April 5, 2022: Newly released Customer eXperience (CX) Trends findings from Zendesk, show that AI is being welcomed by customers and companies. The study reveals why midsized companies are doubling down on new capabilities.
- 36% of midsized companies use automation and AI to improve agent productivity
- 63% plan to increase spending on AI for customer service by 25% or more
From always-on support to back end systems that can triage tickets faster than any human team, this versatile technology has quickly raised customer expectations on what it means to offer best-in-class service.
But without a smart strategy for AI implementation, many businesses are falling short. As with each new technology that rewrites the customer service rulebook – the internet, live chat, mobile phones and AI – businesses must commit to rethinking their mindset and their approach. Anything less and they risk frustrating customers, or worse, undermining their ability to deliver the quality experiences that keep them coming back.
Business leaders already recognise the critical role that AI will play in building the types of customer experiences that drive bottom-line growth. That’s why 57% plan to increase their AI budgets by at least 25% next year. But many have yet to tackle the more difficult task of building out an operation that plays to the strengths of every member of the support team – be it human or robot. Now is not the time to settle for “good enough” service. Customers want the best – and they increasingly see AI as the key to reaching their lofty experience goals.
With 61% of customers now willing to walk away after just one bad experience, companies must move quickly to develop an AI strategy that delivers. We’ve gathered insights from customers, agents, business leaders and our own team to show you how the right AI approach can help you earn happier (repeat) customers, better business results and a competitive advantage in treating customers well.
Customers primarily see AI as a force for good – one that can improve their interactions and experiences with businesses.
Done right and 65% of customers expect AI to save them time. Another 64% say it will prevent them from having to repeat themselves. Looking ahead, 61% expect that the majority of their future service interactions with companies will be automated.
Optimism aside, most customers have noticed a significant gap between AI’s service potential and its current reality. Instead of making things easier, it often creates unintentional obstacles and, in some cases, has actually made it harder for customers to get the answers they need. Some 60% of customers report frequent disappointment with their chatbot experiences.
Customers are frustrated with chatbots
45% report not getting accurate answers
47% say it is most frustrating when they have to start all over with a human agent
54% say it takes too many questions for the bot to recognize it can’t answer their issue
37%get frustrated that they don’t have a choice in human vs. bot at the start of service
Despite the frustration, customers remain open and hopeful that businesses will turn it around.
The number of customers willing to turn to chatbots for simple issues jumped 13 points compared to the previous year. And businesses are working hard to improve their performance:
With so much riding on treating customers well, businesses must put together a smart AI strategy that lets everyone put their best foot forward.
Chatbots shouldn’t be trying to solve problems that require human involvement. “If you’re doing that, you’ve created a far worse customer experience”, says Aniano. Similarly, agents shouldn’t be bogged down trying to triage tickets or responding to customers who need to reset their password, look up their username or check on the status of their order.
Read the Zendeskj study here: Customer Experience Trends 2022: AI and Conversational Service