What Do Your Customers Actually Think About Chatbots? [Research Study] (2022)

Chatbots

What Do Your Customers Actually Think About Chatbots? [Research Study] (2)

July 12, 2021


Leah

Chatbots today are what mobile apps were in 2012. Every business wants one. But what do consumers actually think of them?

That’s what we were wondering here at Userlike . We found studies on chatbot perceptions, but we weren’t convinced of their reliability. Most were published by companies with a clear interest in proving the benefit of chatbots, like chatbot building platforms.

What Do Your Customers Actually Think About Chatbots? [Research Study] (3)

At Userlike, we provide live chat software for human support teams, and we offer a Logic Bot and chatbot API for our customers to connect their bot to. But bots aren’t our main shebang.

In a sense we’re Switzerland; neutral, but curious about the fuss surrounding chatbots since we now offer our own automation options.

Our goal was to learn if respondents had used a chatbot before, how they felt about the experience, and the pros and cons of chatbot use. We also dug deeper to find out how the consumer views a company that employs a chatbot and in which situations a chatbot is helpful.

Some answers were expected, but others were just plain surprising. We’re excited to share our findings with you.

Continue reading for the full results.

  1. Results
  2. Our methodology
  3. Demographics
  4. Get started with chatbots

1

80% of respondents have interacted with a chatbot before

Out of 415 respondents, 333 answered “yes” when asked if they had ever chatted with a chatbot before.

This answer is unsurprising considering chatbot use across websites and devices has risen in popularity since 2016.

(Video) Intelligent chatbots | Sophie Hundertmark | TEDxHochschuleLuzern

What Do Your Customers Actually Think About Chatbots? [Research Study] (4)

About 75% of respondents who have never chatted with a chatbot are over the age of 45.

What Do Your Customers Actually Think About Chatbots? [Research Study] (5)

This also didn’t come as a great surprise since other studies have shown that younger generations are more open to using new technology. Chances are high that Generation Z and millennials are willing and likely to try out your chatbot.

2

Most respondents prefer waiting for an agent, but are open to chatting with a chatbot first

At least 60% of respondents answered that they would prefer to wait in a queue if it meant they could immediately speak with a human agent.

What Do Your Customers Actually Think About Chatbots? [Research Study] (6)

However, if given the option, more than half of respondents also said that they would be willing to talk to a chatbot initially in order to be transferred to an agent. If you connect your chatbot to our live chat solution, then bot-to-human handovers are possible at any time.

What Do Your Customers Actually Think About Chatbots? [Research Study] (7)

We also asked respondents to rate the most important things companies get right when using chatbots, and 77% chose being given the option to escalate to a human agent as a top answer. At least 61% of respondents also said that they’d personally use a chatbot to find a human agent.

Our theory, based on years of research for our chatbot posts , is that people are used to phone trees that can help with basic account management and expect a chatbot to have those same limitations. Many of today’s chatbots are button-based, which already scream “I’m limited in how I can help you.”

Button-based chatbots are ideal for answering frequently asked questions, but it makes sense to have a fallback option like Userlike . It also helps to take extra care in your chatbot design and funnels so that difficult questions and requests are appropriately forwarded.

3

Respondents like how quickly chatbots respond

When asked to choose the most positive aspects of chatting with a chatbot, 68% of respondents liked that a chatbot answered them quickly.

What Do Your Customers Actually Think About Chatbots? [Research Study] (8)

Respondents also appreciate that chatbots can help outside of service hours and forward messages to an agent. Honestly, isn’t that why chatbots exist in business anyway? They work 24/7, help capture hot leads and take the burden of answering FAQs and performing simple tasks off of your agents. Not to mention they can be incredibly inexpensive .

(Video) AMA: Ask An Academic - Understanding the User Experience of Customer Service Chatbots | Botmock

4

Chatbots are fast and convenient, but have their limits

Respondents like that chatbots are immediately available and respond quickly, but most people said that chatbots had too much trouble understanding their request or didn’t know how to resolve their issue.

