Consumers prefer bots to humans

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Consumers increasingly prefer to interact with bots rather than humans, especially when it comes to researching products, learning about new services or making customer service queries.

A new study from the Capgemini Research Institute finds almost 70 percent saying they will progressively replace visits to a store or bank with their voice assistant within three years’ time.

The study surveyed over 12,000 consumers and 1,000 business executives and finds a rapid rate of change, 40 percent of those now using voice assistants have only started doing so in the last year. And they're using those assistants for a range of purposes much more. Comparing 2017 to 2019, buying products like groceries or home care is up from 35 percent to 53 percent, customer service interactions post purchase up from 37 percent to 52 percent) and making payments for products or services up from 28 percent to 48 percent.

Businesses are gaining from the use of conversational assistants too. Over three-quarters of businesses (76 percent) say they have realized quantifiable benefits from voice or chat assistant initiatives, and 88 percent say that those benefits had met or exceeded their expectations. Benefits included a more than 20 percent reduction in customer service cost, and a more than 20 percent increase of consumers using digital assistants.

"This research establishes that conversational assistants are the future of customer experience, valued by consumers for their convenience and by companies for the operational efficiencies they create. Compared to our study released in early 2018, a much higher proportion of consumers now expect voice assistants to be their first choice within the next three years. In the meantime, the needs of customers are evolving as they progressively use the technology," says Mark Taylor, head of customer engagement at Capgemini Invent. "Privacy and security also remain paramount. Since our last research, it seems there has been little change in consumer concerns about how voice assistants affect privacy and data security. Companies must do more to address these concerns as conversational commerce increasingly moves into the mainstream."

You can find out more including tips on how businesses can make the most of this trend on the Capgemini site.

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