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Americans Frustrated from Communicating with Companies through Voice AI

Americans Frustrated from Communicating with Companies through Voice AI

Wednesday, 13 February, 2019 - 06:45
Employees work at a call center in Davao City in the southern Philippines on December 13, 2016. (Reuters / Lean Daval Jr.)
London - Asharq Al-Awsat
If an AI system works really well, do we prefer it or want to talk to a live agent?

Companies want to use every channel possible to talk to their customers and interact more than before. But what really matters to the customer when companies talk to them?

* New Survey

Franklin, Massachusetts-based IT service company Interactions, in conjunction with The Harris Poll, conducted a study to find out how customers perceive Voice AI.

It carried out an online study of interactions amongst 2,022 US adults in August 2018. It wanted to focus more specifically on voice AI, when it is considered creepy, and when people prefer to speak with AI over humans.

The findings show that nearly all Americans (94%) have experienced frustrations when using voice AI to communicate with a company.

Over half of respondents (52%) were frustrated at having to repeat themselves, and almost half (49%) hated waiting to be connected to a live agent whilst in a queue.

Almost as many (47%) were frustrated because they could not bypass the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system in order to speak to a live agent, while 46% were annoyed to listen to a list of irrelevant options presented by an IVR system and 45% were frustrated to get disconnected from a call.

* Artificial and human intelligence

It is not all bad news though for Voice AI. If the system actually works well, customers say that they often prefer it.

In fact two out of three Americans (66%) say they would choose AI-powered voice over text if it were effective at answering their questions.

Over three out of four (76%) of Americans would be comfortable with a human not being involved.

Millennials are the age group most likely to be comfortable with this lack of human interaction (88% of millennials compared to 74% of the previous generation and 65% of Boomers).

The study concluded that AI is generally found to be more helpful than creepy. Even if customers think AI is being creepy, they can ignore it when that creepiness is helpful to them.

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