UK consumers choose chatbots over human interaction – opportunities for mobile advertisers and brands

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Customer service is key to a successful business, and as consumer behaviour has shifted and become digitalised, nobody has the time or patience to talk to a business on the phone anymore. According to a study commissioned by Ubisend, which makes AI-driven chatbots, 69% of UK consumers would rather interact with a chatbot instead of a human to receive an instant answer.

Conducted by Morar Consulting, the study asked 2,000 UK consumers on their attitudes towards chatbots. Although 75% of respondents had not yet spoken to a chatbot, 57% are aware of them and over a third (35%) want to be able to use chatbots to solve their queries.

So what priorities do people have in wanting to solve their customer service queries. A majority of 68% say they want their customer service query to reach a desired outcome such as answering their question. Another 48% would like to ease the experience and 44% wish for faster speeds in solving queries.

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Among the top reasons why consumers would ask a chatbot over a human are instant answers (70%) and easier ways to connect with a company (21%). Another 19% don’t care about the human interaction, whilst 15% think it could be a fun experience.

Respondents are most inclined to use chatbots to answer questions about services such as opening hours (69%), followed by offers and deals (40%) as well as recommendations (22%). Interestingly, 21% would also purchase goods based on chatbot advice.

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When asked about how much those willing to make purchases via chatbots would spend, they chose an average £314.74. 26-36 year-olds are happy to spend even more and up to £481.15 via a chatbot.

For consumers, the chatbot offers a mostly positive experience with 43% of UK consumers perceiving such companies as innovative and 22% believing that they are more efficient than traditional customer service.

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However, it’s not all positive. Some UK customers had a negative experience with chatbots (21%), with 12% reporting that the bot did not respond with the right information and 9% said that it was difficult to use.

In addition, the study highlights the need for additional information with 40% of respondents not thinking of a chatbot when they consider engagement with customer service.

According to the Ubisend report, “consumer trust in chatbots will come when brands can deliver a good experience. In 2017, people don’t expect to have in-depth, human-like conversations with automated technology such as Alexa – they just want to be able to get the information they need, quickly.”

Ultimately, creative brands and retailers may want to include chatbots as part of their mobile advertising campaign to enhance the user experience by offering deals or providing other tips and tricks. Take Whole Foods as an example. The retailer recently launched a chatbot that recommends recipes based on user emojis. In addition, pizza maker Domino’s has rolled out a chatbot that takes orders via the Messenger app.

Those are just the beginnings of what may become more creative ways to reach and engage consumers in the digital age.