Consumers prefer voice and chat assistants to humans: Capgemini

09 September 2019 2 min. read

A study by the Capgemini Research Institute has revealed that consumers would rather interact with bots than humans.

This proved especially true when consumers aimed to research new products, learn about new services, and in post-purchase questions. Additionally, approximately 70% of consumers said that within three years, they aimed to replace in-person trips to stores or banks with a bot-powered voice assistant.

Forty percent of consumers who use voice assistants, according to the study, started doing so within the last year. This growth bodes well for businesses looking to add voice assistants or chat bots to their organizations, with 76% reporting quantifiable benefits from strategies centered around the technology, and 58% reporting that these benefits – such as reduction in customer service costs and increase in digital assistant use – had met, if not exceeded, expectations.

"Conversational assistants are the future of customer interactions, valued by consumers for their convenience and by companies for the operational efficiencies they enable,” Mark Taylor, head of customer engagement at Capgemini Invent, said.

Consumers prefer voice and chat assistants to humans

As voice and chat assistants improve, Capgemini’s report found, so does consumer trust. Since 2017, there has been a marked increase in the use of voice assistants – from 35% to 53% for product purchases alone. A majority of consumers (68%) also reported that voice assistants allows them to more easily accomplish tasks, especially in regards to multitasking and working hands-free.

Stan Sthanunathan, executive vice president at Unilever, said the increasing popularity of voice and chat assistants will be helpful, rather than a threat, to human employees. They can act as a lubricant that will help make customer service flow more smoothly. 

“Voice or chat bots can communicate with multiple people simultaneously,” he said. “They therefore help in reducing the amount of stress and strain on our human agents who are responding. These interfaces eliminate anywhere between 20% and 30% of issues reaching the human agents because they are answered then and there. And even when the issue is guided to a human being, it is actually a lot more purposeful."

Capgemini’s study also named several “success factors” for organizations using voice and chat assistants. Among them are striking the right balance between human and robotic interactions for consumers, improving bots with features such as images and video, and gaining consumer trust by addressing pain points such as concerns regarding privacy and security.