What Do Your Customers Actually Think About Chatbots? [Research Study] (9)

Expecting customers to follow your ideal conversational flow is one of five common chatbot fails . It can result in conversational dead ends or confuse the chatbot, especially if customers are unclear or explain their issue in a way that is too detailed for the chatbot to understand.

According to one of the respondents: “I've experienced very broken chatbots. There should be adequate testing for the bot before it’s used to help people who are already having difficulties and end up dealing with a chatbot that only makes matters worse.”

Again, we don’t know what types of bots respondents have used. But people are likely to run into communication issues since most chatbots use narrow AI and don’t understand nuance.

One respondent even said: “IT departments have a long way to go before they develop a chatbot that can capably handle the nuances of language and complex questions, which are challenging even for a human service person.”

You won’t be able to cover every question or topic deviation because people can be unpredictable. This is why it’s important to connect your chatbot to live chat so customers can easily request an agent when things go south.

5

Respondents trust chatbots with basic requests

Respondents are willing to chat with a bot for simple inquiries (product specifications, order status, shipping policies). However, this begs the question: How much do people trust chatbots?

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At least 54% of respondents would use a chatbot to ask about a product and 30% would use it to pay a bill. Only 23% of respondents are willing to settle disputes through bots.

What Do Your Customers Actually Think About Chatbots? [Research Study] (11)

One respondent said: “I think they’re great if they can successfully help you solve your problem. They are helpful for processing returns.”

Customer service agents answer a lot of repeat questions, which can be easily outsourced to a chatbot. According to the results, if a request is simple or not urgent, customers don’t mind asking a chatbot.

Perhaps if most chatbot’s AI were at the same level of the ten best chatbots of 2021 , then people would trust chatbots even more with their requests.

6

Chatbots should never pretend to be human

More than half of our respondents (54%) want chatbots to make it clear that they’re a bot, which is completely fair. Bots should avoid entering the uncanny valley; it’s deceptive and downright creepy.

What Do Your Customers Actually Think About Chatbots? [Research Study] (12)

A creative name, image and text help make it clear that a customer is speaking with a bot

Chatbots aren’t a replacement for human agents, and like we mentioned above, use too narrow of AI to be convincing. You risk losing your customers’ trust if you try to slap a stock image on a bot and name it Mike. You’re just one conversation error away from making your business look like a big fat scam.

7

Few respondents think a company shouldn’t use a chatbot

Only 9% of respondents answered that a company shouldn’t use a chatbot.

What Do Your Customers Actually Think About Chatbots? [Research Study] (13)

Also, on a scale of 1-5, most respondents selected one or three when asked if they consider chatbots innovative. This could suggest that consumers accept chatbots as the new norm that do have value and are welcome to stay. Or perhaps consumers are curious to see how AI develops over the next few years.

(Video) Designing Chatbots that Meet the Unique Needs of Consumers | Presentation by Dr Alireza Nili

Our methodology

Our results come from a mixture of questionnaires we created on online survey platforms like Amazon’s Mechanical Turk and SurveyMonkey . A total of 415 people completed the survey.

Respondents were paid for their time but we represented ourselves neutrally and without incentive for people to answer in any specific way.

Demographics

The survey was 10 questions long and devoid of any confusing technical jargon to make it appropriate for everyone. We learned that most respondents identify as female and are between the ages of 30-44.

What Do Your Customers Actually Think About Chatbots? [Research Study] (14)

What Do Your Customers Actually Think About Chatbots? [Research Study] (15)

Not many people 60 years and older responded to the survey, which is unsurprising since only 11% of users on MTurk are above 50. It’s primarily used by people in their 30s and 40s. It’s perhaps the same for SurveyMonkey.

People aged 55+ are also less likely to use software like live chat , which may mirror chatbot usage. Older demographics tend to prefer phone calls since it’s familiar and has a more personal touch.

Get started with chatbots

Though consumers say they prefer waiting to speak with an agent, chatbots can still help reduce service costs by 30% . Their fast response times and ability to resolve simple requests are still distinct benefits that work. Chatbots can’t replace human agents , but they certainly do take a load off of them.

