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Shoppers question chatbot security

20 February 2018 - 09:14 by Simon Crisp

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More and more retailers are offering websites with built-in live chat functionality which enables visitors to access customer services in real time. In many cases, this is entirely automated, meaning that the responses to questions are delivered by a bot rather than a real person.

A new study from PointSource has shown that with the rise of chatbots, consumers are becoming increasingly worried about the threat these services pose to security when attempting to carry out safe shopping online.

Forty one per cent of those questioned in the survey said that they feared for their privacy when engaging with chatbots, since it is often necessary to provide personal details and it is harder to gauge the legitimacy of a system that delivers automated responses.

Fifty nine per cent said that using chatbots could often be frustrating as it was difficult to get the right answer to certain types of questions. Almost half said that complications could arise when chatbots failed to find the right products and services for them.

Even with these concerns being voiced, the rise of chatbots seems set to continue. They offer retailers a more cost effective way to provide customer services via safe shopping online without needing to expand their staff.

The bots themselves are becoming more sophisticated, learning from their mistakes and being able to better interpret the needs of visitors. But there are still quite a few issues that need to be ironed out.

Of course, there are retailers that have the ability to offer live chat with real customer service representatives, which can be faster and more convenient, but it is not without its frustrations. Outsourcing such work to other countries can mean that there is a language barrier to overcome, which makes calling a helpline more appealing for plenty of consumers.