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Do People Really Find Chatbots Helpful?

Updated: May 23



It’s Friday night, you're browsing your favorite online store, trying to track down that pair of sneakers you've been eyeing for weeks. 


But wait, before you place an order, you've got a question about the delivery date, and it's 2 a.m, on a Friday! Normally, to get a response you’d have to wait till Monday morning to get an answer. Who knows if the shoes will be in stock till then?


No worries, though, because a little chat window pops up in the corner of the screen, manned (or rather, "bot-ed") by a helpful virtual assistant. You fire away your query, and within seconds, you've got your answer – no waiting on hold, no waiting until the weekend is over. 


It's just you and the chatbot, sorting out your shopping saga in the dead of night.


But does this scenario sound too good to be true, or do people actually find chatbots helpful? 


Stay tuned to find out!


What Are The Advantages of Chatbots?


Let's break down each advantage of chatbots:


24/7 Availability 


As mentioned in the scenario above, sometimes we end up needing help with something on a website or an app, and it’s late at night or early in the morning when businesses are usually closed, so we end up being stuck. 


Let’s be real, we’ve all been there.


Chatbots are great in these instances. They’re basically like customer service agents that never sleep. They're there to assist you anytime, day or night, so you don't have to wait for regular business hours to get the help you need.


Quick Response Times 


With each passing day, our patience wears thinner and thinner. We demand immediate answers. Well, chatbots are fast and reply in real time. We all know how frustrating it can be to wait for a reply when you're trying to get help. 


Chatbots attend to you right away, so you don't have to twiddle your thumbs waiting for someone to get back to you. No more waiting in queues for your turn.


Cost Efficiency


Businesses have to hire people to answer customer questions and solve problems. Chatbots help businesses save money because they don't need to hire as many humans to do the job. 


You’d be having a really helpful robot that works for free (after you set it up, that is).


Handling Simple Tasks 


Sometimes people just need basic info, like checking if their order has shipped or finding out store hours. Chatbots are great at handling these kinds of easy questions. 


They're who know all the FAQs by heart (cause they’re trained) and can give your customers the answers they need without any fuss.


Scalability


Think about a customer service hotline. If too many people call at once, you might get put on hold forever, right? Chatbots don't have that problem. 


They can communicate with a number of people all at the same time without slowing down or making mistakes.


Consistency


Have you ever gotten different answers to the same question from different customer service reps? It can be confusing and a hassle. 


Chatbots always give the same answer to the same question, so you know what to expect every time. 


What Are The Disadvantages of Chatbots?

While chatbots offer numerous advantages, they also have some limitations and potential drawbacks:


Lack of Emotional Intelligence 


Chatbots lack human emotions and empathy, which can be important in certain customer interactions, especially when dealing with sensitive or complex issues. 


Customers may feel frustrated or misunderstood if they are seeking emotional support or detailed assistance.


They're Only as Good as They've Been Taught 


Chatbots learn from the information they're given, just like students in a class. If they haven't been taught something, they won't know how to respond. 


This means they might give customers the wrong answer or not understand what they're asking.


Dependency on Language and Training Data 


The effectiveness of chatbots heavily relies on the quality of their training data and language processing capabilities. 

If not properly trained or updated, chatbots may misinterpret user queries and give you a weird answer, leaving you scratching your head.


Tech Hiccups Happen


Just like your phone or computer can glitch, so can chatbots. If they mess up or stop working, it can be frustrating, especially if you're relying on them for help.


Privacy and Security Concerns 


Chatbots need to gather information to help you, but that means they might collect more than you're comfortable with. 


If they're not careful, they could accidentally share your personal details or get hacked, which is a big no-no.


Initial Setup and Maintenance Costs


While chatbots can offer cost savings in the long run, setting up and maintaining chatbots can be costly in the beginning.


Businesses must also invest resources in maintaining chatbots to make sure they remain efficient and up-to-date with evolving customer needs and technological advancements.


Are Chatbots Here To Stay?


We’ve highlighted the pros and cons of chatbots, but how has the public perceived this change? Do they like it? Do they hate it?


Here’s what Userlike’s study on consumer perceptions learned about how users interact with and feel about this technology. The survey involved 415 respondents, primarily females aged 30-44, conducted via platforms like Amazon Mechanical Turk and SurveyMonkey to ensure a diverse and relevant sample.


We’ve simplified the results here:


High Interaction Rate


A significant 80% of respondents have interacted with chatbots, with younger demographics being particularly engaged. From this, we can see the widespread adoption of chatbots across various platforms.


Preference for Human Agents


While 60% of consumers prefer waiting for a human agent, over half are willing to start with a chatbot if it leads to human assistance. 


Now, the ability to escalate to a human agent is important, with over 75% of respondents emphasizing its importance.


Speed and Convenience


The quick response time of chatbots is appreciated by 68% of users, making them useful for instant assistance, especially outside regular service hours.


Limitations and Frustrations


Many respondents called out that chatbots often struggle with complex requests and providing good solutions, showcasing the limitations of current AI technology in handling detailed or specific inquiries.


Works Well When it Comes to Basic Requests


Chatbots are great for simple tasks like checking product specifications or order statuses. However, only 23% are comfortable using them to resolve disputes.


Transparency and Authenticity


More than half (54%) believe chatbots should clearly identify themselves as non-human to help maintain trust and avoid negative customer experiences.


Acceptance of Chatbots


Only 9% think companies shouldn’t use chatbots, indicating a general acceptance and recognition of their utility. Most see them as an innovative solution here to stay.


So, What Can We Conclude From This?


People have different opinions about chatbots. Some like them because they're quick and handy, especially for simple questions and when businesses are closed. Quite a number of people are okay with using chatbots, only IF they can switch to talking to a real person if they need to. 


But there are setbacks too. Chatbots struggle with difficult questions and sometimes can't solve problems well. Lots of people still prefer talking to humans for more complicated issues. They really want the option to talk to a real person if the chatbot can't help.


Overall, people think chatbots are useful, but they're not perfect. They like how easy they are to use, but there's still work to be done to make them better and keep customers satisfied.


So, what do you think? Do you like chatbots or prefer communicating with a live agent?



SO, WHERE DO YOU FIND THIS PARTNER?


Well, aren’t we glad you asked! We at DigiCom are obsessive data-driven marketers pulling from multi-disciplinary strategies to unlock scale. We buy media across all platforms and placements and provide creative solutions alongside content creation, and conversion rate optimizations. We pride ourselves on your successes and will stop at nothing to help you grow.




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