That’s why we used these insights to help develop our own chatbot capabilities here at Userlike. With our Logic Bot , we make it easier for businesses to use automation to create a human connection with customers.

As a customer messaging company, we understand the value of having agents as the first contact for customers. But we also see the value in using chatbots as assistants or as part of your sales funnel .

That’s why our chatbot lives in the Website Messenger and can be set up to proactively approach and navigate customers.

What Do Your Customers Actually Think About Chatbots? [Research Study] (16)

BMW uses their Userlike chatbot as the first point of contact

(Video) Do #Customers Hate AI-Based Chatbots? | Artificial Intelligence Vs. Human Intelligence | #Clients

With our chatbot API , you can also connect your advanced chatbot, like IBM Watson or Cognigy . Then you can offer chatbot support that consumers currently value most — instant help when they need it.

Sign up for a free trial of Userlike and reach out to us in the chat on our website if you want to talk bots. For more chatbot help and resources, check out our guide to chatbots in business .

FAQs

How do customers feel about chatbots? ›

Consumers & Chatbots: Actions Speak Louder than Words

Another study from Worldpay found that 15% of US consumers have made a purchase through a chatbot, and 81% of those who've made a purchase say they'd do it again. A third study by Uberall found that 80% of consumers report positive experiences with chatbots.

What do customers want from chatbots? ›

One of the things that customers prefer chatbots is that they provide instant responses and quick answers. There's no queue to wait for assistance and no lengthy articles crammed with illustrations that a customer has to wade through to find an answer.

Why do customers like chatbots? ›

Not replace humans. Another reason why customers like the idea of a chatbot is because they're able to personalize the customer experience with a business. Based on recent interactions, chatbots can collect customer data and respond with a message or a solution that would directly suit your needs or preferences.

Do people prefer chatbots? ›

As mentioned before only 0,5% of people actually prefer chatbots over live chats. The majority would like their chat partner to be a real human being. The survey also show that over +50% of all the respondents have had bad experiences with chatbots.

Do chatbots increase customer satisfaction? ›

There are many best practices support teams can utilize, but one of the most impactful options is to implement a customer service chatbot. Chatbots reduce operating costs, boost support team efficiency, and of course, lead to improvements in customer satisfaction.

What do people expect from chatbots? ›

Nearly 70% of consumers prefer chatbots over applications when they want quick answers to simple questions. Roughly 30% of consumers feel that chatbots can help answer complex questions, offer ease of communication, help consumers register a complaint and provide good customer service.

Do customers trust chatbots? ›

Users' trust in chatbots for customer service was found to be affected (a) by factors con-cerning the specific chatbot, specifically the quality of its interpretation of requests and advise, its human-likeness, its self-presentation, and its profes-sional appearance, but also (b) by factors concerning the service ...

Do consumers trust chatbots? ›

A new study finds people will still trust a “chatbot” to handle their call — as long as they perceive some “humanness” in the conversation.

How effective are chatbots? ›

Used as a targeted tool, chatbots can increase engagement up to 90% and sales by 67%. In 2020, 57% of businesses said conversational bots deliver substantial ROI for minimal effort.

What is the conclusion of chatbot? ›

Conclusion. From my perspective, chatbots or smart assistants with artificial intelligence are dramatically changing businesses. There is a wide range of chatbot building platforms that are available for various enterprises, such as e-commerce, retail, banking, leisure, travel, healthcare, and so on.

Why chatbots are the future? ›

Technologies like Chatbots have opened doors to faster Customer Service Solutions. The future of chatbots can be useful in many aspects of the Customer Experience. It provides customer service, presents product recommendations, and engages customers through targeted marketing campaigns.

How do consumers feel generally about AI How do you know this and why do you think that is? ›

Despite these fears, a majority of respondents either felt positive or neutral about the pace at which AI is rolling out. 38% said they feel comfortable with how quickly AI is being incorporated into their lives, while a further 26% say they feel neutral because they haven't noticed one way or the other.

