Helpshift Study: Americans Love Chatbots—If They Get Them to Humans Faster

Americans Don’t Want to Talk to Robots but Welcome Chatbots That Make the Customer Support Experience More Efficient

SAN FRANCISCO--()--New data released today from Helpshift, the company revolutionizing the customer support industry through AI-powered customer experiences, reveals how Americans are feeling about the state of customer service in the U.S. and how they’d like chatbots to help make things better.

The survey revealed that, while they don’t like having to deal with robots over the phone when calling customer support centers or being forced to have extended interactions with chatbots, Americans are enthusiastic about interacting with chatbots if they help resolve their support issue more efficiently.

Americans dread contacting customer support

Most Americans (52 percent) gave customer service in the U.S. a “C” grade or lower, and almost all (94 percent) said that they dread contacting customer support.

When asked to pick the single thing they most dread, they said:

1. Difficulties communicating with agents in offshore call centers – 17 percent
2. Long wait and hold times – 16 percent
3. Being transferred around and having to repeat the problem over and over – 15 percent
4. Never-ending automated self-service menus – 12 percent
5. Being forced to interact with robots on the phone – 8 percent

When asked what industry has the worst customer service, almost a full third (32 percent) of Americans agreed that it is telecoms (phone, internet and cable companies). This was followed by the retail (13 percent), insurance (9 percent) and airline (7 percent) industries.

Chatbots to the rescue?

Most Americans have regular interactions with chatbots—top reasons include using customer service (49 percent), apps like Facebook messenger and WeChat (33 percent), and productivity tools like digital assistants (19 percent)—and have generally positive feelings about them. This is particularly true of Millennials, about a quarter of whom (24 percent) feel chatbots are definitely making things better.

Looking at the population as a whole, about one in five Americans (19 percent) say chatbots are definitely making things better, while another 40 percent say chatbots are helpful but aren’t living up to their full potential.

When we love chatbots

More than half (55 percent) of all Americans—and 65 percent of Millennials—want chatbots involved in the customer service process, particularly if chatbots:

  • Make the entire customer service process more efficient – 75 percent
  • Reduce the time it takes to get an agent on the phone – 73 percent
  • Reduce the time it takes to resolve the issue – 71 percent
  • Help the problem be resolved over instant chat without having to make a call or email customer support – 70 percent
  • Reduce the time it takes to explain the problem to an agent – 67 percent

Americans also appreciate that chatbots are available 24/7 (49 percent), and many even prefer to deal with chatbots instead of people in certain cases—for example, if they need something quickly (18 percent) or the answer to a simple problem (18 percent).

"Seeing as the vast majority of Americans dread contacting customer support, there's a huge opportunity here for chatbots to fill the void and improve the customer support experience for consumers—and agents,” said Linda Crawford, CEO of Helpshift. “The message is clear: Americans value efficiency above all else when seeking customer support. If chatbots can make the support experience more efficient, they are glad to have them involved in the process. Brands that want to excel in customer experience should start leveraging platforms that facilitate the intersection of humans and bots.”

Survey Methodology

The survey was conducted online within the United States by Propeller Insights on behalf of Helpshift October 24-29, 2017, among 2,013 adults 18+. The results were weighted to the U.S. census for age, gender, region and income.


An infographic is available for publication here.

About Helpshift

Helpshift bridges the disconnect between conventional customer service channels like email and phone support and a growing consumer base that does more on mobile phones and has a strong preference for messaging as the primary mode of communication. Through Helpshift’s streamlined support system, companies can resolve issues more efficiently, boosting customer satisfaction in the process. Companies such as Viacom, Virgin Media, Microsoft, Western Union and Flipboard and hundreds of other leading brands use the Helpshift platform to provide messaging-first customer support. Helpshift is installed on two billion devices worldwide and serves more than 600 million active consumers monthly. To learn more about Helpshift, visit and follow @helpshift on Twitter.


for Helpshift
Stacey Grimsrud, 415-271-1028


for Helpshift
Stacey Grimsrud, 415-271-1028