When it comes to outsourcing customer service, bots win every time for simple tasks

As technology progresses and automation becomes ever more integrated into our lives, new research has revealed that 55% of customers prefer to talk with a bot over its human counterpart.

The research was conducted across six countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, France and Japan, and attracted over 5,000 respondents—and uncovered some interesting industry trends, particularly in outsourcing customer service.

"We are continuing to see consumers shift to a more positive perception of bots as they experience the high-quality service that many bots offer, working alongside human customer care agents," said LivePerson’s Global Head of Communications and Research, Rurik Bradbury.

"This research is part of an ongoing effort to understand consumers’ evolving perceptions of bots and provide our customers with insights and best practices for implementing bots within digital and customer care organisations."

The revealing results come from LivePerson (via surveyors Survata), an online, cloud-based messaging solutions provider. When asked for their perceptions of bots, 38% said they felt positive towards them, 51% were neutral, and only 11% felt negative.

However, human interaction still came up trumps (56%) in cases where people said that humans would understand their needs—even if it meant having to wait. One unsurprising result of the survey also revealed that some 60% admitted they sometimes embellished their issue with agents to get a more desirable outcome.

For situations where bots could provide equal accuracy as a human, however, 55% of the surveyed said that they trusted a bot, especially for small, simple tasks that didn’t require another individual: changing an address, or receiving a simple confirmation of an account balance were indicated as two such tasks.

However, people still agreed that more complex tasks—such as correcting errors—were better carried out by a human. For now, at least, the customer care load can be shared between man and machine, making bots not yet a choice for businesses thinking of outsourcing their customer service.