Most people have interacted with a chatbot even if they might not know it. Fact. When it comes to chatbots, we know that most brands are in favor of them, but how do consumers feel? When it comes to customer care, do they think positively about chatbots? What situations do they want to encounter them in, and how do they react?

Bots are now an accepted channel

Conversocial recently conducted a study into digital customer care, including chatbots. Fifty-five percent of respondents have used digital channels for customer service, a reminder that digital transformation is no longer just a buzzword – it’s a reality, and consumers can feel the change.

This research also highlights that consumers’ expectations surrounding chatbots are also on the rise. An impressive 83 percent of respondents said that their expectations for digital customer service are higher today than they were a year ago. That’s a number customer service teams can’t ignore – audiences expect more satisfying conversations. And this is exactly where chatbots can be used: To enrich customer experiences for above and beyond conversational care.

Private messaging channels, where chatbots are increasingly available, are only growing more entrenched. When faced with the choice, 75 percent of consumers indicated that they would prefer to engage with a brand over private messaging than phone or email.

Consumers’ expectations around chatbots are high and still rising, despite (or perhaps because of?) a lackluster showing from brands. Seventy percent of respondents said they’ve used a private messaging channel to engage with a brand, but only 39 percent rated their experience as positive. When asked about resolutions, 60 percent felt that their expectations are being met, but only 10 percent thought that they were being exceeded.

Consumers who are more used to communicating on messaging platforms are more likely to be satisfied by bots. A recent survey by Customer Think found that 37 percent in the 18 to 34 age group were more satisfied with messaging than other contact channels. Twenty-three percent in the 35 to 54 age group felt similarly, and 18 percent in the 55+ age group agreed.

The most common places consumers interact with chatbots:

  1. Support over messaging apps
  2. Mobile banking
  3. Reservation booking
  4. Website homepage

Consumers who are more used to communicating on messaging platforms are more likely to be satisfied by bots

How can brands connect better with digital natives?

Here are some lessons for brands in deploying their chatbots:

1) Cater to your most avid fans
Tailor your chatbot to those who are most likely to use it most anyway – millennials. A study by CARAVAN found that 2 in 5 millennials think that chatbots provide better service than humans. Millennials and Gen Zers have grown up or at least risen to adulthood with app-based communication as the norm, and have less trouble interfacing with chatbots than older consumers. Younger consumers want answers and to be on their way, and deeply appreciate the asynchronous nature of chatbots, which don’t require them to keep a browser tab open while they wait for a response.

2) Strive to exceed their high expectations
Chatbots naturally appeal to millennials, but relying on their natural propensity to use them isn’t enough. “Younger consumers have higher expectations for innovation,” Taylor Schreiner, Director of Adobe Digital Insights, told CMO. “The 18- to 34-year-old cohort, specifically, has grown up with digital and mobile, and they not only value innovation in customer experiences that address their needs, they demand it.”

Chatbot-powered customer service teams should save and analyze transcripts to make sure the customer experience (CX) lives up to the promise. Anywhere they see anomalous usage – both good and bad – they need to investigate and improve the bot.

3) Listen when they have a bad experience
Younger consumers are more likely to have a bad online retail experience, found CMO. Nine in ten millennials said they will take some sort of action after having a bad online customer experience, like bad-mouthing the company to friends, boycotting the company, or posting reviews on a review site or social media. Some bad experiences are okay – that’s part of learning to perfect the chatbot – but don’t let it make the same mistakes over and over.

4) Be strategic with your chatbot usage
Chatbots are a natural way to connect with millennial audiences, but they need to be efficient, timely, and accurate with their information. Millennials don’t have time for wrong answers and long wait times, and will let their communities know if a brand has slighted them. But when done right, chatbots that set high standards are an incomparable advantage in earning customer loyalty in a world that’s now digitally transformed.

For more on how chatbots can add value to your brand’s customer care strategy, check out Aer Lingus’s story now:



Written by Seleah Gardiner

Seleah Gardiner