Consumers becoming increasingly comfortable with human-mimicking robots in customer service, says new Aspect Software research

Findings also indicate strong desire to maintain a real human presence.


Johannesburg, 29 Jan 2019
Read time 2min 50sec

As Google Duplex inches closer to becoming a reality, new research by Aspect Software has revealed over half of consumers (52%) would be comfortable communicating with a customer service robot that closely mimics human behaviour over the phone.

While this indicates a growing acceptance of customer service technology that is increasingly human-like, there also remain a number of concerns about the impact this will have on the role of human agents.

The survey, which polled 2 000 consumers from across the UK, found that 27% of those polled would be completely comfortable dealing with a Google Duplex-style robotic customer service agent, rising to 38% for those aged 16-24. However, more than four in 10 (43%) also said they would not be comfortable with such technology, with 21% saying they would prefer a different method of communication, and 22% saying they find human-mimicking technology like this unsettling.

For Stephen Ball, Senior VP Europe & Africa at Aspect, these findings underline the importance of being balanced when it comes to adopting new customer service channels and being wise to the widely varying preferences of consumers.

He said: "There is clearly potential for technologies like Google Duplex to make their mark in the world of customer service, especially among the tech-native younger generation of shoppers. However, a significant amount of scepticism about such technology remains, especially among older consumers, so it is crucial that organisations temper this desire to increase the use of robots and automation with the need to cater to the preferences of their entire customer base."

When asked about what they would consider an acceptable use of technology in an automated customer service experience, 30% said they would like to see a combination of technological and human input, with tech used to assist human agents in carrying out their jobs more effectively. In addition, 38% said they would like all customer service to be carried out by humans, with this figure rising to 44% when considering those aged 55 and over alone.

Ball added: "These figures show that the human touch is far from dead as far as customer service is concerned, despite the presence of technology and its power to improve the experience for many people. Automation and self-service can go a long way towards making an organisation's customer service more efficient and giving customers more choice when it comes to interacting with a business, but just as important is being able to reassure consumers that they will have the option to speak to a human agent if they need it."

He concluded: "Building a winning customer experience is about achieving balance: it's short-sighted to pigeon-hole the majority of your customers into one particular category, so individual needs should always be taken into account. Technologies like Google Duplex have a great deal of potential, but only if they aren't implemented at the expense of choice of communication channel for the consumer. Differentiating from a customer service perspective is about understanding the context behind any customer interaction, and adopting an omni-channel approach to suit everyone."

Aspect

Aspect helps enterprises break down the walls between people, processes, systems and data sources, empowering organisations to unite around the customer journey. Aspect's customer engagement centre offers native interaction management, workforce optimisation and self-service capabilities that drive dynamic, conversational interactions and create a truly frictionless omni-channel customer experience. Leveraging all the benefits of the cloud and over 40 years of industry ingenuity, Aspect conveniently and easily connects questions to answers while helping enterprises keep service levels high and operational costs contained. For more information, visit http://www.aspect.com/uk.

Follow Aspect on Twitter at @Aspect_Europe Read our blogs at http://blogs.aspect.com/uk/

Editorial contacts
Spreckley Sean Hand / Christian Stevens (+44) 020 7388 9988 aspect@spreckley.co.uk
Have your say
Facebook icon
Youtube play icon