Chatbots are still not smart enough to deliver the kind of brand experience consumers need, according to a new report.

According to a survey of 3,500 global consumers across Australia, USA, Canada, France, UK and Germany conducted by software company Pegasystems, 65 per cent of respondents would rather a human on the other side of their device.

From the report, 72 per cent who have used chatbots have found them useful however 58 per cent rank their experiences with chatbots adequate and 18 per cent find them ineffective and annoying.

Only 16 per cent of those surveyed rated their experience with chatbots highly.

Consumers use chatbots for simple tasks like tracking an order (60 per cent), finding basic information (53 per cent) and asking basic questions (49 per cent).

A report by Gartner claims in the years to come more chatbots will be used for customer service.

The report said, “25 per cent of customer service and support operations will integrate virtual customer assistant (VCA) or chatbot technology across engagement channels by 2020, up from less than two percent in 2017.”

Ying Chen, head of product marketing, platform technologies, Pegasystems said, “As chatbots become more pervasive, the quality of the engagement has lagged significantly behind customer expectations.

“To truly depend on digital channels as a first line of defence in customer service, smart businesses need to unite their chatbots with the enterprise systems that can do real work – not just fetch bits of random information. At the same time, they must apply advanced artificial intelligence to deliver true personalised interactions in real time.”

When it comes to negative feedback for chatbots, 27 per cent said they do not have enough smarts to effectively answer questions, 24 per cent said there is a lack of context in the conversation and 14 per cent said there was robot-like engagement with few human qualities.

The respondents also noted that fast service (56 per cent), ability to engage on their own schedule (37 per cent), and convenience (36 per cent) are the chatbots’ top perceived benefits. When done well, 43 per cent say chatbots can be almost as good as interacting with a human, while 34 per cent disagree.

Some respondents have not gone near chatbots at all, 53 per cent claimed they’ve had a lack of any real exposure to chatbots, 30 per cent said they would rather talk to a human and 23 per cent do not know how to use chatbots. 

Chen concludes, “The results of our global survey show that businesses still have a long way to go before consumers feel they can trust chatbots to give them an exceptional experience that can set a company apart.”

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