Consumers prefer chatting with customer service bots for simple tasks, new research finds

89% of global consumers rate their overall perception of bots as "positive" or "neutral"

NEW YORK, May 12, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- LivePerson, Inc. (Nasdaq: LPSN), the leading provider of cloud mobile and online business messaging solutions, has released the results of new global consumer research that examines how consumers perceive bots in customer care. Some of the key findings are included below.

  • Consumer feedback suggests they are happy for bots to do simple tasks but want human help for more complex ones
  • Bots should have a friendly personality
  • To be considered "excellent," the ideal wait time for customer service is less than two minutes
  • Consumers are warming to bots, though 56% would prefer a human
  • "Being misunderstood" by bots is the largest fear for consumers

LivePerson Logo. (PRNewsFoto/LivePerson, Inc.)

The usage of bots in customer care has gained momentum, as consumers continue to demand faster and better service. With more companies adopting bots in their customer care strategies to solve for this demand, LivePerson commissioned a survey of 5,000 global consumers to uncover consumer attitudes toward bots in customer care. The full report is available for download at http://info.liveperson.com/Bots-In-Customer-Care.html.

According to the research, less than two minutes is the ideal wait time for consumers, as 52% of global consumers would not be open to waiting more than two minutes to speak with a customer care agent and still rate the customer service as "excellent." Americans were among the most impatient, with 28% willing to wait a maximum of one minute and 25% selecting two minutes.

Given that fast service is a priority for consumers, an increasing number of large brands are implementing bots into their digital and customer care strategies, and our survey suggests that consumers are now more accepting of this. A majority of consumers have a positive or neutral perception of using a bot to communicate with a brand. Globally, 38% of consumers rate their overall perception of bots as positive, while 51% rate it as neutral. Only 11% of consumers globally reported a negative perception of bots. With a more accepting attitude toward bots, the previous perception that brands and companies use bots purely to cut costs is fading.

A higher number of consumers now perceive bots as there to help them get better and faster service versus earlier surveys we conducted. This is particularly true for millennials: More than half believe bots are there to give them faster and better service as opposed to simply being a cost-savings tool for the company.

While consumer perceptions on bots are warming, many remain skeptical. Just over half of the people surveyed globally (56%) would still rather speak with a human — even if they have to wait for a short period of time — than chat with a bot immediately. The reason for this, according to 60% of respondents, is because a human will understand what they need better than a bot. The risk of being misunderstood may be one concern, but some consumers, particularly those in Europe, report occasionally lying or exaggerating to a customer care agent to get what they want.

However, in a scenario where a bot is just as accurate as a human customer care agent, a majority of global consumers (55%) would prefer to chat with a bot over a human. According to our research, consumers trust bots for simple tasks, such as updating an address or confirming an account balance. Complex inquires, such as correcting a mistake on a bill, are tasks consumers would prefer a human to handle.

As brands implement bots into their digital and customer care strategies, many wonder if the bot should have a name or personality. Our research found that many customers, particularly in the US, don't care whether a bot has a personality or name, but consumers in other countries do. Close to half of respondents in Germany (45%), France (44%), and Japan (42%) believe customer service bots should have names and personalities. Of those respondents who would like a bot to have a personality or don't care, most would prefer the bot to have a friendly personality over a formal or humorous one.

"We're helping brands across industries and geographies integrate bots into their organizations through our LiveEngage for Bots platform, and we're continuing to see consumers shift to a more positive perception of bots as they experience the high-quality service that many bots offer, working alongside human customer care agents," said Rurik Bradbury, global head of communications and research at LivePerson. "This research is part of an ongoing effort to understand consumers' evolving perceptions of bots and provide our customers with insights and best practices for implementing bots within digital and customer care organizations."

This survey was commissioned by LivePerson and conducted online by independent research firm Survata, which interviewed 5,002 global consumers across six countries (US, UK, Australia, Germany, France, and Japan) ages 18 and older between April 7, 2017 and April 20, 2017. Respondents received no cash compensation for their participation. More information on methodology can be found at survata.com/methodology.

About LivePerson
LivePerson, Inc. (NASDAQ: LPSN) is the leading provider of mobile and online messaging business solutions, enabling a meaningful connection between brands and consumers. LiveEngage, the Company's enterprise-class, cloud-based platform, empowers consumers to stop wasting time on hold with 1-800 numbers and, instead, message their favorite brands just as they do with friends and family. More than 18,000 businesses, including Adobe, Citibank, HSBC, EE, IBM, L'Oréal, PNC, and The Home Depot, rely on the unparalleled intelligence, security, and scalability of LiveEngage to reduce costs, increase lifetime value, and create meaningful connections with consumers. For more information, please visit www.liveperson.com. To view other global press releases about LivePerson, please visit pr.liveperson.com.

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Media Contact
Allison Franzese
afranzese@liveperson.com
212-609-4224

SOURCE LivePerson, Inc.