Bot about it?

| Updated on January 10, 2018 Published on September 21, 2017

Customers want their bots to be as human as possible

What would you expect from a partner? That they should be caring, polite, intelligent, and have a sense of humour? A study commissioned by Amdocs finds that more than half of Indian consumers (53 percent) prefer their bot to look like a human – preferably female – rather than an avatar or an icon. Sounding polite, caring and intelligent are by far the most desirable bot personality traits, followed by ‘sounding younger than me’ and funny. Amdocs is a software and services provider to global communications and media companies.

The study also finds a mismatch in consumers’ expectations from bots and what service providers offer. The latter are investing in increasing the speed of response and information security and privacy, but customers prioritise better personalisation or more comprehensive information. Money is also being spent on features that consumers don’t find as desirable, with over a quarter of service providers (27 per cent) building their bots to sound serious and a fifth (20 per cent) to sound posh.

Contrary to the belief that deploying bots will take away jobs from people, relatively few service providers (17 per cent) see AI as an opportunity to replace a large number of staff across the business, and none see it as an opportunity to replace human customer service jobs specifically. In fact, all decision-makers (100 per cent) see the lack of human skills to set up and run AI as the number one risk to delivering on their AI strategies, ahead of the risk associated with early technology prone to failure (33 per cent). The majority (83 per cent) are seeking external support, predominantly from their existing vendors as opposed to native AI solution providers (60 vs 40 per cent).

Gary Miles, general manager at Amdocs, says, “AI could be a winning gambit for service providers as long as they sync up their AI investment priorities with what customers actually want.” While most service providers acknowledge they cannot achieve this on their own, they are turning to existing vendors and not native AI solution providers, probably to ensure AI does not become another tech silo that is difficult to scale up, he adds. The research covered consumers and senior service provider decision makers. An equal mix of 1,022 female and male consumers between the ages of 18 and 74 were surveyed, as well as six senior service provider executives from the largest communications and media companies in India.

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Published on September 21, 2017
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