Invoca Study Finds Consumers Want Brands to Understand Their Emotions in the Age of AI

October 9, 2018

Fewer than 25 percent of consumers think chatbots and voice devices offer the emotional support and personalized experiences they need during stressful purchases

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — October 9, 2018 –  AI is becoming the norm for brands to quickly and efficiently engage with customers. In fact, 80 percent of businesses already use or plan to use chatbots by 2020. In the race to implement these new technologies, marketers must not lose sight of what matters most to customers: a personalized experience with attentive service. A new report from Invoca, “Emotions Win: What Customers Expect in the Age of AI,” highlights data from a survey of 1,000 U.S. adults to examine the importance of a brand’s emotional quotient (EQ) on a consumers’ experience, and how they anticipate artificial intelligence will impact those interactions. Invoca developed the report with Adobe, who earlier this year published the Adobe Experience Index to analyze consumers’ experiences with brands in the categories of retail, travel, media and financial services.

While brands are rapidly implementing new technologies to improve customer experiences, over half of consumers believe the future should entail a combination of human and automated support. Invoca’s EQ report shows that more than two-thirds of consumers (69 percent) anticipate AI will handle the majority of brand-based communications in the next five years. And while 61 percent of respondents envision AI making shopping faster, most think it will be more frustrating (51 percent) and less personal (61 percent).

“While AI plays an important role in the customer journey, consumers don’t want AI to replace human interactions — they want human connection,” said Julia Stead, VP of marketing at Invoca. “The future should involve a combination of automation, AI, and humans working together to deliver emotionally intelligent customer experiences. Our goal with this research is to equip brands with the insights they need to deliver on these expectations.”

The report shows that consumers want all the help they can get when making tough purchase decisions. When asked specifically about stressful or complicated purchases, one in four (25 percent) of consumers said EQ is the attribute they most value in a salesperson.

“It’s important for brands to have the EQ to create a positive experience when frustrated customers call,” said Adam Justis, director of product marketing, Adobe Experience Cloud. “Part of creating that positive experience involves tapping into AI to improve the situation quickly. AI can help service reps better understand previous customer actions, observed interests, and preferences and align this information with available offers to quickly resolve issues.”

Additional key findings from the report include:

Millennials and Gen Z believe tech is emotionally in touch

While most consumers anticipate brands will use AI to handle the majority of communications in the next five years, young adults have stronger faith in the technology gaining EQ by then: over half of  respondents under 35 (54 percent) believe AI will gain EQ in the next five years compared to 45 percent of those over age 35. Younger consumers also believe it’s probable that voice assistants, like Siri and Alexa, can deliver  EQ — 29 percent of respondents under 35 years old — compared to their older counterparts — just 15 percent of those over 55.

Brands aren’t measuring up

The stakes are even higher for companies in considered purchases categories — products or services for which consumers carefully weigh options and do extensive research when making a decision. These often involve industries like financial services, insurance, telecoms, travel, and healthcare. In fact, Invoca’s survey found that 69 percent of consumers consider financial purchases, like taking out a personal loan, stressful. Yet key EQ traits of financial brands were rated low, with only 18 percent of respondents saying representatives displayed empathy and 21 percent saying representatives demonstrated adaptability.

With dozens of booking websites for hotels to rental cars and hours-long hold times, many also find travel to be a stressful purchase — 53 percent of consumers said travel purchases are somewhat or extremely stressful. The data shows travel representatives ranked highest for efficiency but lowest for adaptability, even-temper and empathy.

To view the complete report detailing the findings of the study visit: https://www.invoca.com/brand-eq/

About Invoca
Invoca is an AI-powered call tracking and analytics platform that helps marketers get campaign attribution and actionable data from inbound phone calls. Invoca delivers real-time call analytics to help marketers take informed actions based on data generated before and during a phone conversation. As a result, marketers can dramatically improve ROI by driving more revenue-generating calls, increasing conversion rates, personalizing the customer journey, and running more efficient campaigns. With Fortune 500 customers in telecommunications, financial services, insurance, healthcare, and home services, Invoca’s platform integrates with Google Marketing Platform, Facebook, Adobe Experience Cloud, and Salesforce Sales and Marketing Clouds. Invoca has raised over $60M from Accel Partners, Upfront Ventures, Morgan Stanley Alternative Investment Partners, Salesforce Ventures, and Rincon Venture Partners. For more information, visit http://www.invoca.com.

About Adobe Experience Cloud
Across every industry, whether it’s business-to-business or business-to-consumer, people aren’t buying products. They’re buying experiences. Adobe offers the industry’s only end-to-end solution for content creation, marketing, advertising, analytics and commerce. Unlike legacy enterprise platforms with static, siloed customer profiles, Adobe Experience Cloud empowers brands to deliver exceptional, real-time experiences across any customer touch point – all while accelerating business growth.

The world’s most popular brands rely on Adobe Experience Cloud to run their businesses, including the ten largest corporations and financial services companies in the U.S., nine of the ten largest media companies and nine of the ten most valuable telecom companies. Adobe Experience Cloud manages 41 trillion rich media requests, over 150 billion emails and $3 billion in ad spend. Industry analysts have named Adobe a clear leader in over 20 major reports focused on experience – more than any other technology company.

Contact

Laura Schierberl

Invoca
(415) 636-8038
lschierberl@invoca.com