New research conducted by the leaders in enterprise information management, OpenText, reveals that over a quarter of British consumers (27%) believe a robot would provide better customer service than a human.
When asked in which particular scenarios could offer better customer service from a robot, OpenText found more than a quarter of UK consumers (26%) said they would get better service from a robot when ordering food in a restaurant while one in five (20%) said a robot would better their experience when speaking to a call centre operator. Other findings reveal that:
• Nearly one in five (17%) people said they would prefer to speak to a robot when contacting government departments, and also when switching energy providers
• One in five people aged over 65 years old said they would get better customer service from a robot when making a purchase in store
Interestingly, millennials were not the most likely to champion the rise of robots to improve customer service. In fact, Gen X are the generation most likely to think they would get better service from a robot, with over half of respondents (58%) agreeing with the statement being aged between 35-54 years old. In comparison, millennials were the most unsure about whether they would get better service from a robot, with nearly a third (29%) saying they did not know.
This research from OpenText was conducted soon after a recent report released by Forrester which concluded that use of AI and robots will continue to transform how customers interact with brands and will provide a significant competitive edge to businesses. The analysts argue that disruptors will use AI/cognitive services, based on large data sets, to scale their businesses and steal customers from competitors.
This prediction from Forrester that the introduction of robots will help businesses improve their level of customer service was also reflected in the research by OpenText. The company found that more than one in five (22%) of people believe businesses can significantly reduce customer waiting times by increased use of robots in the workplace. Interestingly, male respondents were more likely to believe businesses could reduce customer waiting times with 28% saying ‘yes’, compared to just 15% of female respondents.
Commenting on these findings, and the impending Digital Revolution, Mark Bridger, vice president, Northern Europe at OpenText says: “Customers today expect nothing less than exceptional customer service and will not hesitate to seek services elsewhere if they don’t get it. Businesses are fast realising that they need to alter the way in which they interact with their customers to meet their demands. The introduction of robots and AI will offer an opportunity to revolutionise this interaction process in the very near future.
“Cognitive systems are self-learning systems that simulate the way a brain works using data mining, analytics, pattern recognition, and natural language processing to learn, interact, and make decisions. Digital enterprises of the future will incorporate cognitive tools and analytics into their infrastructure. These will then be used to amplify human capabilities, working seamlessly alongside people to uncover underlying patterns and trends, provide better insights, make decisions, and prescribe actions more efficiently.
“Companies that use this information will gain a competitive advantage. With processes and data fully integrated, businesses can bring together the benefits of both silicon and carbon to offer better performance and insights so end users can receive the ultimate customer experience.”
About the research
This research was conducted using Google Consumer Surveys whereby 2,000 UK based respondents, aged 18 years and over, were surveyed about whether they would get better customer service from a robot. The raw data can be shared should you wish to see it.