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Nearly four out of five customers in India prefer human chat agents to solve their problems for their smarter solutions than their chatbot counterparts, said a study by IT services company Amdocs & Forrester Consulting.
The study noted that 79% of the 1,000 odd customers in India and 7,000 users globally said they would prefer to speak to a human since human agents better understand their needs and can answer multiple questions. It was conducted amongst customers in India and other countries in Asia, the US, Europe and 30 artificial intelligence decision makers from telecom majors and pay-TV providers.
Customers complain that bots can't yet handle complex requests (their biggest problem), understand human emotions (second biggest problem) or deliver personalised offers as well as humans (third biggest problem).
"Consumers also have strong views on how they want bots to look like and behave. More than half (53%) prefer their bot to look like a human, as opposed to 19% who want to see an avatar and 16% who want to see an icon," said Amdocs-based on the study.
Interestingly, 43% of the respondents said they would prefer the bots to be female and polite, caring and intelligent.
At a time when banks, other financial institutions are increasingly adopting to AI and AI-led bots to improve their customer experience and involve human resources to focus on efficiency; this study brings to the fore a reality that bots replacing the complex work of human beings could be a distant journey across varied businesses.
Half of the people reached out to in the Amdocs and Forrester joint study claimed that even if they enjoy the speed at which queries are solved, they felt that they were forced to speak to a chatbot.
Jonathan Kaftzan, head of marketing, Amdocs Digital and Intelligence, however, is confident of the AI driven growth story.
"AI is much more than chatbots — it's about adding human like intelligence in decision making, and bringing more efficiency in whatever a human can do, which enables better product and services experiences for consumers. AI-enabled bots can emulate human conversations and transactions. So as the technology further evolves, we will see that chatbots will become smarter, human like-and will be able to deliver same, if not better, experience to customers," said Kaftzan.
In fact, service providers both in communication and media industry" are not investing in the right areas in terms of their AI investments" and "personalisation or more comprehensive information" are not their key priorities. "83% are prioritising AI investment in increasing speed of response and 50% in information security and privacy. What customers rank as top areas for improvement such as bots delivering better personalization or more comprehensive information are lower on service providers' priority lists," noted the study.
The AI decision makers of companies said that 85% of customer interactions would be with software robots in five years' time; while most of these decision makers (84%) fear "they are lagging behind their competitors in the use of AI to improve the customer experience".