While most customers want to use chatbots for automated support—more than half believe a positive or negative chatbot experience is a reflection of the overall brand—many businesses are failing to deliver positive chatbot experiences, even as they increasingly rely on them as primary methods of online interactions, new research from CX assurance platform Cyara finds.
The firm’s new report, Customers Aren’t Mad, They’re Just Disappointed, based on a survey conducted in November 2022 by Forrester Consulting, explores sentiment among global consumers who have used sales and/or support chatbots in the last six months.
For most respondents, chatbots were the top way consumers typically interacted with brands in the last six months. Chatbots are particularly popular with UK consumers, with 72 percent of UK respondents having typically interacted with a brand via chatbot in the last 6 months. However, the global consumers surveyed gave their chatbot experiences an average rating of 6.4/10 or 64 percent. When specifically asked about their chatbot interactions, 50 percent of global customers said they often feel frustrated; nearly 40 percent of these interactions were said to be negative.
Customers want to use chatbots
Customers like chatbots as they provide 24/7 support, faster response times, and autonomy. Efficiency is key for UK consumers, with 77 percent stating the most important aspect of a chatbot interaction is getting their questions answered quickly. The customers that have used chatbots in the last six months rank them higher than speaking directly with an agent or any other digital avenue. However, customers are often met with friction while interacting with them.
Almost 75 percent of global customers agree that chatbots aren’t able to handle complex questions
Customers find chatbots are often unable to provide accurate answers, with more than half of customers agreeing it is difficult to find a solution to their question or problem using a chatbot. Almost half of respondents said that chatbots have provided them with responses and/or solutions that didn’t make sense in the context of their question. Customers also struggle to find alternate resolutions to their problems with more than half of them reporting that they are often unable to connect with an agent even after exhausting the chatbot’s responses.
Negative chatbot interactions lead to unfavorable business outcomes
The challenges of using chatbots push customers to seek out alternate and possibly more expensive ways of interacting with a brand. Thirty percent of global customers said after a negative chatbot experience, they are likely to take their purchase to a different brand, abandon their purchase altogether, or tell their friends and family about their poor experience with the brand. And the majority (73 percent) of UK consumers said they were likely to abandon their purchase after a negative chatbot experience.
Positive chatbot experiences bring value to customers and businesses
Following good chatbot experiences, 61 percent of global customers surveyed said they are more likely to return to a brand. While 56 percent of global respondents are more likely to seek out chatbots in the future after a positive experience with a chatbot, they are also far more likely to recommend that brand to others afterward.
“Delivering positive chatbot experiences has a critical impact on customer satisfaction and sales, and sub-par chatbots will not cut it for consumers today. Organizations that invest in quality assurance testing and training chatbots can provide customers with better and more consistent chatbot experiences,” said Dennis Reno, chief customer officer of Cyara, in a news release. “Businesses that strive to meet customers’ chatbot expectations can increase customer loyalty, boost brand reputation, and lower contact center support costs since customers are less likely to seek out more expensive avenues of communication. And of course, satisfied customers lead to increased sales, which has a positive impact on a company’s bottom line.”
This Forrester Opportunity Snapshot was commissioned by Cyara. To create this study, Forrester Consulting supplemented this research with custom survey questions asked of global consumers who have used sales and/or support chatbots in the last six months. The customer survey began and was completed in November 2022. Respondents were split across the U.S., U.K. (419 respondents), Ireland, Australia and New Zealand and consisted of Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials and Gen Z.