact centre managers should look to improve support for the 47% that want more options tailored towards mobile applications which offer the convenience and immediate communication method they have become accustomed to thanks to the likes of Uber.
“Gartner predicts that 25% of customer service operations will use virtual customer assistants by 2020, with organisations reporting a reduction of up to 70% in call, chat and/or email enquiries, and this holds true in our survey,” commented Enda Kenneally, VP Sales & Business Development UKI at West Unified Communications Services.
“Bots enable the convenient self-service method of interaction with brands that the modern consumer wants.”
Adopting chatbots also helps to meet consumers’ increasingly high expectations of brand responsiveness, as the majority of respondents want most enquiries to be dealt with within a maximum of three hours, giving the least leniency to calls, live chat and web forms. This is where a natively integrated best of breed cloud-based contact centre approach is required, where chatbots can answer some customer enquiries and the human workforce can focus on complex queries on the phone where customers are most impatient.
“Bots deliver on meeting consumers’ needs for informed, convenient, fast interactions, and give a personalised service without draining human resources,” continued Kenneally.
“As a result, organisations will achieve higher productivity through operational efficiencies, greater flexibility to scale, and offer an optimised customer experience with faster first time responses.”