Experts believe that AI-supported services are the future of customer service, however, only under the condition that the customer also accepts them. A study has examined AI’s requirements, expectations, and potential benefits in customer service.
Even if artificial intelligence (AI) is considered the future trend in digital business and online marketing: So far, only isolated AI-supported products and services can be found on the market. Surprisingly, this technology could offer competitive advantages and potential for numerous innovations. But the basic requirement for the use of AI to be successful for companies is customer acceptance.
But how can you increase the positive attitude of online customers so that they are more open to AI-supported services? Elaborated, experts in digital business and cross-channel strategies researched to learn more about expectations, benefits and acceptance criteria for artificial intelligence.
To this end, the management consultancy surveyed 602 subjects via an online panel. In addition to general questions about the use of artificial intelligence and experiences with it, the test persons were also asked about very specific use cases with artificial intelligence, for example, a chatbot for product advice or customer inquiries that are processed with the help of natural language processing (NLP).
Recognize Artificial Intelligence at all
Astonishing: almost half of the consumers do not even know whether they have ever had anything to do with artificial intelligence. It seems difficult for the subjects to recognize artificial intelligence on websites at all. “This shows that clearer communication on the part of companies is necessary because a lack of knowledge and experience strongly impacts the acceptance of AI.
As the study shows, only 24 percent of all subjects who have not had any contact with AI have a positive attitude towards AI. The value for experienced users is quite different: 67 percent of them said they were open to artificial intelligence. But who are these users already using AI and are positive about it? The study shows that AI service leaders should focus on younger, male or high-income customer segments.
Privacy and Quality
But which factors increase the acceptance of artificial intelligence? According to the study, data protection and quality are the most important acceptance criteria for online services with artificial intelligence. Also important: In case of doubt, a human contact person should be available to help if the problems can no longer be solved using AI.
Five tips for launching services with artificial intelligence
What can companies learn from the study results? And what should you consider if you want to introduce artificial intelligence? Elaborated gives five tips on how the introduction can be successful:
1. All beginnings are difficult – accompany first use: Users sometimes have wrong ideas about artificial intelligence and its possible benefits. To increase the acceptance and thus the use of services with AI, companies need to educate the customer about AI and support them with the first use. This can be done, for example, through small and simple services that the customer can try out without hesitation and ensure a positive initial experience. As a result, he will already be more positive about the next AI-supported application. Companies that want to use artificial intelligence for their purposes could inspire people who already have experience dealing with AI with more complex products.
2. No use without benefit: Companies should not offer an AI service just for the sake of AI. The customer does not use a service just because AI is above it. Therefore, the focus must be on the benefit of the service for the customer! This can be faster processing of his request or the immediate answer of a service chatbot at 11 p.m.
3. Man and machine are better together: Customers trust human contact significantly more than artificial intelligence. E-commerce companies should therefore convey to the customer that at the end of the service, there is an employee who will check a conspicuous result again or for whom the chatbot will initiate a muddled dialogue in good time.
Study author Claudia Brinkmann advises: “Companies should already take into account the desire of many test persons to have the opportunity to make an additional human contact in addition to interacting with the AI when analyzing the requirements and planning AI-supported services.”
4. Quality and data protection – a dream team for more acceptance: As the study above shows, quality and data protection are the most important acceptance criteria for online services with AI. Although this is also the case for services without AI, companies should take the concerns of their customers seriously: For example, customers tend to react with surprise and uncertainty when a chatbot addresses them in the customer portal about existing contracts or purchases that have already been made. Even if this information about customers is available in the customer portal, companies should carefully check whether all technical implementation options based on personal data are necessary for the first step.
5. This product may contain traces of AI: Am I dealing with AI now? Almost half of all respondents stated in the study that they often do not know whether they have already used a service with AI or not. Therefore, when using a chatbot, companies should inform the customer at the beginning of the communication that they are using artificial intelligence with this tool.
If the customer knows that the other person is just a machine, he is more likely to forgive her if an answer sounds impolite or awkward. He will also ignore a bot a misunderstood question.
But be careful: just the hint alone does not entitle the e-commerce company to overtax the customer’s patience. If a customer repeats their question, the chatbot should recognize the repetition and then admit their limited knowledge or hand the conversation over to a service representative.
The study shows that customers often have a wrong idea of artificial intelligence and its possible uses. Those who educate their customers and accompany them when they use it for the first time can increase the acceptance of artificial intelligence. This is an important first step to be able to use the potential of AI in the future.