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The majority of business leaders say the absence of artificial intelligence from their operations will have negative effects on their businesses.

Two-thirds (66 per cent) of senior IT decision-makers believe failure to adopt artificial intelligence will lead to a loss of competitiveness, research by global reviews and customer insights company Feefo has found.

Almost all of them – around 96 per cent – also say that AI will have a positive effect on customer-engagement in their organisation, while 45 per cent believe that personalisation is where the biggest gains will be made.

Feefo surveyed 100 senior IT decision-makers in the UK for its study, covering their attitudes towards AI and its adoption in their respective organisations.

Sixty-one per cent of respondents said they are using, or will use AI for customer-service analysis and intervention.

Almost half (46 per cent) said their organisation is using or plans to use AI to provide personalised summaries of online reviews, with 100 per cent in the accommodation and food sectors saying they will use AI in this way.

Matt West, CMO, Feefo, says: “If you are serious about personalising customer-engagement you’ve got to use AI.

“It’s encouraging that this message is getting through, but we need to see a lot more businesses actually using AI to transform the way they personalise their interactions with customers.”

The survey found that while 42 per cent of IT chiefs selected chatbots as the AI technology they are using or will use, 53 per cent want to use AI’s predictive capabilities to engage with customers by anticipating their requirements.

In other findings, the survey revealed considerable diversity between sectors in how IT decision-makers will measure the success of AI in customer-engagement.

Half of those in wholesale and retail (50 per cent) are seeking greater customer-retention, compared with a cross-industry average of 31 per cent.

Some 67 per cent in the professional, scientific and technical sector, on the other hand want to see increased rates of customer-satisfaction.

West says: “Businesses can use AI for different objectives in customer-engagement.

“But the time for talk is over. Let’s see some real investment in AI to improve what UK businesses do for their customers.”

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