Thus, 91% of business respondents said their organization is looking to improve customer engagement. And 38% of those respondents are even planning to use a new solution.

There’s plenty of room for brands and retailers to improve their customer service interactions with customers, as well as to shorten their resolution times by leveraging technology such as artificial intelligence-powered chatbots, according to a new study—“Impact of Chatbots and AI on the Customer Journey”—conducted by remote desktop software company LogMeIn.

83% of consumers have experienced at least one issue when interacting with a brand, and they’re twice as likely to complain about a product or service than they are to give position feedback—according to the study, which is based on a survey of 4,500 consumers who have contacted a brand during the last six months with an inquiry or issue to be resolved were surveyed, as well as 850 leaders organizations in financial services, information technology, retail, travel and hospitality, telecoms and outsourced contact centers sectors.

The most common reason that consumers reach out to customer service, cited 29% of the time, occurs when they want to make a purchase or return, and 27% of shoppers contact customer service to make a complaint. This low percentage wouldn’t seem too bad for brands if the consumers’ issues were resolved in a timely manner. But the average time for a consumer to get their issue resolved was approximately 11 hours, which is three times higher than what the surveyed consumers expect it to be.

Contacting customer service through telephone or email took the longest average time to get an issue resolved—seven hours for telephone, 18 hours for email—while online chat with a chatbot took three hours on average.

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That’s a stark contrast to businesses’ impression of their customer service offerings; 88% said they provide an excellent or very good experience, and 80% are confident their customers would rate the experience in the same way.

But 61% of consumers disagree, believing it takes too long for an issue to be resolved, and 89% will take measures against brands who do not improve in this area, such as posting on social media or warning their friends and family against using the brand.

No brand wants its name tarnished in reviews or having its loyal customers turn to their competitors, which is likely why 91% of business respondents said their organization is looking to improve customer engagement. And 38% of those respondents are even planning to use a new solution; however, the report did not specify the types of solutions to be implemented. But it’s not quite in line with consumer expectations since 70% believe brands should leverage new technologies—such as chatbots—to reduce the amount of time that it takes to resolve a customer inquiry or issue.

Consumers have reported some favorable experiences with the technology:

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  • 74% of consumers see the benefits of interacting with chatbots
  • 32% believe that leveraging a chatbot in some capacity, either alone or with the assistance of a human customer service agent, provides the best results
  • 30% believe chatbots will help them get a quicker resolution to an issue
  • 24% believe chatbots give them greater accessibility to support

“Chatbots are helping customer service teams scale quickly by taking frequently asked questions off the agent’s plate, opening them up to spend more time to resolve complicated customer issues and ultimately improving first call resolution,” the report says.

68% hope their efforts to improve customer service interactions by implementing chatbots to work in conjunction with customer service agents will increase customer satisfaction levels. And 61% believe it will help resolve customer inquiries more quickly.

“While speed is important, it’s equally important to not lose the human touch that many customers still want,” the report says. “Being able to balance speed and personalization will lead to increased customer satisfaction levels, as well as the reputational benefits that follow.”

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