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Filipino consumers still prefer interacting with humans than bots

Adrian M. Reodique | Sept. 21, 2017
Bots are not mature enough to better serve consumers than humans, says Amdocs official.

Filipino consumers still prefer to interact with humans than bots
Credit: Storyblocks

Filipino consumers still prefer speaking to humans than bots when transacting with communication service providers.

This is according to the study released yesterday (20 September 2017) by software and services company, Amdocs. The study is based on a survey of over 500 consumers and three senior decision makers from communication and media companies about their artificial intelligence (AI) spending.

Majority of the consumers (90 percent) said they interact with virtual agents on a daily to monthly basis. However, nearly half of the respondents (48 percent) said they only interact with bots since there is no other available options to engage with service providers.

If offered a choice, 87 percent of the consumers said they will choose to speak with human agents as they understand their needs better (83 percent) and are able to address multiple questions at once (63 percent).

The survey thus indicated that customers' dissatisfaction with bots can be attributed to their inability to handle complex requests or questions (54 percent), deliver personalised offers and responses (36 percent), and lack of human attributes such as understanding emotions (41 percent).

"The maturity of virtual agents and in the state that they are in today are clearly not good enough to serve against the human from a competitive perspective," said Dan Horan, chief digital officer and chief marketing officer of Amdocs in Asia Pacific.


AI investments do not meet consumer demands

Meanwhile, the survey revealed a gap between the consumer demands and service providers' investments on bots.

Case in point, almost half of the consumers (49 percent) want bots to provide them with price information of the company's products and services, but only eight percent of the service providers' bots have this option.

Consumers also want bots to sound polite, intelligent, and caring while being fully customisable and funny at the same time. However, service providers are focused on building their bots to either sound serious (56 percent), foreign (25 percent), or authoritative (24 percent).

In addition, senior decision makers said their priority AI investments are focused on increasing information security and privacy (38 percent) and improving speed of response (33 percent), while consumers' top areas for bot improvement such as providing personalised offers and response (eight percent) and more comprehensive information (four percent) are on the tail end of the list.

In order to close the gap between customer's experience and expectation on bots, Horan advised communication service providers to put focus on intelligence and not just on user interface, align bot's core uses with consumers' demands, and lastly involve the right department in the AI strategy process.


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