How do consumers feel generally about AI? ›

Consumers' perceptions of AI were generally approving, with 43% viewing the technology as a powerful, positive innovation, despite some lingering hesitations. Specifically, when asked about the perceptions of AI in the workplace, 15% of respondents view AI as a potential threat to jobs.

What are the advantages of chatbots? ›

One of the greatest advantages is that Chatbots are available 24/7 to help customers. Plus, they respond quickly to every question they receive. This guarantees your customers will always be able to solve their problems, no matter what time of day.

Why is a chatbot important? ›

Chatbots can improve lead generation, qualification and nurturing. Chatbots can ask questions throughout the buyer's journey and provide information that may persuade the user and create a lead. Chatbots can then provide potential customer information to the sales team, who can engage with the leads.

Are customers lying to your chatbot? ›

Research finds that people are more than twice as likely to lie when interacting with a digital system than when talking to a human. Imagine you just placed an online order from Amazon.

Should HubSpot replace its human chat representatives with chatbots Why or why not? ›

Ans)HubSpot should not replace its human chat representatives with chatbots completely aschatbots back in 2017 were not human enough to handle customer interaction from start tofinish.

What are the pros and cons of chatbots? ›

What are the Pros and Cons of Chatbots?
  • Quick Customer Service. Chatbots aid in providing faster customer service. ...
  • Customer Satisfaction. ...
  • Reduced Labour Costs. ...
  • Multipurpose. ...
  • Limited Responses. ...
  • Frustration. ...
  • Complex Chatbots are Expensive. ...
  • Chatbots are not fruitful for all Businesses.

How chatbots could be shaping the future of you and your business? ›

Chatbots will manage 85% of customer interactions by 2021; they can cut operational costs up to 30%. By 2021, 50% of businesses plan to spend more on chatbots than on mobile apps. By 2020, bank systems will automate up to 90% of customer interactions using chatbots.

Why is chatbot important in business? ›

Chatbots are way more than simple conversational agents. They can be connected to various APIs which will for example enable them to deal with a wider range of customers' requests. They can also automate repetitive and tedious tasks like emailing prospects and customers, answering FAQs and many more.

How do you build trust with chatbot? ›

In this article, we share four important tips you can use to cultivate trust among your users and customers, so they are comfortable using your chatbot.
...
Introduce the chatbot by stating clearly what it can do
  1. Explore the menu.
  2. Make a reservation.
  3. Track your order.
  4. See opening/closing hours.
  5. Contact customer support.
Jun 2, 2020

Do people like Ai customer service? ›

Experts suggest AI-powered chat services offer quicker turnaround for consumers, easy answers to more complex questions, and can even offer recommendations. According to our survey of 1,000 U.S. adults, only 1 in 5 respondents preferred electronic systems to human interaction.

Why may a user prefer using a chatbot than a conventional mobile app? ›

Chatbots are great because they can be efficiently used for different tasks like booking tickets, assigning tasks, or scheduling events. The other reason why chatbots are great is in the fact that they improve application management within enterprises.

Do customers trust chatbots? ›

Users' trust in chatbots for customer service was found to be affected (a) by factors con-cerning the specific chatbot, specifically the quality of its interpretation of requests and advise, its human-likeness, its self-presentation, and its profes-sional appearance, but also (b) by factors concerning the service ...

Do consumers trust chatbots? ›

A new study finds people will still trust a “chatbot” to handle their call — as long as they perceive some “humanness” in the conversation.

Why may a user prefer using a chatbot than a conventional mobile app? ›

Chatbots are great because they can be efficiently used for different tasks like booking tickets, assigning tasks, or scheduling events. The other reason why chatbots are great is in the fact that they improve application management within enterprises.

Videos

1. What is a Chatbot?
(IBM Technology)
2. How AI Chatbots Can Transform the Customer Experience?
(ForwardLeading)
3. All About Chatbots
(#HigherEdSocial)
4. Crafting questions for user research studies
(PlaybookUX)
5. How And Why ChatBots Improve Customers Service
(Have A Chat-Bot Agency)
6. The Top 7 Chatbot Use Cases for Learning
(Mobile Coach)

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