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Consumer views on customer service automation vary by generation

Gen Z shoppers are more open to AI-based customer service than boomers.

Boomer and Gen Z shoppers have very different opinions about automated customer service experiences.

According to a new survey from artificial intelligence (AI) platform InRule, younger consumers in general have a more favorable view of customer service automation than older consumers.

This difference is most pronounced in differing responses from Boomer survey respondents and Gen Z respondents. For example:

  • 40% of Gen Z respondents think automation helps yield stronger privacy and security. measures through stricter compliance, compared to 12% of boomer respondents.
  • 41% of Gen Z respondents thought automation offers greater personalization, versus 20% of boomer respondents.
  • 43% of Gen Z respondents believe automation improves customer support through quicker responses or shorter wait times, while only 28% of boomer respondents believe so.

Conversely, surveyed boomers had much higher levels of customer service automation skepticism than surveyed Gen Z consumers:

  • 67% of boomer respondents think automation lessens human-to-human interaction, compared to just 26% of Gen Z respondents.
  • 47% of boomer respondents find automation impersonal, compared to 31% of Gen Z respondents.
  • A leak or compromised data would prompt 70% of boomer respondents to be less likely to return as a customer, but only 37% of Gen Z respondents.
  • 50% of Boomer respondents prefer human interaction, compared to 25% of Gen Z respondents.

However, the survey reveals general consumer distrust of next-generation AI technology, like ChatGPT:

  • 59% of all respondents distrust generative chatbot technology.
  • 47% of all respondents prefer humans over chatbots like ChatGPT during customer experience.
  • Even as cutting-edge technology like ChatGPT continues to be released to improve experiences, 70% of respondents will still prefer to interact with and keep a human in the loop.

[Read more: ChatGPT is coming – what it means for your enterprise]

Other interesting findings include:

  • 28% of all respondents would pay 5 to 10% more for a better retail customer experience, such as easy website/app navigation, quick and frictionless customer support, and personalized communications.
  • Almost half (48%) of respondents would likely abandon a company if its website/app is hard to navigate. Top reasons for abandonment include hard-to-reach customer support (61%), long wait or return response times (55%), and data leak or security breach (55%).
  • One-third (34%) of respondents said retail has excellent customer experience, while 60% said retail customer experience is average and 6% said it is poor.

InRule contracted PAN Communications, which used the Dynata survey platform, to conduct this consumer study.

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