With all the talk of robots taking over, it is comforting to see more research that shows that the human touch is as important as ever.
While companies are rightly piling into technology such as AI, machine learning, and virtual assistants to improve efficiency and CX, a recent report has found that the human element cannot be ignored.
Voice of the Customer company Usabilla recently surveyed 1,000 customers to understand how brands are striking the balance between humans and robots and to see what customers want going forward.
A little less (robot) conversation, a little more (human) action
Two-thirds of respondents said that they feel companies have already eliminated as much human interaction as necessary, suggesting that we may have already reached the point at which automation has gone far enough.
In addition, over half (55%) of all respondents said that they always prefer to interact with humans when engaging with brands. Supporting this finding, almost three-quarters (73%) of respondents said that they often press zero to skip the phone-tree options and reach a human right away.
As a result, Usabilla said that brands may need to focus on creating more opportunities for consumers to engage with real human beings.
“That might entail more customer service representatives, better training for representatives or more options for customers to interact with real people along the customer journey,” Usabilla said.
All the small things
The survey found that almost three quarters (70%) of respondents have already used chatbots and that the majority of them (52%) have positive feelings regarding AI. Less than 1% were “creeped out” by the idea of chatbots, further supporting the idea that chatbots are gaining acceptance in society.
So what do people want to use robots for? According to the study, over a third (36%) of consumers prefer to use a chatbot over a human when they have a simple request, question or issue that doesn’t require human intervention.
Below you can see the top tasks customers expect to do without humans across several verticals:
Source: Usabilla: In the Age of Automation, Customers Want More Human, Less Machine
Human reps must lift their game
If the machines are taking care of simpler, lower-order tasks, it stands to reason that human agents must be better prepared to deal with the more complex tasks.
Usabilla’s survey revealed that while many customers are happy to be handed over to a human rep, they expect excellent service when it happens. When asked in which areas brands could improve, 40% of respondents said they wanted better training for customer reps.
As CX expectations rise, the price brands pay for messing things up rises as well. Usabilla found that 82% of customers would be less likely to recommend a brand to others based on just one poor experience.
82% of customers would be less likely to recommend a brand to others based on just one poor experience
The balancing act
Last month, market Intelligence and advisory firm Mordor Intelligence published a report projecting the global chatbot market to reach $7.59bn by 2024, up from $1.27bn in 2018.
It is inevitable that chatbots will continue to become more ubiquitous and improve in leaps and bounds in the coming years. The challenge for organisations will be to figure out how to properly integrate AI and find the right balance between human and machine.
Fifth Quadrant recently partnered with LogMeIn Inc, to find out more about that balance, surveying over 1,500 Australian consumers regarding their attitudes and experiences with chatbots.
Similarly to Usabilla, Fifth Quadrant found that there are clear points in the customer journey in which human interactions are strongly preferred to chatbots.
Going forward, the study proposes a customer journey that begins with chatbots delivering instant replies and gathering preliminary information before handing over to a human who is able to deal with complexities, and build rapport. Finally, the chatbot can return to requesting and logging feedback.
Thanks to Hollywood and some alarmist media reporting, it is easy to believe that robots will soon take all of our jobs and overthrow us. Thankfully, the reality is not that exciting. We are building machines that will work alongside us and do many of the things we don’t or shouldn’t want to do.
Will jobs be lost along the way? Absolutely. But work will evolve and people will adapt. While it isn’t as simple as having coal miners "learn to code”, there will be a way forward and the human element will a remain important component of CX for the foreseeable future.
Find out more
The full Fifth Quadrant Research study is now available for download.
This research was sponsored by Bold360 by LogMeIn Inc. (NASDAQ:LOGM), a company that simplifies how people connect with each other and the world around them to drive meaningful interactions, deepen relationships, and create better outcomes for individuals and businesses.
LogMeIn is one the world’s top 10 public SaaS companies and a market leader in unified communications and collaboration, identity and access, and customer engagement and support solutions. To learn more, please visit: Bold360 by LogMeIn.
To enquiry about upcoming customer experience thought leadership research projects and find out more about how to get involved and sponsor, contact Brad Arsenault at Fifth Quadrant today.
Usabilla, a SurveyMonkey company, empowers brands like Lufthansa, Philips, and Vodafone to become truly customer-centric by improving digital experiences on websites, apps, and emails. Enterprises acquire the ultimate solution to capture the voice of their customers, collect quantitative along with qualitative data, and turn insights into actions that drive success. With Usabilla, start asking Why.
To learn more about Usabilla and access the full report from this article, visit this link.