Capgemini: Consumers prefer voice and chat assistants to humans

The majority of consumers now prefer interacting with bots rather than humans according to the latest reportSmart Talk: How organizations and consumers are embracing voice and chat assistants – from The Capgemini Research Institute. The study, which canvassed 12,000 consumers who use voice/chat assistants and 1,000 business executives found that nearly 70% say they will progressively replace visits to a store or bank with their voice assistant within three years’ time.

  • 40% of those consumers now using voice assistants have started doing so in the last year
  • Businesses are also seeing the benefits, especially as a tool for for customer engagement, and the overall customer experience. 76% said they have realized quantifiable benefits from voice or chat assistant initiatives.
  • Roll out is lagging behind enthusiasm and demand. Fewer than 50% of the top 100 players in automotive, consumer products and retail, and banking and insurance have voice assistants, and the same is true of chat.
Consumers display a significant increase in use of voice assistants as their experience improves

A comparison from an earlier 2017 report shows an increase in use of voice assistants by existing consumers for various purposes.

  • Buying products like groceries or home care (an increase from 35% to 53%).
  • Customer service interactions post purchase (an increase from 37% to 52%).
  • Making payments for products or services (an increase from 28% to 48%).

The report also found that consumers have increasingly praised the ability of conversational assistants to provide a better experience.

  • In 2017, 61% of consumers expressed their satisfaction in using a voice-based personal assistant like Google Assistant or Siri on their smartphones; this number rose to 72% in 2019.
  • In 2017, 46% of consumers were satisfied with using a voice-based speaker device like Google Home or Amazon Echo, and 44% with a voice and screen-based voice assistant (not phones) like Amazon Echo Show and Amazon Fire TV; these numbers rose to 64% and 57% in 2019, respectively.
Convenience and personalization will drive conversational assistants into the mainstream

Once trust is established, consumers are willing to go to the next level of engagement, including higher levels of personalization, emotional connection, and value.

  • 68% of consumers said a voice assistant allows for multi-tasking and accomplishing tasks hands-free.
  • 59% say that chat assistants keep improving personalization over time.
  • 58% want to personalize their voice assistant, 55% want to give it a name and 53% want to define its personality.

This research establishes that conversational assistants are the future of customer interactions, valued by consumers for their convenience and by companies for the operational efficiencies they enable. Compared to our study released in early 2018, a much higher proportion of consumers now foresee voice assistants as their first choice within the next three years.

Mark Taylor, Head of Customer Engagement at Capgemini Invent

The biggest experience that we’ve had is to not look at conversational interfaces as a cure for all the problems that you have, but instead to use them to augment human intelligence. This makes human intelligence a lot more productive. Voice or chat bots can communicate with multiple people simultaneously. They therefore help in reducing the amount of stress and strain on our human agents who are responding. These interfaces eliminate anywhere between 20% and 30% of issues reaching the human agents because they are answered then and there. And even when the issue is guided to a human being, it is actually a lot more purposeful.

Stan Sthanunathan, Executive Vice President at Unilever