Nearly 50% of UK internet users surveyed in May 2016 by my clever Agency say they would use a chatbot—a sort of virtual assistant—to obtain quick emergency answers if the option were available. About 4 in 10 also said they would use a chatbot to forward a question or request to an appropriate human.
While the leading activities may be simple and focused on resolving problems, 33% of those surveyed also said that if a chatbot were available, they would use it to buy basic items, like clothes and food.
But UK internet users still want a more personal experience when making expensive purchases—only 5% said they would use a chatbot to buy things like cars.
That the leading expected benefit of a chatbot is that one has access to 24-hour service—not exactly a surprise, and suggesting consumers are valuing chatbots for their obvious differences from humans. Nearly 70% named such access as an expected benefit, while about 65% also said one benefit would be getting quick answers to expected questions. And instant responses and convenience are also expected to benefit UK internet users.
However, it’s yet to be seen if chatbots will indeed be used by internet users. Internet users in the US overwhelmingly agreed that phone calls resolved customer service issues fastest, according to research from The Northridge Group (NRG) survey. About one-fifth (18%) said digital chat resolved issues fastest, so there is some space for chatbots. But it’s clear that for companies wanting to employ chatbots, they ought to focus on resolving basic issues, quickly and around the clock.