Beyond Chatbots, Majority of Consumers are Open to AI in Legal, Medical or Financial Matters
Consumers are generally confident AI can provide faster customer service, but worry about their privacy and whether chatbots can respond to human emotions
People want transparency around how AI models work, control over their own data, and to have real people verify AI results
Last updated: June 21, 2023
PROVO, Utah & SEATTLE, June 21, 2023 – Almost ¾ of people are comfortable talking to an AI-powered chatbot for a customer service issue, and about 55% are comfortable with AI tech being part of their medical and financial matters, according to new research from Qualtrics (Nasdaq: XM) – but most of these people would still want to know that AI was involved.
The majority of people say they believe AI will eventually be fully integrated throughout personal and professional work, replacing some activities entirely. More than half (53%) said they generally assume chat conversations with organizations are already using AI. Still, people are not prepared to welcome AI technology entirely.
Disclosure is Key for Consumers
While the majority of consumers recognize that AI technology is here to stay, they still have some hesitation about when and how it affects their lives. The majority (88%) of consumers want to know if they’re interacting with something created by AI, with 41% of consumers saying they always want to know.
In particular, consumers are most resistant to AI when it comes to situations that often rely on confidentiality and can have significant and long-lasting effects on their lives. They would least like AI to be involved in legal, financial and medical matters, even if the use of AI was disclosed. Older people are especially resistant, with more than half of people 55 years and older saying they would never be comfortable interacting with AI in those situations.
Despite their overwhelming desire to know when AI is involved, about a quarter (24%) of people still say they aren’t sure if they have interacted directly with AI. Less tech-savvy people are even less certain about whether they’ve encountered AI; 35% of people who say they don’t use new technologies don’t know if they have or not.
“AI has a lot of exciting potential as it’s moved from the realm of data scientists and academia to becoming one of the fastest growing consumer applications in history,” said Qualtrics Director of Product Management Ellen Loeshelle, who is leading AI development efforts at the company. “As AI is integrated into businesses, leaders can strengthen customer trust and relationships by being transparent about its use and focusing on protecting data and privacy.”
Customer Service Chatbots as an Early Touchpoint for AI
A popular early example of where people might encounter AI technology is customer service chatbots, and people are also generally comfortable with the idea of talking to them for their customer service needs (72% said they are).
When it comes to AI-powered chatbots, 41% of consumers believe the technology can provide faster customer service than human representatives. Speed alone is not always enough to win over customers, though. Nearly half of people who said they would switch to a company with faster customer service said knowing it was AI-powered service would make them think twice about switching, and 20% said it would prevent them from switching altogether.
When it comes to AI-powered customer service, people are not confident in the accuracy of the service when compared with human reps, and do not believe chatbots can respond to emotions appropriately. An empathetic agent has more of an impact on overall customer satisfaction than speed of service, according to Qualtrics research.
Consumers are also concerned about the privacy of their personal information when interacting with an AI-powered chatbot. Almost 60% of consumers are at least somewhat concerned, while less than 10% are not concerned at all.
Ethical Responsibility Falls to AI Companies
The top concerns consumers have about the impact of AI are replacing workers (58% are concerned about this), data and privacy risks (40%) and creating and spreading misinformation (36%).
To alleviate their concerns about interacting with AI, about half of consumers would like the ability to control whether their own information was used to train an AI model, transparency about what was used to train an AI model, and for a human to verify anything created by an AI.
While multiple groups have some level of responsibility for the ethical use of AI, including the company that uses AI as well as the individual employees, consumers consider the companies that create the technology to hold the most responsibility for ensuring it is used ethically.
Qualtrics, the leader and creator of the experience management category, is a cloud-native software provider that helps organizations quickly identify and resolve points of friction across all digital and human touchpoints in their business – so they can retain their best customers and employees, protect their revenue, and drive profitability. More than 18,750 organizations around the world use Qualtrics’s advanced AI to listen, understand, and take action. Qualtrics uses its vast universe of experience data to form the largest database of human sentiment in the world. Qualtrics is co-headquartered in Provo, Utah and Seattle, and operates out of 28 offices globally. To learn more, please visit qualtrics.com.