A global survey of 599 executives found that the majority of “customer-centric” firms have already deployed artificial intelligence (AI) in their customer-facing processes. To produce the study, The MIT Technology Review conducted a survey of customer experience in relation to AI.
Realising the value of AI
Sponsored by Genesys, Humans + bots: Tension and opportunity interviewed customer service execs at large and mid-sized companies. Almost all respondents said that AI-enhanced customer experience capabilities had improved efficiency, process speeds, and transaction volume.
Nearly 90% of survey respondents said that they had recorded measurable improvements in the speed of their complaint resolutions. In addition to this, over 80% noted that AI had improved the volume of their call processing.
Respondents also noted similar levels of improvement in the migration of customers across channels. According to the report, the immediacy of these positive results was particularly striking.
However, over a quarter did not have the metrics to support these significant improvements. As a result, the report insists that AI-enhanced channel management requires “more discipline and data.”
AI drives efficiency and growth
The automation of customer experience operations catalysed significant improvements within those businesses. Customer experience leaders reported similar levels of improvement to the survey’s respondents overall.
However, nearly half of all the leaders said that AI had created significant improvement in their brand recognition and visibility. In the general pool, 13% stated that their brands had benefitted from “becoming known as early technology adopters.”
The majority of respondents experienced increases in overall revenue of more than 5%. In addition to this, over 30% linked the increased use of AI to revenue growth of more than 10%.
Despite these gains, companies reported that their customer contact operational costs had slightly increased. In the majority of cases, companies reported an increase of 5% or more.
The quest for customer intimacy
The desire to increase both efficiency and customer intimacy were the primary drivers behind AI investments. According to the study, however, “building human sensitivity into algorithms is not an easy feat.”
Indeed, 67% of customer experience leaders felt that AI had allowed them to rebalance workloads and redesign processes. As a result, these companies were able to engage with customers in a more meaningful way than the overall pool (16%).
To customer experience-centric firms, AI enhances human interaction. According to the survey “blended AI” is particularly useful in helping businesses achieve stronger performance from both people and machines.
Despite this, the report highlights that a strategic approach to using AI for building customer intimacy remains elusive. In order to overcome this, “many customer experience leaders deploy AI in an iterative approach across the customer journey, to gather insight in stages and use those for improving processes.”
How are emerging technologies altering the role of the customer? Listen to our podcast with Microsoft’s Senior Product Marketing Manager Vanessa Alvarez to find out