The Truth Behind Why Chatbots are Failing Consumers
February 20, 2019 • 4 minute read

The Truth Behind Why Chatbots are Failing Consumers

While the chatbot may be having its 15 minutes of fame, they’re definitely not as efficient as they’re hyped up to be. Sure, the idea of talking to a bot online seems like it would be a quick and efficient way to solve your customer care inquiry, but is that really the case?

Forrester’s recent report, Forrester Infographic: Customer Chatbots Fail Consumers Today, released January 30, 2019, discusses a number of ways that chatbots are failing consumers and how this can be prevented. We’ve rounded up our top 3 takeaways from their findings:

1.  Consumers think chatbots are more time-consuming than helpful

When it comes to your customers, time is money. Consumers want to feel as though their time is being valued and that companies take their time into consideration. According to Forrester’s research, two-thirds of American adults say that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to give them a good online customer experience.¹

And, it seems as though chatbots aren’t valuing people’s time. Most consumers feel as though chatbots talk in circles and give them the runaround until eventually telling them to call a customer service number – wasting their time and increasing their frustration with the brand.

This means that if your customers aren’t finding the answers to their questions quickly, they not only get frustrated, but they’re likely to not return. In fact, 47% of consumers are likely to abandon their online purchase if they cannot find a quick answer to their questions. Additionally, 61% of respondents say they are unlikely to return to a website that does not provide a satisfactory customer experience.¹

2. They aren’t living up to the hype

Chatbots have become such a hot topic, that people have become to expect them to work properly however and whenever they need them. Unfortunately, this hasn’t been the case. In reality, chatbots are failing to live up to their expectations, and consumers find that their lack of empathy and ability to understand their frustration is a major issue.

2 in 3 consumers are skeptical of chatbots and their ability to provide just as great an interaction as a live representative.² And, on top of that, most consumers enter the chatbot conversation already anticipating a bad experience. 54% of online consumers expect interactions with a company’s customer service chatbot to negatively affect their quality of life.³

At least these guys can always transfer you to a live agent, right? Wrong. Forrester predicts that by the end of 2019, only 40% of chatbots will have a path to a live chat agent.⁴

3. Chatbots CAN help (when done correctly)

This isn’t all to say that chatbots can’t help consumers, though. When done right, the technology can have a great impact on a customer’s experience with a brand. Forrester asked 22 enterprise organizations if they’ve seen meaningful results while utilizing their chatbots, and the results were clear: 88% saw a reduction in call volume, 75% saw an improvement in cost savings, and 71% saw an increase in customer satisfaction.⁵

So, how can you make sure your chatbot results look like this? Forrester suggests a few recommendations. First, focus on your chatbot efforts internally. Making sure your chatbots work and are running properly internally before exposing to your customers can make a big difference. Secondly, start with simple questions and limited requests. When it comes to chatbots, taking baby steps can go a long way. Focus on straightforward and simple requests before teaching your chatbot to take on more complex questions. And, finally, set clear expectations with your customers. Be upfront about what your chatbot can and cannot do, so their expectations are set at a realistic standard.

While chatbots are definitely having their moment, it’s important to understand that implementing one and walking away is simply not enough. The technology needs time, effort, and clear expectations when being presented to customers.


¹Base: 4,513 US online adults Source: Forrester Analytics Consumer Technographics® North American Retail And Travel Customer Life Cycle Survey, Q1 2017 (US)
²Base: US online adults, 18+Source: Forrester Analytics ConsumerVoices Market Research Online Community, Q2 2017 (US)
³Source: Forrester Analytics Consumer Energy Index Online Survey, US Consumers, September 2018
⁴Source: “Predictions 2019: Customer Service And Sales” Forrester report
⁵Source: Forrester executive survey, 2017 of 22 enterprise organizations

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