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People, AI or chatbots: A/NZ consumers don’t differentiate with customer service

11 Dec 2019

Consumers in Australia and New Zealand revealed their sentiments towards interacting with artificial intelligence (AI) and chatbots for customer service inquiries as part of a new international survey conducted by Genesys.

The results of the survey cement the region’s position as early adopters of AI technologies for performing customer service functions.

Almost half of all Australian respondents (47%) and more than half of New Zealanders (60%) confirmed they are happy to interact and seek assistance from a voice or chatbot for tasks that are simple or transactional in nature.

The survey revealed that consumers in both Australia (60%) and New Zealand (69%) still place the highest premium on customer service staff being knowledgeable and capable of providing accurate information.

This was closely followed by receiving a response to their inquiry promptly with 47% of consumers from Australia and 48% from New Zealand respectively placing a high value on this expertise.

One-third of Australians and New Zealanders believe that a company’s reputation for good customer service is the most important factor to consider when engaging with a business or brand, deeming it more important than value for money or cheaper pricing.

Two-thirds of A/NZ consumers stated that they base their decision to purchase from a business, at least partially, on their reputation for providing a high level of customer service.

Unsurprisingly, one of the most frustrating experiences for consumers was needing to repeat the same information multiple times to different customer service agents; with almost half of survey respondents listing this as the biggest irritant in service.

The survey uncovers other interesting insights into consumer behaviour in customer service situations.

Across the wider survey, it was revealed:

  • Customer service interactions in the APAC region are overwhelmingly positive, with 91% of respondents categorising their most recent interactions as favourable.
     
  • In APAC, the majority of respondents ranked large organisations as providing the best levels of customer service. However, most Australians (48%) and New Zealanders (46%) disagreed with this sentiment and believe that small independent businesses provide the best customer service experiences.
     
  • At some point three-quarters of consumers have become so frustrated trying to get customer support that they have ended up swearing or crying, with 33% of consumers in APAC saying this happens to them ‘occasionally’.
     
  • As a direct result of bad customer service, half of consumers would ‘stop doing business with that company; a response that is most common for consumers in New Zealand (61%), Australia (59%).
     
  • Most consumers in APAC prefer to listen to classical music when on hold (32%), however in both Australia (18%) and New Zealand (19%) we see a preference for 20th Century Rock/Pop: well above the average in APAC of 7%.


Genesys Asia-Pacific and Japan senior vice president Gwilym Funnell says, “It is not surprising Australian and New Zealand consumers are becoming more open to interacting with AI and bot technology during customer service experiences, especially when they place such a high premium on their time and don’t appreciate it being wasted.”

“Consumers no longer have the patience or brand loyalty that they once had and are more than prepared to switch to a brand or business that places a higher value on providing their customers with fantastic end-to-end customer experiences.”