Survey: Consumers Show Preference for Web Virtual Assistance



According to a recent survey and customer experience study from Nuance that explored consumer attitudes and preferences for accessing service and support via the Web, there is a clear frustration among consumers when it comes to seeking and finding help online, the company said. And while many Web sites offer static self-help tools such as FAQs to enable consumers to resolve their questions or issues online, Nuance’s findings revealed that those tools aren’t guiding consumers to the resolutions that they expect.

Despite wanting to answer their own questions online, nearly 50 percent of consumers ultimately give up and contact a live agent for assistance when they find that their questions require a deeper level of engagement to resolve. Consequently, the vast majority of consumers (71 percent) note that they would prefer to use a virtual assistant on a Web site to help guide them to the answers that they need in a conversational human-like way, without requiring a call to a live agent.

Key findings from the survey include the following:

  • More than 58 percent of consumers are unable to resolve their issues on the Web, despite their best efforts.
  • Of consumers who do manage to self-serve on the web, 63 percent of them spend over 10 minutes trying to find a solution to their issue.
  • 71 percent of those that try to self-serve on the Web but eventually give up do so after spending over 30 minutes attempting to find a resolution.
  • 49.5 percent of consumers reach out to a live agent in customer service when they can't self-serve on a company's Web site.
  • 59 percent of consumers are frustrated that they have to reach out to a live agent in customer service to resolve their issue (as opposed to serving themselves online).
  • 71 percent of consumers would prefer a virtual assistant over static Web pages when it comes to self-service.

“While consumers are willing to resolve issues and find answers to questions from their service providers online, the options available today just aren’t meeting expectations,” said Robert Weideman, executive vice president and general manager, Enterprise Division, Nuance, in a statement. “Enterprises are losing money as consumers abandon their Web sites out of frustration and turn to live agents for service and support. In fact, recent data from Forrester tells us that unnecessary service costs to online retailers due to channel escalation are $22million, on average each year for an enterprise. This is a real problem, but the good news is that it presents a big opportunity for enterprises to differentiate by innovating their customer experience on the Web with virtual assistant solutions.”

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Posted October 14, 2014