Study: 40% of consumers are interested in branded chatbots
- Less than half (40%) of consumers report interest in chatbot experiences from brands, including 20% who said they're very interested in interacting with the artificial intelligence (AI) technology, according to a survey by location marketing firm Uberall shared with Mobile Marketer.
- More than three-fourths (80%) of people who have interacted with a chatbot said the experience was generally positive, with 14% saying the interaction was "very positive." Meanwhile, 16% said their experience was "somewhat negative" while just 4% reported a "very negative" interaction.
- As for chatbot accuracy, 36% of consumers said it needs to improve, and another 43% said the technology needs to improve its understanding of questions and requests. About one-third (30%) of consumers said they were somewhat uninterested in chatbots, while 29% indicated no interest at all in interacting with the technology, per Uberall.
Uberall's survey indicates a growing consumer interest in branded chatbot experiences, although the technology still needs to grow in sophistication to remove friction points and convince skeptics. "Many are wary, either because chatbot technology in the past was not advanced enough to ensure a good experience, or because consumers worry chatbots could easily become another spam channel," Florian Huebner, co-CEO of Uberall, said in a statement. He recommended that brands work on creating AI experiences that customers find personalized and helpful.
Chatbot accuracy is a significant concern for consumers, which means developers need to improve their AI and natural-language processing (NLP) technologies to provide more relevant answers to user queries. Uberall found that other areas cited for improvement included the ability of customers to get a human customer service representative involved where needed, the ability to hold a more natural human-like conversation and more opportunities to use the chatbots overall.
A range of brands have incorporated chatbots into their customer service mix, including flower delivery service 1-800-Flowers, Ray-Ban, Gap and Renault on popular platforms like Facebook Messenger, Bixby, Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
The growing popularity of smart speakers that rely on AI and NLP technologies to handle conversations is helping to familiarize millions of people with chatbots. At the same time, consumers are growing comfortable enough with chatbots that banks and other financial institutions are beginning to roll out chatbot tech.
Bank of America last year introduced its Erica digital assistant to handle verbal commands in the bank's mobile app, which has 25 million users. The chatbot gained 1 million users in the first three months of its rollout, per American Banker. The most popular voice requests are searches for transactions at popular merchants like Amazon, Target, Walmart, Costco and Uber, demonstrating that users increasingly trust chatbots to handle financial transactions.
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