A Little Empathy Goes a Long Way
Chatbots have come a long way. Usage of this technology, which once handled only a small portion of customer interactions, is growing at a rate of 22.5% per year. And, while bots could only manage 20% of customer chats from start to finish in 2017, they were completely handling nearly 70% of calls in 2019.
Even more important, though, is the fact that customer experience with chatbots has improved dramatically. Satisfaction rates for bot-only chats sit at 87.5%, which is actually two points higher than ones that include human agents.
These are rapid strides, and it’s important to highlight what this technology is doing to improve CX and benefit businesses. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t still issues to overcome. Despite the progress, many consumers are still resistant to interacting with chatbots, and it’s worth exploring the reasons why.
Our friends at Botium, which recently brought its industry-leading chatbot expertise into the Cyara family, conducted a survey to determine how many consumers still resist chatbot experiences and uncover the pain points that hold them back. Let’s take a closer look at what they found.
The Purpose of Chatbots
First, though, let’s make sure we’re on the same page about what chatbots are, how they work, and what they mean for businesses.
Chatbots use conversational artificial intelligence (AI) to simulate natural conversations with customers through messaging apps and websites. They’re designed to closely mimic real human conversation by responding naturally to customer interactions to solve their issues or direct them to the right human customer service representative.
The use of these bots has skyrocketed in recent years. Since 2019, they’ve grown 92% as a brand communication channel. Sixty-seven percent of consumers across the globe have interacted with chatbots in the past year. Businesses use them for everything from customer service to sales and marketing, and customers appreciate many aspects of the technology, including 24/7 support and quick responsiveness to simple questions.
In the retail, e-commerce, healthcare, and banking sectors, brands are expected to save $8 billion in customer support costs in 2022, according to data from Juniper Research. That’s a big number, and it illustrates why companies are investing heavily in chatbot technology.
How Customers Really Feel About Chatbots
Despite their ubiquity and benefits, chatbots still irk a significant segment of consumers. Botium’s research showed that 28% of them flat out refuse to interact with chatbots in any circumstances. And this wasn’t limited to older consumers — many of those who reported a strong chatbot aversion were in their 20s.
Their reasons for resistance ran the gamut, but they were clearly based on poor experiences or lingering concerns about the technology.
As you can see, complexity presents the biggest barrier to a wider acceptance of chatbots among consumers. There’s still a sense, either based on experience or just a hunch, that chatbots can’t quite handle the nuances of human interaction the way that … well, a human can.
Some have found it time-consuming, irritating, unnatural or just confusing. Others wonder about their data security. Whatever their reasons, Botium’s survey showed that these consumers still turn to options like Google searches, brand websites, FAQs, and even email to avoid interacting with chatbots.
The 5 Most Frustrating Chatbot Experiences
When it comes to customer service, a little empathy goes a long way. Beyond simply considering the above data, it’s helpful for companies to put themselves in the customer’s shoes. We can all relate to the exasperation of a bad chatbot interaction. Consider the top five types of frustrating experiences highlighted in Botium’s survey.
- The dead-end bot: The most frustrating experience for customers is the feeling that they’re trapped in an endless time loop of bot interaction. When they want to talk to a human, there’s no way out.
- The harasser bot: This is the chatbot that never leaves you alone. Wherever you go on the website, it’s there, popping up with that irritating “Ding!” This is a sure way to get a customer to bounce from a website fast.
- The useless bot: Nobody likes to repeat themselves, especially when it’s a complex issue that they’re already frustrated about. If they have to re-explain the entire situation to a human, customers are left wondering why they had to talk to a bot in the first place.
- The restrictive bot: These button-based chatbots offer limited options and typically can’t cover every possible customer issue. Most customers will immediately look for the “talk to an agent” option and dispatch the bot as quickly as possible.
- The stupid bot: This goes back to the complexity issue mentioned above. It only takes a few “I’m sorry, I don’t understand the question” responses to bring a customer’s frustration level to a fever pitch.
Any (or all) of these sound familiar? Those are the types of pain points your chatbot solution needs to address if it’s going to win over your more resistant customers. Solving those problems will also improve your CX for everyone so you can make the most of chatbot technology.
The Solution: Invest in Chatbot Quality Assurance
So, what can you do to address these issues in an existing or future chatbot solution? As with any other technology, it comes down to investing enough resources into it. Chatbot technology can’t be an afterthought that you try to tack onto other IVR solutions. This will be a major component of brand-customer interactions going forward, so it’s critical to invest in high-quality CX in this area just as you would in any other area of CX within your business.
Start by recognizing the problems customers still have with chatbots. When you begin from a place of empathy, you can find a solution that truly addresses the pain points people are experiencing. If you know how irritating a bad chatbot interaction can be, you won’t be satisfied with anything that puts your customer through those kinds of conversations.
Cyara brought Botium into the fold because it represents the best of the best in automated chatbot assurance. If you’ve been thinking about expanding or improving your chatbot CX, we can help you get started. Watch the on-demand replay of our webinar, The Value of Automated Chatbot Testing where we dive in further on why chatbots fail, why you should be testing to mitigate these pain points, and how you can then test most effectively.