Chatbots have existed for decades, but many companies are just now starting to get in on the trend. These bots are a cost-effective way to navigate customer service issues and submit support tickets. Instead of hiring employees to manage all customer service interactions, a chatbot can handle the initial steps in the process.

Unfortunately, some companies make major chatbot mistakes. Failing to have live customer support available, or pretending the bot is a real human, can frustrate your customers. This defeats the purpose of what can be an extremely helpful tool.

The insightful chatbot statistics below reveal how prevalent—and useful—chatbots can be. Read on to learn more about how companies use them and what customers think.

1. 34% of customers use chatbots to connect with a human

Few people use a chatbot expecting to resolve the interaction without any human input whatsoever. In fact, 34% of customers polled said that they use a chatbot to get connected with a human customer service representative. While some chatbots can resolve the issue (for instance, by directing people to tutorials or other helpful resources), customers expect to be able to talk to a real person regarding more complex issues.

Now that you know customers expect human customer service, you can program your chatbot accordingly. Make provisions for handing off complicated disputes to humans while letting the chatbot handle the initial interaction.

2. 74% of customers use chatbots to resolve simple issues

As mentioned above, some issues can be resolved with a chatbot alone, without additional human assistance. For example, perhaps a customer is trying to locate a specific help article, such as how to return a product. A chatbot can easily direct them to the appropriate resource, or create a customer support ticket for live help.

This is a great way to cut down on how much customer service representatives have to do. They can focus on their top priorities, and your company can keep costs down.

3. 57% of businesses say chatbots provide a great ROI

Because chatbots cut down on time spent answering simple queries, they can free up employee time for more pressing issues. Businesses across many industries use chatbots, including lawyers, healthcare practices, real estate agents, e-commerce, and even banking.

Generally, chatbots require a minimal initial financial investment, but the ROI is great. You should notice a positive change in your bottom line when you implement a chatbot.

4. Chatbots cut down on handling time by 77% 

When you use a chatbot, you can expect customer service handling time to go down dramatically—about 77%, in fact. The intelligent routing features can easily resolve simple issues and send complex problems to the appropriate representative. Plus, chatbots are available 24/7. Customers can send an inquiry any time of day or night and get an immediate first response. This ensures they feel their problem is being addressed, even if they have to wait for a further response.

5. 34% of businesses use chatbots to increase website interactivity

Anyone can have a chatbot—but when you have an easy-to-use, intuitive, and genuinely helpful chatbot, you’re more likely to retain your customers. Customers are loyal to brands that offer good value. When your chatbot can help them resolve issues and connect with a human, they’re more likely to remember your company.

Furthermore, chatbots can help your business collect customer data and survey feedback. This can be used to improve operations, create new marketing campaigns, and suggest better products for your customers.

6. Only 22% of customers have a good general impression of chatbots

This is a troubling chatbot statistic—but it also highlights that chatbots need to be helpful and easy for customers to use. The fact that only 22% of customers think positively of chatbots indicates that they’ve had a lot of experience with bad bots. Customers are often frustrated when they can’t get the answers they need, can’t connect to a human, or suspect that the bot is pretending to be a human.

When your chatbot addresses the customer’s needs, such as automating returns or routing the claim to a live human, it’s more likely to leave a favorable impression.

7. 20% of Gen Z users prefer using chatbots, compared to 4% of Boomers

The generation gap also influences the chatbot experience. 20% of Gen Z users say they prefer to start their customer service experience with a chatbot, later moving on to a live human if necessary. On the other end of the spectrum, only 4% of the Baby Boomer generation prefer starting out with a bot.

This is a good reminder to consider your customer demographics. Companies who market to Boomers and other older generations probably won’t see benefits like those who sell to Gen Z consumers.

8. Chatbots are projected to bring in $454.8 million in revenue by 2027

The chatbot market is booming. In 2018, they brought in just $40.9 million. Current projections see them bringing in nearly $455 million by 2027. That’s a significant increase in less than a decade. It also highlights the technology’s widespread availability. As more companies are able and willing to use chatbots, the market share will increase.

9. 58% of companies invested in chatbots during the COVID-19 pandemic

While chatbots can cut down on how long it takes to resolve issues, they were especially useful during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic. As online shopping skyrocketed, and workers stayed home during lockdowns, chatbots provided an easy way to address increased customer service issues.

10. Nearly a quarter of consumers prefer face-to-face interaction for complex issues

Although chatbots can be very useful, 23% of consumers prefer face-to-face interactions when they have a complicated issue. This chatbot statistic, coupled with the generational differences of opinion on chatbots, shows how important it is to have different customer support tools. Sometimes there’s just no substitute for a friendly face—make sure your chatbot can help the customer get to that point.

11. 48% of customers prioritize issue-solving over “personality”

AI technology makes it possible to create unique chatbots with their own “personality.” That can be a fun feature, but don’t focus on it too heavily. Nearly half of customers say they’d rather use a chatbot that can solve their problems quickly, as opposed to one with a unique personality.

12. Marketing chatbots are expected to have the largest future market share

There are three different kinds of chatbots: marketing, AI, and human intelligence. While all of their market shares are expected to increase in the future, marketing will have the largest future market share. Experts predict it will grow at a rate of 23.7% by 2030.

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