SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 14, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- A global survey of nearly 600 executives across 18 countries reports nine out of ten firms use artificial intelligence (AI) solutions to improve the customer journey. Additionally, large companies with more than 30,000 employees were over 50% more likely to have made major investments in AI for front-line customer interactions and analytics.
Humans + bots: Tension and opportunity – How top global brands blend human skills and AI to build customer intimacy and drive growth, is a new report from MIT Technology Review Insights, sponsored by Genesys (www.genesys.com). It analyzes how businesses use AI in customer experience and examines the resulting business performance and return on investment (ROI). The survey polled small to large-sized companies, with nearly half of respondents from large organizations with over $5 billion in revenue. One-quarter of those surveyed are based in North America.
The report also includes a series of interviews with senior leaders in customer experience roles at companies such as San Francisco-based Sutter Health, Calgary-based Telus, Cielo, Next, Orange Bank, Rakuten, Seguros Monterrey New York Life, Taobao (Alibaba), and Telstra.
Large Upticks in Efficiency
Respondents note that AI dramatically improves the efficiency, processing speed and transaction volume of customer interactions. Almost 90% of companies report faster complaint resolution, and over 80% say they enhance call volume processing using AI. Additionally, the average respondent indicates that between 25% and 50% of all inquiries are now completely resolved through automated channels, leaving agents with more time to handle complex tasks.
"Businesses win big when they deploy AI to handle simple, repetitive tasks, saving human resources for more complicated or emotional customer needs," said Merijn te Booij, chief marketing officer for Genesys. "Pairing automation and machine learning with live agents leads to happier customers, more satisfied employees and – not to mention— financial rewards."
By implementing AI, 70% of respondents report they've benefitted from improved revenue. More than half of those surveyed note increases in overall revenue of more than 5%, while over 30% cite revenue growth of more than 10%.
Deepening Customer Relationships
The report also shows that 67% of customer experience leaders embrace AI not just as a tool to make customer experience more efficient, but to create deeper, more meaningful relationships with consumers. In fact, 74% of those surveyed say AI enables agents to spend more quality time with customers. And, over two-thirds of respondents say they employ automated self-service channels, instant messaging chatbots, and sentiment analysis to deliver highly personalized experiences that strengthen ties with customers. Additionally, 45% of respondents (and more than 75% of customer experience leaders) say AI helps them understand the difference between their stated brand attributes and what customers really think about them.
"While investments in AI are primarily driven by efforts to improve efficiency, the technology's ability to help companies understand and connect with their customers in more meaningful ways cannot be understated," te Booij explained. "Not only do businesses from across the world benefit from day-to-day improvements in contact center performance, they also achieve significant gains in customer loyalty and revenue."
North American Companies Reap Rewards
A majority of the 150 North American-based respondents are among those that have moved earliest to automate processes and enhance customer channels with AI assistance. More than 90% report their firms leverage AI enhancements across all stages of the customer journey.
Other North American findings include:
- Nearly half of respondents resolve at least 25% of customer queries without a human agent interface and over 20% of the larger firms report more than half of all their transactions are automated — the highest level in the global survey.
- Nearly 88% of respondents note measurable improvements in complaint resolution speed, and 81% report enhanced call volume processing.
- While North American investment in AI is driven by efforts to improve efficiency, the larger firms (with more than 30,000 employees) are more likely to use machine learning capabilities to increase customer intimacy.
- More than one-quarter of respondents report company revenue growth of more than 10% in the last year, and more than 36% indicate customer lifetime value has increased as much.
The full report, Humans + bots: Tension and opportunity, is available now from Genesys. Download your copy here.
About MIT Technology Review Insights
For more than 100 years MIT Technology Review has served as the world's longest-running technology magazine, the standard bearer of news and insights on how the latest technologies affect the world around us. Read by a global community of innovators, entrepreneurs, investors and executives at the highest level, it offers an unrivaled authority that is backed by the world's foremost technology institution, and features editors with a deep technical knowledge and understanding of technological advances.
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Humans + bots: Tension and opportunity is a report by MIT Technology Review Insights based on a global survey of 599 executives and a series of expert interviews. MIT Technology Review collected and reported on all findings contained in this paper independently, regardless of participation or sponsorship.
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