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3 key trends in AI and CX: what to do and what to avoid

3 key trends in AI and CX: what to do and what to avoid

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is today’s most talked-about topic. It is rapidly changing the world, and transforming every touchpoint within your customer experience (CX).

If you bake AI into your CX, your customers can get answers about your company, receive recommendations about your products, and place their orders, without needing any help from an employee. AI can answer your customers’ phone calls, emails, and text messages. It can even make art.

In short: AI can accelerate and expand your customer service capabilities and make your customers happier, quite efficiently—but it can also frustrate customers to the point of churning, losing you business. To get the advantages of AI in CX, you have to get it right. And to get it right, you need to understand how consumers really feel. 

To that end, we wrote our new report, AI in the customer experience: the ups, downs, and up-and-coming opportunities. We surveyed thousands of customers to learn how they feel about AI, where you can use it to improve your CX, and where it could drive your customers away. Here are 3 big insights we learned.

No surprises here; 90% of people—across age, gender, and income level—would rather “just talk to a person” than receive customer support from a chatbot.

The reasons are simple: 61% said real humans understand their needs better, 53% said people provide more thorough explanations, 52% said people are less likely to frustrate them, and 50% said people offer more options to resolve their problems.

More importantly, working with a real human vs. a chatbot makes a big, quantifiable impact on how customers view the support they receive. The average Net Promoter Score (NPS)® for an interaction with a real human is +6 (slightly positive). The average NPS with a chatbot is -66 (very negative). That 72-point difference, in favor of humans, cannot be ignored. 

Yet,  although these numbers paint a clear picture, they don’t quite tell the full story. Chatbots may still have a place in customer service. They accelerate your response to customer inquiries, let you offer customer service at any hour, and accommodate a much wider range of languages which expands the pool of customers you can service. They also may give you expanded language support. You may end up needing to use chatbots for one of these reasons. But this data shows us that it can’t be your only solution. You need to have a way for people to painlessly shift from a chatbot experience to a human agent if and when they need to. Otherwise, your business will suffer. 

In other areas, there is a lot of demand for AI. The best AI is often invisible. It recommends products, generates personalized offers, and guides customers through websites, features, and other experiences.

Many customers are actively interested in these uses of AI. Consider a few findings:

· 52% want AI to help them through a product, website, or feature experience

· 47% want to receive personalized deals based on their buying behaviors

· 42% want personalized product recommendations

This interest is generational. Younger customers wanted these uses of AI more than others. Among Gen Zers, 66% wanted guidance through their digital experiences; 63% wanted personalized deals, and 56% wanted tailored recommendations.

These findings tell you exactly how to use AI to differentiate your company — invest in AI that offers personalized recommendations and guidance through your digital experiences (especially if you sell to a younger audience).

Finally, AI truly is everywhere, and most people are wondering what it will mean for them. A full 89% of people believe AI will make an impact on their lives over the next five years, and 62% read about AI in the news at least once per week.

But despite AI’s ever-present nature, many people don’t know if they are interacting with it or not. Only 18% of people feel “very confident” they can tell when they’re talking to a chatbot, only 14% feel very confident they can spot AI-generated confident, and less than half (48%) of people believe they could identify AI-generated content—period.

In sum: AI is ever-present and confusing for most people. Pretty much everyone is exposed to narratives about AI and thinking about this new technology, yet they often don’t even know if they are interacting with it. Which means you are not alone if you are trying to make sense of what AI even means for your company and your life, and how you can use it to improve the experiences that you offer your customers.

AI is here to stay.

Every business has to learn which use cases will work best for them and which might drive their customers away. To do so, they must test new AI-based solutions, monitor and measure their impact on the customer experience, and better understand this generational trend in consumer preferences (and how to best adapt to it).Our new report can help you do just that. Claim your free copy today.