Study: Consumers want to direct message with brands

Two thirds of consumers would like to message with brands even as human interactions remain important

Consumers globally are demanding brands offer them direct messaging as a way of communicating, a new report claims. 

Consumer messaging capabilities can take many forms, including messaging apps on iOS and Android, messaging platforms like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, voice assistants such as Alexa, and even branded mobile apps and websites. 

New research reveals two-thirds of consumers would like to message with brands, reflecting consumers’ preference to do business with companies that answer questions immediately (90 per cent). Findings from the latest Liveperson survey also show Australian consumers are among the highest levels of chatbot users worldwide.

However, while consumers – particularly younger consumers – are interested in convenience and ease messaging offers, they are still sceptical of bots and prefer human interaction. 

LivePerson’s Consumer Preferences for Conversational Commerce survey found 66 per cent of Australian consumers would like the ability to securely text with any business, 55 per cent of customers more likely to do business with a company if they could text message, with 48 per cent consumers still prefer liaising with a human agent over a chatbot. 

Among people who have interacted with chatbots, 86 per cent used them for customer support, followed by purchasing something (25 per cent) in the past year. However, over half (54 per cent) feel it’s extremely important to be notified that they are speaking with a bot. 

Similarly, two-thirds of consumers globally would like the ability to message with brands, and 90 per cent of customers more likely to do business with companies that answer questions immediately. Around 49 per cent they would be likely to spend more with a brand that offering messaging rather than phone calls.

“The survey shows consumers — particularly younger consumers — are increasingly interested in the convenience and ease bots and messaging offer,” Liveperson executive vice-president, enterprise business group, Manlio Carrelli, said. 

“That said, there is still a lot of room for improvement when it comes to the experiences consumers are having. Savvy brands should pay attention to conversational design to ensure they are not only offering customers their preferred channels of communication, but that they are also meeting and exceeding customer expectations in those channels.” 

Human representatives are still the default preference for certain situations, but an appetite for bots is growing, especially among younger consumers. For example, the report found more than 50 per cent of respondents globally prefer a bot over a human agent to tell them their account balance or update an address.

However, consumer confidence in bots is lower for more complex tasks, just 15 per cent said they would want a bot to assist with correcting a mistake on a bill.  

More than half of those surveyed felt ‘neutral’ toward their recent experiences with brand bot interactions, with about the same amount saying either positive or negative. 

The LivePerson Consumer Preferences for Conversational Commerce survey was conducted in August 2019 via an online survey of 5031 consumers age 18 and older in the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Japan and Australia.

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