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UK consumers and customers are warming up to AI: 54% happy to resolve queries with bots

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A majority (54%) of UK customers don’t care whether customer service is provided by a bot or a human, as long as their issue is resolved fast, a new study from Genesys, a global leader in omnichannel customer experience and contact centre solutions., has found.

The research found that only 28% of respondents say that they would never deal with a bot, while 48% say that they use bots for solving simple and transactional queries, such as checking a bank account balance.

However, 57% said that they would wait for 10 minutes to get help from a human customer service agent rather than spend five minutes solving their issue with assistance from voice or chat bot. UK consumers (51%) also say that contacting customer services by phone still gets the best outcome.

“While consumers are becoming more confident with interacting with bots, the human touch in customer service is still critical,” said Brendan Dykes, senior director solution and product marketing, Genesys. “Businesses need to provide a blended approach to service, where bots and human employees work together seamlessly to benefit the overall experience for consumers.”

Customers most frustrated with long hold times

Whether businesses interact with customers via bots or by phone, they need to ensure that they provide the best possible experience to protect their reputations. As consumers expect more personalised services today, it is critical that employees and bots provide accurate information to queries in a timely manner, without asking the customer to repeat information.

In the UK, consumers find it most frustrating when they are left on hold. Customers are willing to wait on hold, but only to a point. They also expect companies to respect their time. Respondents said being put on hold for more than five minutes is the most irritating factor in a customer service experience (43%). More than two thirds (67%) will hang up if left on hold for too long, with 31% only willing to wait for up to five minutes and 36% ready to hang up after 15 minutes.

Also, they hate having to hear or repeat information multiple times. 40% said they are most irritated by having to  say things more than once while 39% are more frustrated by listening to repetitive messages or annoying music while on hold. If they must be subjected to hold music, customers would rather listen to rock/pop (32%) or classical (19%) but more than a fifth (21%) would rather have silence.

Customers also feel they are in receipt of bad customer experience. The study found that 87% of UK consumers either swear or cry, when faced with unacceptable levels of service.

Companies of all sizes should take note that poor customer service has serious consequences. UK consumers are most likely to stop doing business with a company that they’ve had a bad experience with (46%) and are likely to share the negative details with family and friends (45%). Additionally, shoppers in the UK will register a complaint directly with the company using traditional methods such as fixed-line phone or postal service (42%).

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