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Consumers express scepticism regarding chatbot-based customer services

08 October 2018 - 09:18 by Paul Tissington

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A new study from DMA has raised questions about the effectiveness of the current trend for chatbots that can be seen in the burgeoning market for safe shopping online.

A slim majority of the consumers questioned in the survey said that they would rather interact with a real human representative of a retailer than an automated service when asking questions, making queries and issuing complaints.

Of course for the businesses themselves, chatbots can solve a lot of issues and generally make customer services run more smoothly. They are particularly good at dealing with basic requests, such as providing updates on delivery details for a particular order, which ensures improved efficiency and avoids confusion.

However, consumers are either apathetic about the idea of engaging with a chatbot when they have a problem they want solved, or they are actively hostile. Chatbot solutions are becoming ever more prevalent on sites offering safe shopping online, as well as in a range of other scenarios.

The use of chatbots is not only rising rapidly as they are adopted by a growing number of retailers, but there are other settings in which this type of service can actually be of benefit. These include providing specifications on products and answers to basic questions.

Chatbots are improving all the time, but when it comes to tackling the more complex, in-depth problems that many consumers might want a retailer to address for them, they still leave a lot to be desired.

Eventually, it may be the case that consumers simply cannot tell the difference between an automated customer service representative and a genuine human employee. For the time being, however, there will still be concerns and criticisms raised, even if retailers seem intent on investing in this technology in their droves at the moment.