Your B2B product might be the best one on the market, but that’s not enough to ensure success these days. Comms pros know how important the buyer experience is, and new research from AI automation solutions firm Conversica found that while the majority of B2B buyers use chatbots when considering a business purchase (60 percent), the chat experience does not meet their expectations.
With a third of business buyers identifying their chat experience as having a major impact on their evaluation of a vendor, companies are losing out on revenue, finds that firm’s new report, Chatbot Experience: How Satisfied Are Enterprise Buyers?
Moreover, many B2B buyers are turning away from traditional chatbots due to their simplistic capabilities that are limited to very early stages of interaction, according to the survey findings. As a result, buyers considering a business purchase are disappointed enough in most chatbot experiences to abandon conversations in favor of human representatives or, worse, move on to a competitor, leading to negative brand associations, increased workload, and lost revenue.
“Conversica’s survey illustrates the need for more advanced automated conversation experiences that go well beyond the scripted workflows of traditional mass-market chatbots,” said Jim Kaskade, Conversica CEO, in a news release. “When B2B decision makers evaluate vendors leveraging their chatbot solutions, those companies must deliver powerful, human exchanges, so no revenue opportunity is lost at any point in the customer journey.”
40 percent of buyers have given up on traditional chatbots
Study results showed that business purchasers find the chatbots they encounter while considering vendors to be largely unhelpful, with utility being limited to very early purchase stages.
- The largest group of business purchasers surveyed (40 percent) said they choose not to interact with chatbots at all.
- Of those who do choose to interact, the largest group does it early in the research phase.
“Further illustrating the point, only 11 percent said they have interacted with chatbots through all phases of the purchasing cycle,” said Kaskade. “Traditional chatbots aren’t generating revenue, but rather, at best, are focused on simply capturing the lead’s contact information and handing it off to a human for follow-up at a future time. [These] chatbots struggle to address your customer’s needs even in the early stages of engaging with your brand, let alone at more advanced stages.”
81 percent of people abandon chatbot conversations, leading to revenue loss
When chatbots can’t answer prospect customer questions, people tend to simply give up on the conversation.
- 50 percent will either try to connect with a human or fill out a contact form for follow-up from a rep.
- 18 percent try to find the information on their own.
- 1 in 10 will give up on the vendor entirely and move on to a competitor.
- Only 12 percent bother to reword the question, and 7 percent say they’ll try again later.
With the vast majority of buyers leaving a botched conversation and 10 percent moving directly on to the next vendor on their list, poor chatbot experiences are actively contributing to revenue loss.
4 in 5 buyers will end a conversation if chatbot doesn’t speak to their unique needs
Results suggest that when people are ready to engage a chatbot, the largest group (38 percent) are looking for answers to a specific question, while 18.33 percent seek ‘guidance to the right solution,’ similar to the experience they expect from a sales assistant in a brick-and-mortar store.
One in five (20 percent) said they use chatbots as a means to simply connect with a human rep. But while chat-to-live agent solutions are a common solution, scalability remains an issue. So why are so many buyers in a hurry to get past chatbots and talk to a person?
- 79 percent of respondents would end a chatbot conversation over answers that don’t speak to their unique needs, including irrelevant responses (51 percent) and lack of personalization or specificity to their situation (28 percent).
- Rigid options for questions (15 percent) rounded out the top 3 reasons to abandon a conversation.
This suggests businesses should ensure their conversation solution is positioned to guide buyers through their customer journey and quickly deliver accurate information to reduce the need for live human interactions.
76 percent of buyers want better info from a shorter exchange
“It is clear from the survey that business buyers want smarter chatbots that provide more accurate and relevant information, and can do so quickly with less interaction,” said Kaskade.
When it comes to the total number of interactions respondents considered ‘ideal’, respondents clearly leaned toward fewer messages.
- 3x as many respondents selected either 1, 2 or 3 interactions (75.69 percent of respondents), vs. those who selected 4 or more (only 24.3 percent).
- ‘Accurate responses’ was rated the most influential aspect of the chatbot experience on vendor evaluation (4.25 on a scale of 1 to 6, with 6 being ‘high impact on decision’).
- Nearly equally important was ‘relevancy’ (3.87) and ‘immediate responses’ (3.81).
While website chatbots are meant to help enterprises capitalize on interested site visitors in an engaging and scalable way, the bottom line may be impacted if the experience is less than ideal. “[The] survey demonstrates the need for more sophisticated automated conversation experiences that go well beyond the scripted workflows of traditional chatbots,” said Kaskade. “When one-third of B2B buyers heavily weigh their chatbot experiences as part of their vendor evaluation processes, companies that don’t meet their needs will absolutely lose revenue opportunities.”
The survey was conducted online by a third-party on behalf of Conversica using a random sample of B2B buyers within the United States in December 2022.